Before he wowed audiences with such stunning and controversial international arthouse hits such as THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER, THE PILLOW BOOK and PROSPERO'S BOOKS, Peter Greenaway concocted a series of seven witty and inventive short films (A WALK THROUGH H, H IS FOR HOUSE, WINDOWS, INTERVALS, DEAR PHONE, WATER WRACKETS and VERTICAL FEATURES REMAKE), as well as his first spectacular feature magnum opus, THE FALLS. These eight cinematic gems are now available for first time in the US in a gorgeously-packaged two-disc box set. Both are packed with additional contentincluding hundreds of original paintings by Greenaway, original video pieces and tons of archival material. The two discs are also available separately as GREENAWAY: THE FALLS and GREENAWAY: THE SHORTS.
This second DVD installment of British avant-garde director Peter Greenaway's collected Early Films
journeys into Greenaway's peculiar nerdy humor, which takes absurd satisfaction in cataloguing and bureaucracy. The two films on Early Films 2: The Falls, The Falls
and Vertical Feature Remake
, are both exhaustively thorough visual catalogues. The Falls
features 92 citizens whose surnames begin with the letters FALL, who have suffered through a fictitious event known as the VUE (Violent Unknown Event), and have consequently become obsessed with birds. At three-and-a-half hours long, certain case studies stand out, such as that of Appis Allis Fallabis, who, speaking in Pig Latin, describes how he is "nightly obliged to lubricate himself with Spanish oil" in order to eliminate the ticks, termites, lice, and tapeworms that plague his body as if he were truly avian. The ridiculousness of the characters is carefully balanced by a more serious soundtrack including the divine Brian Eno song, "Golden Hours." Vertical Features Remake
, on the other hand, finds common vertical threads throughout the British landscape such as tree trunks, dandelion stalks, telephone poles, and rakes, then re-catalogues the shots into four separate shorts, as though an imaginary bureau called the IRR Records Archives is searching for a way to structure and organize this pointless information. Both films have a sci-fi quality, utilizing their own logic to make sense of invented worlds. Also on the DVD are interviews with Greenaway, in which he discusses not only how and when the movies were made, but also their concepts. Don't let the epic length dissuade you from viewing these clever dips into that giant pool of Greenaway's weird mind. --Trinie Dalton