Excellent early short from Greenaway that exposes the elements of the features to come. Familiar themes and actions including list making, numerology, art criticism, the juxtaposition of nature and artistic expression, and of course the music of Michael Nyman. Fascinating watch for those familiar with the classics to follow.
Genius. "I will take the path of the third alternative." A walk through real and imaginary cities (nods to Italo Calvino?). The windmills made me think of Donald Evan's (who died in a fire in 1977) postage stamp sized paintings. Perhaps the ornithologist and Mr. Evans took a walk through H together. Michael Nyman start and stop soundtrack great. Colin Cantlie has a great voice for doing the narration.
I actually liked this short film. Here's the problem with a lot of Greenaway, I appreciate what he's doing but thoughtful, reflective pieces often clash with the reality of my lifestyle. It never seems to be the right time or atmosphere....the kid to take to school in the morning, my writing, the social time. This one worked because it felt like visiting an art gallery. and it was short. Sad commentary huh?
Hard not to think of Raúl Ruiz's inarguably superior The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (from the same year). Both film's could be read as humorous critiques of the excesses of 'interpretation,' especially as exemplified in the then-currently-hip deconstructionist flights of Jacques Derrida. We are talking art history as insane runaway train of fancy and bizarre conjecture. Obviously Michael Nyman is the man.
An acknowledgement of the Very Serious Work of finding order in the (seeming! you can't fool Tulse!) chaos of the world & our lives; the taming of time & space. The road to H is paved with something interpretable, dammit! Extraordinarily immersive for a fiction realized mainly via sketches (framed, though!) & words. Or maybe that's Greenaway showing us we're better practiced at that sort of art than we care to admit.
Observing the world through a child's gaze here, the narrator leads us through a series of static images the camera slowly pans over as an eye would, with an intent to trace these so called maps. Much like Dear Phone, the scope of this project is outreached by the execution of the film. The film grows long and repetitive. Greenway's voice and vision are not for everyone, and I may not be one who is able to enjoy him.