Whilst studying at Plymouth Art College I had the great fortune of attending the illuminative lectures of the late Victor Peach. Even some twenty years later his seemingly random discourses pop into my mind with great pertinency. For him the highest art-form was painting. Film being a very close second (only because you can make films about paintings).
However despite his reverence of the brush, it was his talks on film which got firmly logged into my brain. It took many years before paintings had the power to pull my eyes into them like film.
After one of his lecturers on Peter Greenaway I spent my lunch breaks thoroughly absorbed trying to get my brain around ‘The Falls’ one of his early films , which was available, (thanks to Mr Peach) in the Art College Library. Its an epic three hours long so it took me a week or so before i was able to get to the end of it whist squeezing segments into my lunch hour. Victor Peach impressed on us that there are a great many similarities with film and painting and often films are inspired by paintings and not the other way around.
Heres what Mr Greenaway has to say on the matter:
I was studying photography at the time, my colleague Jacob Parish who was studying Media had asked me to help him out on his end of year project. Which ended up being a sci-if mini epic entitled ‘Micheal Thornton’s Recorded Dream Collection’.
Although ‘The Falls’ falls into the sci-fi genre, it has a very real-world mundane feel to it. Very very convincing alternative reality. In fact I’ve never felt so immersed into an alternative reality as when trying to get my brain around The Falls in those isolated lunch break segments. I had to wear headphones because it was in a library. [Note to self: watch more films with headphones]. I was convinced that it was a documentary at the time. I thought that only my dreams could have this kind of mind-bending power. We attempted to get this warped reality into ‘Micheal Thornton’s Recorded Dream Collection’.
The shooting of this film involved us dismantling and reappropriating a 1960s Hoover that ended up being part of our hero’s backpack and saw us headed out on a wild location shoot to Snowdonia. We were up against the elements that saw our 3-man crew attempt to erect an 8-man tent in gale-force winds. Unfortunately in the battle of Wind vs Tent the wind won, which resulted in us sleeping in the back of a car for the next few days while we got our shots. Sometimes good footage needs to be fought for.