The first of three parts, we follow Tulse Luper in three distinct episodes: as a child during the first World War, as an explorer in Mormon Utah, and as a writer in Belgium during the rise ... See full summary »
An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an exhibition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed ... See full summary »
Tired of her husband's philanderous ways, the mother of two daughters drowns her husband. With the reluctant help of the local coroner, the murder is obscured. Her daughters are having ... See full summary »
An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and the son of his chief enemy fall in love in this uniquely structured retelling of the 'The... See full summary »
A commissioned project, made for TV in honor the the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death, this is a highly avant-garde piece of music, theater and dance, set to an original score by the ... See full summary »
Tongue-in-cheek, early Greenaway short reflects the incredibly meticulous encyclopedic nature of his early films. An attempt is made to "reconstruct" a proposed, but never made, film ... See full summary »
As a young girl in Japan, Nagiko's father paints characters on her face, and her aunt reads to her from "The Pillow Book", the diary of a 10th-century lady-in-waiting. Nagiko grows up, ... See full summary »
Building on the potential of his installation in the isle of San Giorgio, Greenaway imagines that Aretino commissioned Veronese to paint The Marriage of Christ. Veronese, more than prepared... See full summary »
This made-for-TV bio-pic is about Marilyn Bell, a Canadian teenager who, in 1954, was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. She won the Toronto Canadian National Exhibition prize ... See full summary »
The first of three parts, we follow Tulse Luper in three distinct episodes: as a child during the first World War, as an explorer in Mormon Utah, and as a writer in Belgium during the rise of fascism. Packed with stylistic flourishes, it's a dense, comic study of 20th century history, revolving around the contents of one man's suitcases. Written by
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story (2003)
Boy, this is a tricky sonofabitch to evaluate. Tulse Luper is a recurring character in Greenaway's work, kind of a Kilgore Trout to Greenaway's Kurt Vonnegut. And the film makes multiple references to his other works, even citing Luper as their author. And Luper is attributed with having an obsession for categorization and numbering, obsessions inescapably associated with Greenaway's films. But is anything about this truly autobiographical? Is it more akin to Guy Maddin's sense of the poetic autobiography? Or is it just nonsense? Knowing Greenaway, everything in this film is done for very specific (and probably quite complex) reasons. But it's all so elusive and dense with symbolism and double meanings that it's impossible for me to decipher on a single viewing, and I would probably require the use of additional multimedia aids to truly decode it all. Although he hasn't entirely cast aside narrative, it's so shattered by formalist clutter (the literal "frames within frames" as seen in PILLOW BOOK, stylized sets, encyclopedic detail, seemingly pointless use of repetition and contradictory or complementary images) that it's difficult to say "what happens" except in vague terms. As is often the case with Greenaway, it holds almost no emotional resonance (and some of it, especially regarding the Percy character, is kinda stupid). There is no doubt that most would write it off as pretentious drivel. But I found it fascinating nonetheless. It's not the most experimental thing I've ever seen, nor the most unpredictable or surprising. But it's original enough to hold my interest, and it does so with a unique and often beautiful sense of style.
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