The Falconer on Vimeo

The Falconer, technically, was an advance on The Cardinal and the Corpse. This time there was no industry crew. The shoot was very much free form, going off wherever the story took us, fuelled on cultural appropriation (in the best sense) and creative paranoia. It was always intended as part of a wider project known as ‘The Perimeter Fence’, a recalibration of lives and productions lost in the margins. An alternative (and electively unreliable) series of histories, rewritten and subverted to aim at a higher truth. The progress of the film was scored by a complex network of (provoked) creative tensions: between the ostensible director Chris Petit, for example, and the former director (and self-proclaimed shaman, conman, story-teller, falconer) Peter Whitehead, between the scrupulous editor Emma Matthews and the artist/animator Dave McKean (whose brilliant inserts and interventions were microfilms on their own). As the production evolved, it was taken over by the presence of Whitehead, who always held out one more story to tell, one more startling revelation. Revelations backed up by a buried archive of feature films, documentaries and home-movie footage.
Channel 4, back in the day, responded positively. The Falconer was singled out as a new way of working: distressed and ‘painterly’ textures, hints at conspiracies, basic equipment, no crew to eat up budget. The consequence was more commissions to operate in this way – but not for us, for younger, less bothersome and cheaper hopefuls.
Dr Michael Hrebeniak said: ‘The Falconer is probably the most talked about film ever made among the psychogeography crowd… Maybe we should keep it a secret?’
Not any more.