This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Peter Greenaway's "The Falls"

Very few potential blog readers have seen or even heard of Peter Greenaway's 1980 “movie” The Falls, and for good reason: It's not an easy watch. A description is all you'll need to see what I mean: It's a fake documentary that briefly covers the lives of 92 weirdly-named people who have all been affected by an unexplained VUE, or “Violent Unknown Event.” There are 19 million victims of said event, and the people covered in the film are the 92 whose surnames begin with the letters “Fall.” Yes, the 92 biographies take 3 hours to get through. So you see why it's never gotten real popular..

The film assumes the audience both knows what the VUE is and cares about these weird people who were given diseases and immortality and new languages and all sorts of other random genetic powers and detriments. It presents all this information matter-of-factly, with dispassionate documentary narrators talking over images Greenaway either filmed or found in somebody's garbage. It's not completely random, though, and if you stick with it for a few minutes, some themes start to emerge: Birds (who probably caused the VUE and left most of the victims with some sort of avian obsession), the 92 new languages that the affected people were inspired to start speaking, obsession with water, genetic immortality, and flight via plane or jumping off buildings (mostly due to the immortality). It's kind of a big joke, and at its best the movie is random and odd and funny, reminiscent of when Wes Anderson gives backstory at the beginning of his films. At it's worst, you can't believe you're watching a 3-hour documentary about people that don't exist affected by an event that never happened, and isn't even explained.

So now you know. If you think you'll be into that sort of thing, check it out. It's really well-made. It's also the inspiration for the new fun game I just created. What you do is this: Make up a name by combining a nonsense word with a word that starts in "Fall." Here are some examples:

Flobita Fallovitch
Vorb Fallboski
Tenebreesque Falloso
Cartinn Fallpike

Ok, so I guess it's not very fun after all.


  • At 4:50 AM, Blogger Brian said…

    Why are you always getting me to rent 3-hour documentaries? Even fake ones? Isn't Peter Greenaway the guy who made Prospero's Books? More full-frontal than any Shakespeare adaptation I've ever seen. That's all I got.

  • At 6:14 AM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    Yes, same guy. Same weird, weird guy.

    Wait -- why is there a handicapped parking sign by the word verification thingy?

  • At 2:37 PM, Blogger the professional said…

    my guess is that Blogger got slammed by suits for not being ADA compliant. we had to update the whole writing center web site to include html captions on every picture so that the blind could scroll over them and "hear" the image.

  • At 12:14 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    Click on it -- it's creepy! Why do they have to have two different voices? And why such disinterested ones? Did they recruit homeless people for this?

    Anyway, I got Firefox with AdBlock, so if I want to I can block it. No Handcapped Parking.

  • At 6:20 PM, Blogger jill said…

    You soooooooooooooo want to footnote that. Admit it.


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