7.3/10
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18 user 19 critic

The Falls (1980)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Sci-Fi | 6 August 1982 (Mexico)
92 BBC documentary-style shorts that record the lives of 92 victims of the VUE (Violent Unexplained Event), each with last names beginning with "Fall."

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Westley Peter Westley
Aad Wirtz Aad Wirtz
Michael Murray Michael Murray ... ppis Fallabus
Lorna Poulter Lorna Poulter
Patricia Carr Patricia Carr
Adam Leys Adam Leys ... Narrator
Mary Howard Mary Howard
Sheila Canfield Sheila Canfield ... Narrator
Evelyn Owen Evelyn Owen
Hilarie Thompson ... Narrator (as Hilary Thompson)
Carole Meyer Carole Meyer
Monica Hyde Monica Hyde ... Woman using phone
Colleen Thomas Colleen Thomas
Neil Hopkins Neil Hopkins
Dewi Thomas Dewi Thomas
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Storyline

The planet has been affected by a mysterious occurrence known as the Violent Unknown Event, or V.U.E. It has caused immortality and disability. Victims have learned new and peculiar languages. Some firmly believe in the responsibility of birds. In this three-hour film, ninety-two biographies are presented of victims whose surnames begin with the letters F A L L. Presented in the mock documentary style of 'Water Wrackets' and 'Dear Phone', this is the culmination of the first period of Greenaway's work. It refers to shorts such as 'A Walk Through H' and 'Vertical Features Remake', and forwards to the likes of 'Drowning by Numbers' (there is reference to the three generations of Cissie Colpitts). Michael Nyman's sound-track is memorable; he later remade the 'Bird List Song' (which features in a variety of forms), as 'Hands 2 Take' with arty British band the Flying Lizards (best known for their minimal version of 'Money (that's what I want)'. Written by D.Giddings <darren.giddings@newcastle.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fragments of director Peter Greenaway's short films A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist (1979) and Vertical Features Remake (1978) appear in the film. See more »

Connections

References Two-Headed Eagle (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Pernicious inclusion of fictional universe. Criminal charges pending.
17 February 2004 | by KrustallosSee all my reviews

I'm pleased to see so many positive reviews of this unique film. I entirely agree that it needs to be seen in a cinema to get the full relentless effect. It's also worth persevering to the end as Greenaway lightens up a bit and gives you a few more clues. In a way it's a shame that he got drawn into narrative cinema after this because The Falls seems a much more original and appropriate vehicle for his talents.

As with his earlier short films, various bits of disparate footage, old photos and other assorted nonsense are woven together with an elaborate cover story, in this case the Violent Unknown Event, which among other things is a metaphor for nuclear calamity (92 is the atomic number of uranium, "Fall" can refer to the fall of man).

Along the way we find a cornucopia of references to Greenaway films past and still to be made - principally A Zed and Two Noughts and Drowning by Numbers - running gags, in-jokes, academic pastiche, whimsical storytelling, different film techniques and ways of constructing reality. Where the average video artwork concentrates on form and style, Greenaway gives us an overdose of content.

It's worth noting that the 92 biographies in the film represent only those victims of the VUE whose names begin with the letters FALL. If you take the whole alphabet into account there are 19 million cases. You get the feeling he really, really wanted to show all 19 million.

Greenaway's new project "The Tulse Luper Suitcase" is apparently a remake or extension of "The Falls" using more modern technology. A definite must-see but it will be hard to top this for sheer demented monomaniacal verve.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Dutch | French | German

Release Date:

6 August 1982 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Balesetek krónikája See more »

Filming Locations:

Abersoch, Gwynedd, Wales, UK

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
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