Tongue-in-cheek, early Greenaway short reflects the incredibly meticulous encyclopedic nature of his early films. An attempt is made to “reconstruct” a proposed, but never made, film according to some reasonably vague directions.
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Static shots of unremarkable domestic landscapes.
Cheesy oscillating synth score by Brian Eno. Mathematical editing choices. The last thing I was expecting going into this was a good laugh, but it definitely feels like a sarcastic jab at structuralism and the academic discourse surrounding structural/landscape films at the time. It conveys the same ideas using similar methods without taking itself too seriously.
Meticulous, mathematical, obsessive. I can totally understand why some would find this unwatchable. I couldn't turn it off. If you need to know what this film is about, you probably shouldn't watch it. Viewed on the most superficial level, it is pictures of fence posts, telephone poles, and trees. I'm grading it 5 stars, not compared to any other film, but compared to itself, the only fair way to consider it.
I may have finally found in VFR the rough equivalent to R. Ruiz's "The Book of Disappearances & The Book of Tractations" (echoed by Greenaway's funny Institute of Restoration & Reclamation) as both are extravagant, enmeshing, miraculously escaped from God knows what ad hoc apocalypse and totally unreproducible. The same feeling I'm at a table out in the sun, facing a stranger, and I don't own the words to utter the
Ingenious early Greenaway short that effectively uses and plays with structuralist principles and academia's pedantry. The remakes themselves are undeniably dull though, and it annoys me no end that, for a film so obsessed with 11, there are only 4 remakes (although the process feels endless). Very intrigued to start a major Greenaway retrospective!