David Auerbach on literature, tech, film, etc.

Peter Greenaway: From “The Falls”

Erhaus Bewler Falluper

Whilst acknowledging his output, Falluper’s detractors accused him of manufacturing fictions and deliberately confusing identities. He was also accused of not knowing the difference between a good joke and a bad one. Falluper’s supporters were certain that these accusations were often true, but they believed that Falluper’s half-fictions were effervescent by-products of his compulsion to draw up maps, index disaster and break chaos into small pieces that he might rearrange those pieces in a different way, perhaps alphabetically. However, Falluper’s supporters had no illusions about his ability to tell a joke; they knew that he was much too serious to have a sense of humour.

Falluper asked his questions of forty-one people. In the latest edition of the VUE Directory, there were exactly double that number of persons whose surnames began with the letters FALL. Of the forty-one persons that Falluper interviewed, seven were to become VUE victims. These seven, like Falluper himself, now speak Abcadefghan, have superlative night-vision, are welcomed at children’s parties, can whistle well, fear flying, loathe the FOX, and inaugurate projects that others less gifted invariably complete.

Falluper is Greenaway’s surrogate in The Falls, and his listmaking and cataloging are the methods of Greenaway himself. It took Greenaway over twenty years to return to the metatextual analysis of his own themes in The Tulse Luper Suitcases, where 92 (the number of natural elements) is once again used as the structuring device for the caprices of Falluper, or rather his original form Tulse Luper.

1 Comment

  1. I love The Falls – I’ve seen it three times in the theater, and I got the DVD as soon as it came out. Remember the airplane landing on the Hudson a while back, when “Sully” Sullivan brought her down on the river after the engines went out? On the news they were speculating about how they think the plane ran into a flock of geese, and all I could think was: OMG, they’re talking about the Theory of the Responsibility of Birds. (But of course the Boulder Orchard isn’t on the Hudson, is it.)

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