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 »
Raymond J. Barry,
Tulse Luper is a 20th century everyman whose collection of 92 suitcases intersects with every person, event and movement in history. Here in the second of a three part story, we find him ... See full summary »
Raymond J. Barry,
The venerated filmmaker Eisenstein is comparable in talent, insight and wisdom, with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; there are few - if any - directors who can be elevated to such ... See full summary »
Peter Greenaway brings his phenomenal trilogy of Tulse Luper films to a dark and elegiac close with 'From Sark to Finish'.
World War II is coming to an end, the Cold War is looming. Death is everywhere - the Danube is clogged with the corpses of murdered Jews - the great power blocs of East and West are squaring up for their glowering stalemate. Somehow, Tulse - like the rest of us - must steer a course through the barbarism and insanity of the world, surviving in one prison only to end up in another.
Greenaway works remorselessly - and brilliantly - against the saccharine dictates of mainstream commercial cinema. One character, who deals with the aftermath of the Holocaust in a seemingly flippant and sickly humorous manner, suddenly announces "I had better not wake up and find this is real", before running off to impotently scream out his disgust and horror into an empty metal canister. Later, when Tulse is trapped in the stultifying claustrophobia of the Cold War, he shows very simple, and yet utterly futile, basic human kindness to a distraught girl who is as much a prisoner as he is. The hero cannot save the damsel in distress - all he can do is bring her a basin of hot water for her bath.
And yet, Greenaway's boundless invention and flair (brilliantly realised by his cast and crew) illuminate every frame, turning what could have been a depressing slog into a profoundly moving, thought-provoking, invigorating experience not quickly forgotten.
I recommend this film (and the whole trilogy) to all who are looking for richer, deeper, more challenging, and thus more inspiring work than can be found in mainstream cinema. "From Sark to Finish" is a beautiful and (in then older sense of the word) 'terrible' film - a worthy comment on the blood-stained 20th Century from one of our greatest and most consummate visual artists.
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