This was filmed at the same location as H is for House, an early 19th century house in the English countryside at Wardour in Wiltshire that belonged to a friend of Greenaway's. Concerned with the statistics of the defenestration of political prisoners emanating from South Africa, Greenaway created this short film in which he narrates the statistics of people falling out of windows, while Rameau's La Poule plays in the background, and the camera looks out of the windows of the house onto the beautiful landscape of this area of rural England.
"Though only four minutes long, Windows sheds considerable light on Greenaway's interior landscape: it is also a conjuring trick, an example of making something out of nothing." - John Pym, MFB
Greenaway on Windows:
"I had been appalled and fascinated by the statistics coming out of South Africa - political prisoners pushed out of windows, with fatuous excuses like they slipped on a bar of soap, they thought it was the door, etc. I built that into a fiction, trying to find all the possible reasons why anybody might fall out of a window, and compressed it into 3 1/2 minutes and set these appalling facts up against a very idyllic landscape in order to create irony and paradox. I think it sums up everything I've done afterwards: it's about statistics, it's very eclectic, it has a very lyrical use of landscape, it's about death - four characteristics that have stayed with me ever since."
In 1973 in the parish of W, 37 people were killed as
a result of falling out of windows. Of the 37 people who fell, 7 were children
under 11, 11 were adolescents under 18 and the remaining adults were all under
71 save for a man believed by some to be 103.
Five of the 7 children fell from bedroom windows as did 4 of the 11 adolescents and 3 of the 19 adults. Of the 7 children who fell all cases were of misadventure save for one of infanticide.
Of the 11 adolescents, 3 committed suicide for reasons of the heart, 2 fell through misadventure, 2 were drunk, one was pushed, one was accredited insane, one jumped for a bet and one was experimenting with a parachute.
Of the 12 men, 2 jumped deliberately, 4 were pushed, 5 were cases of misadventure and one, under the influence of an unknown drug, thought he could fly.
Of the 11 adolescents who fell, 2 were clerks, 2 were unemployed, 1 was married, 1 was a window cleaner and 5 were students of aeronautics, one of whom played the harpsichord.
Among the 19 adults who fell were an air-stewardess, 2 politicians, an ornithologist, a glazier and a seamstress.
Of the 37 people, 19 fell in summer before midday, 8 fell on summer afternoons and 3 fell into snow. The ornithologist, the adolescent experimenting with the parachute and the man who thought he could fly, all fell or were pushed on spring evenings. At sunset on the 14th of April 1973, the seamstress and the student of aeronautics who played the harpsichord, jumped into a plum tree from a window in this house.
H is for House
Vertical Features Remake
A Walk Through H
Act of God
The Draughtsman's Contract
The Sea in their Blood
Making a Splash
A Zed & Two Noughts
The Belly of an Architect
Drowning by Numbers
Fear of Drowning
Death in the Seine
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
A TV Dante: The Inferno Cantos I-VIII
M is for Man, Music and Mozart
The Baby of Mācon
Lumiere & Company
The Pillow Book
8 1/2 Women
The Death of a Composer
The Tulse Luper Suitcases
The European Showerbath