This is from Robert, the lucky duck who got to see this at the Chicago International Film Festival. Some news about the film HERE as well ~~enjoy! :)


Dir Peter Greenaway, 127 minutes, Unrated

I’ll admit it; I’ve never seen a Greenway film. Trained as a painter, it is said he became a filmmaker after seeing Bergman’s THE SEVENTH SEAL. From a distance, I’ve always gotten the impression that these were “difficult” films, and sometimes you’re just not in the mood for prolonged periods of difficulty, particularly while in the throes of a sleep deprived film festival. Greenway was present at the screening and indicated he sees himself as something of an art historian, and perhaps a cubist filmmaker. His view on cinema is that the form of presentation has shifted radically, so much so that only about 8% of film watchers still sit in a movie theater, while the large majority sit in front of their television sets with a remote control, able to stop or pause the film at any time, or rewind or fast forward to suit their own individual tastes. So he has created this Tulse Luper film series, perhaps a summation of his life's work, as a way of looking ahead, making multiple film references, but presents it in a format where it will likely be seen by most using a DVD player. Also, he indicated this version shown tonight was the 5th version of the film, and if all goes as planned, it will continue to evolve into different transformations so that it will never remain the same. I got the feeling Greenway still sees himself as a painter first, and everything else is filtered through his view on painting and art. Where I disagree with his premise is when he states there is no socialization in cinema appreciation, or very little, so much so that his “perfect” way of viewing cinema is in a darkened room, alone, by himself, in a perfectly centered position.

This film features the travels and tribulations of one Tulse Luper, stuck in a universe oddly obsessed with the number 92, the atomic number for uranium, as there are 92 characters, 92 major events, and 92 suitcases carrying obscure items. This feature, part one of three parts, where only parts one and three have been released so far, gets to suitcase number 21. These suitcases become the man, as it is from their roving perspective that moments in 20th century history are seen or re-imagined, suggesting a world with fluid or ever-changing ideas rather than any fixed interpretations. Tulse Luper, an alter-ego of the writer-director, can go anywhere in time and take on any transformation imagined. The film begins the year uranium was discovered in 1928 in Moab, Utah, and will end, at least in these initial 3 parts, in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin wall. What we witness in this film is Tulse as an English/Welsh journalist/spy and collector of lost things, getting pummeled over and over again by various fascist authorities while also screwing the women of these powerful men - going where no man has ever gone before, so to speak. Greenway uses various techniques, mixing medias, sometimes transforming the screen in much the same way Guy Maddin does, but always filling it with more than we can conceivably handle. Greenway indicated he does not believe in cinema in one showing, believing it works best with repeated, multiple viewings. Well, that’s nice, but at this sitting, we get one shot at it. While I love the ultra-dramatic, originally written music, and I can appreciate the dense construction that goes into what we see, ultimately I can’t say this really works for me, as I was more fascinated or curious in the style than I was interested in the film itself. And speaking for myself, I’m not sure I will get a lot more out of it with repeated viewings, as that is unlikely to happen. So at best, this was a curious experience. Greenway himself, however, if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, I’d say jump at the chance. That experience was a rare pleasure.



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