Director: Peter Greenaway
Year Released: 1980
Leonard Maltin really got to the essence of Greenaway in one of his reviews (I believe it was for Drowning by Numbers) when he described his work as both "bizarre" but ultimately a "put-on." I can deal with "bizarre" but I can't help but view this encyclopedic, three-hour faux-documentary about 92 victims of something called the V.U.E. (or "violent unknown event") - whose last names all start with the letters 'f-a-l-l' - as little more than an elaborate joke. There's so much information conveyed about each and every individuals (although there are recurring themes of immortality, driving - or moving - in circles, dreaming of or gazing at bodies water and, most appropriately, ornithology) that it's hard to follow each individual's biography (and my, does he love absurd details), although the director himself has stated in interviews that the picture is actually about the 'fall of man.' I personally didn't glean that message from the film, but perhaps it's Greenaway's glibness that got in the way of my comprehension: many of the 92 biographies end in ironic little jokes and the ultimate feeling after sitting through the mountains of facts is exhaustion. If the director can't take it seriously, why should I?