A mockumentary of epic proportions, The Falls is a bizarre universe unto itself: 92 people. 92 biographies in miniature. Every subject’s name beginning with “Fall,” all afflicted by the “Violent Unknown Event,” the symptoms of which include spontaneously speaking new languages and obsessing over birds. Within this cinematic encyclopedia, director Peter Greenaway (A Zed and Two Noughts, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) combines found footage, pseudo-documentary, unlikely romance, Greek tragedy, science fiction, deadpan absurdist voiceover, and music from Michael Nyman and Brian Eno(!) for a sprawling compendium of ambitious ideas and tongue-in-cheek laughs. Standing apart from avant garde features and other unusually long experiments, The Falls is that rarest bird of all: It’s also very funny, filtered through a low-budget ethos and loaded with in-jokes as only a 5-year personal project could be. As The Falls’ intricate web of theories becomes increasingly surreal, Greenaway plays it straight as science fact, and the encyclopedic scope becomes nothing short of mind-boggling. Take flight with a rarely screened 16mm print!

Plus a potluck! Since this is a long one, (the director has suggested taking breaks) we’re hosting a potluck on the Cinefamily patio. Bring your favorite poultry dish or family-style side for sharing and we’ll enjoy as many snacks are there are characters in The Falls.

Dir. Peter Greenaway, 1980, 16mm (courtesy of Zeitgeist Films), 195 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!