Fictional maps, invented histories, and baffling bird-related mayhem marked the early, experimental work of Welsh-born mischief-maker Peter Greenaway. The Falls, for instance, is a peculiar kind of movie masterpiece: a three-hour illustrated inquiry into a series of unfortunate events, all regarding our feathered friends. It’s like an avant-garde answer to Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Then, curiously, Greenaway became popular. In the ’80s, movies such as The Draughtsman’s Contract and the outrageous The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover made Greenaway a brand name on the international arthouse circuit. As though scornful of this popularity, Greenaway has been stubbornly non-commercial for the past two decades.