The Falls | Chicago Reader

The Falls

An exemplar of cool postmodernism, Peter Greenaway's 1980 feature spoofs educational films with short biographies of 92 people affected by a “violent unknown event” (VUE for short). With churning music by Michael Nyman and Brian Eno and interviews conducted in invented languages (a side effect of VUE, along with immortality and birdlike physiology), the film relentlessly chronicles the bizarre symptoms and life choices of its subjects, chosen at random because their last names begin with the letters f-a-l-l. For the viewer, this becomes a wild game of extracting some kind of order from the chaos of detail and a chance to evaluate the controversial “theory of the responsibility of birds.” Giddy, hypnotic, intricate, and utterly delightful. 180 min.

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