Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
Peter Greenaway, gleeful designer of elaborate codes and mind games in countless arthouse hits through the 80s and 90s, now revels in the playground of digital technology. The Tulse Luper project, of which this film is the first instalment, threatens to be the ultimate Greenaway work, a vast codex of the 20th century, to be disseminated via websites, DVDs and movies. On a purely superficial level – and how better to deal with a movie that has such an abundantly stocked surface? – it’s surprisingly entertaining in its archness and energetic profusion. There’s even a highly improbable story that you can follow. The eponymous hero is an inveterate cataloguer, but something of a Candide, stumbling into bizarre situations between World Wars in Wales (as a child), New Mexico (where it’s open season on Mormons) and Antwerp (where he falls foul of Belgian fascists).
“Ambitious, baffling and quite groundbreaking in its integration of text, graphics and layered images... What does it all mean? Haven’t a clue. I still enjoyed the ride.” — Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly