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The Tulse Luper Suitcases

the tulse luper suitcases part 1: the moab story, the tulse luper suitcases
The Tulse Luper Suitcases is a multimedia project by Peter Greenaway, initially intended to comprise four films, three "source" and one feature, a 16-episode TV series, and 92 DVDs, as well as Web sites, CD-ROMs and books Once the online Web-based portion of the project was completed, the "winner" having taken a trip following Tulse Luper's travels and often imprisonment during his first writings about the discovery of uranium in Moab, Utah in 1928 to his mysterious disappearance at the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the final, feature film was released

Two books and three feature films were released to supply material to the Flash/Web designers who competed in a contest to make one of the 92 Flash-based "suitcase" games featured on the interactive, online site The Tulse Luper Journey


  • 1 Films / DVDs
    • 11 Cast
  • 2 Structure
  • 3 Tulse Luper Suitcases Exhibition
  • 4 The world according to Tulse Luper
  • 5 Luper’s fascination
  • 6 Style
  • 7 Analysis
  • 8 References
  • 9 Further reading
  • 10 External links

Films / DVDs

Three films: The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story The Tulse Luper Suitcases,Part 2: Vaux to the Sea The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 3: From Sark to the Finish were released in 2003, although they were shown out of order, with Part 1 shown in 2003, Part 3 in early 2004 and Part 2 in summer 2004 Part 1 was entered into the 2003 Cannes Film Festival

All three were initially released only on DVDs made in Spain to provide "back-story material" for the designers working on the online site's "suitcases", chosen from submissions in a contest held in 2004 The trilogy was later released as a box set in Australia in 2008 There are also two books, Tulse Luper in Turin and Tulse Luper in Venice, published in 2004, for the same purpose

In 2005, after the winner of the online game finished a free trip following the travels of Luper, an additional "final" feature, A Life In Suitcases subtitled "The Tulse Luper Journey" was released

While it was claimed that it would "largely be a condensation of material from the first three films" it is a complete film on its own, based on or an exact duplicate of the film players assemble in the online game There is also some contention in the related online forums as to whether or not the first "winner" of the game is a real person, and really won a free trip, as was written up in a blog as it progressed


  • JJ Feild as Tulse Luper / Floris Creps
  • Raymond J Barry as Stephan Figura
  • Michèle Bernier as Sophie van Osterhaus
  • Valentina Cervi as Cissie Colpitts
  • Caroline Dhavernas as Passion Hockmeister
  • Anna Galiena as Madame Plens
  • Deborah Harry as Fastidieux
  • Steven Mackintosh as Günther Zeloty
  • Jordi Mollà as Jan Palmerion
  • Ornella Muti as Mathilde Figura
  • Isabella Rossellini as Madame Moitessier
  • Ronald Pickup as Monsieur Moitessier
  • Franka Potente as Trixie Boudain
  • Francesco Salvi as Paul / Pierre
  • Nigel Terry as Sesame Esau
  • Ana Torrent as Ana Torrent
  • Kevin Tighe as William Gottschalk
  • Scot Williams as Percy Hockmeister
  • Yorick van Wageningen as Julian Lephrenic
  • Jack Wouterse as Erik van Hoyten
  • Tom Bower as Sheriff Fender
  • Michael Culkin as Luper Authority
  • Joanna David as May Jacoby
  • Benjamin Davies as Hercule
  • Keram Malicki-Sánchez as Virgil de Selincourt
  • Tanya Moodie as Guam Ravillion
  • Vincent Grass as Mrs Moitessier's Father
  • Barbara Tarbuck as Mrs Fender
  • Renata Litvinova as Constance Bulitsky


The project has been described by Greenaway as "a personal history of uranium" and the "autobiography of a professional prisoner" It is structured around 92 suitcases allegedly belonging to Luper, 92 being the atomic number of uranium as well as a number used by Greenaway in the formal structure of his earlier work most notably The Falls Each suitcase contains an object "to represent the world", which advances or comments upon the story in some way, although in many cases the contents are more metaphorical than real

Tulse Luper Suitcases Exhibition

After successful events in Ghent Belgium, Compton Verney, Warwickshire UK, Fort Asperen Netherlands and São Paulo Brazil, the Tulse Luper Suitcases Exhibition will now visit new places in the world in a 3-year tour 2008–2011

92 suitcases

In the exhibition Greenaway brings all the drama of cinema to life through objects, music, video and special effects The exhibition will feature all 92 suitcases, natural and man-made, packed with amazing special effects and artefacts A complete multi-media encyclopedia emerges through objects and audiovisual representations of all determining elements of life in the Atomic Age Each exhibition will be made in a unique way for each museum/country, offering the audience through modern technology a unique peek into Luper's local findings during his travels

In, São Paulo videobrasil, an artist Thaís de Almeida Prado has created a performance especially for the exhibition Tulse Luper Suitcases The project called "The Sleeping Beauty That" was composed with a solo and a book writing in performance

The world according to Tulse Luper

Luper was born in 1911 in Newport, South Wales and disappeared into ever more obscure prisons and jails in Russia and the Far East in the 1970s He would have been 100 in 2011 In the last century, this extraordinary man archived his entire life in 92 suitcases His life is shrouded in mystery, but it seems that Luper has been present at some of the key historical events of the 20th century, including the first nuclear tests in New Mexico, the 1968 Paris student protests and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 Although Luper spent most of his life being a professional prisoner, he still managed to collect a large amount of objects and store them in suitcases In a way, these suitcases represent the world according to Tulse Luper Tulse Luper is still presumed to be alive somewhere in the world – probably in a prison somewhere

Luper’s fascination

As a writer, collector, cataloguer and professional list-maker Luper is fascinated by traces, systems, maps, numbers and artifacts The exhibition explores the connections between objects, events and ideas, re-peopling the house and bringing the collections and building to life At the heart of the exhibition is the collection of 92 suitcases that Luper has supposedly abandoned on his travels Tickling all senses, their content can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted and felt, providing intriguing clues to his existence, his obsessions, the people he has met, and the places he has visited


The visual style of the three feature films is unorthodox, even compared to other Greenaway films This is most likely because they were meant to provide "source material" and "background story" for the Flash-based "suitcases" and hence are not truly meant to be watched as a film with typical fashion, but more of an audio/video pastiche

In many scenes multiple takes, different angles, or identical copies of the same footage are displayed simultaneously within the frame, either superimposed or in discrete "boxes" taking up a small part of the screen Multiple images are typically offset in time from one another, with a corresponding delay in audio At times, a written representation of the script also scrolls across the screen as it is performed The overall effect is similar to that of The Pillow Book, but because these effects are largely devoted to "narrator"-type characters providing exposition, or primary characters themselves commenting on or responding to the action, the overall effect is more like a visual encyclopedia or a form of interactive media minus the actual interaction

The character Tulse Luper has been featured though rarely seen in several of Peter Greenaway's earlier film works, and in The Tulse Luper Suitcases a substantial portion of Greenaway's output is briefly presented as if it had been filmed by Luper Other connections to previous Greenaway films include the character Cissie Colpitts, who also appeared in the 1988 feature Drowning By Numbers and the 1978 short Vertical Features Remake as well as in The Falls from the same year Tulse Luper, like Greenaway himself, is a keeper of extensive lists and catalogues, which serve as a sort of prism through which everything is seen The most notable instance of this in the project is a collection of 1,001 stories which parallel The Book of One Thousand and One Nights in Arabic literature The character Martino Knockavelli makes his first appearance here as a plump Italian schoolboy


An entire issue of the online journal Image and Narrative: The Online Magazine of the Visual Narrative, Issue #12 ISSN 1780-678X is dedicated to study, analyze, deconstruct, and explain Greenaway's project


  1. ^ Episode 1: The Moab Story on IMDb
  2. ^ Episode 2: Vaux to the Sea on IMDb
  3. ^ Episode 3: From Sark to the Finish on IMDb
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Tulse Luper Suitcases" festival-cannescom Retrieved 2009-11-07 
  5. ^ A Life in Suitcases on IMDb
  6. ^ Douglas Keesey 2006 The Films of Peter Greenaway: Sex, Death and Provocation McFarland p 214 ISBN 978-0-786-48100-2 
  7. ^ Videobrasil

Further reading

  • Braun, Micha July 2013 "But underneath I think we are in a very exciting melting pot The Re-Invention of Mannerist Style and the Historicity of Cinema in Peter Greenaway's Artwork" International Journal of Cinema 1: 167–77 
  • Braun, Micha 2012 In Figuren erzählen Zu Geschichte und Erzählung bei Peter Greenaway in German Bielefeld: transcript ISBN 978-3-8376-2123-5 
  • Gardner, Jared 2008 "Greenaway's Suitcase Cinema and New Media Archaelogy" Studies in European Cinema 52: 143–153 

External links

  • wwwpetergreenawayinfo
  • Official Site
  • TTLS page at Wayne's Peter Greenaway website
  • The Tulse Luper Journey – A massive internet game to coincide with the whole Tulse Luper project Players are required to assemble a 92-minute movie from "layers" obtained by completing short puzzles/games, each which then open one of 92 suitcases containing a piece of the 92 minute movie

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The Tulse Luper Suitcases

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