"There is no such thing as history, there are only historians" is the theme of Part 2 of "The Tulse Luper Suitcases," in which the talking heads become as much 18th-century narrators as 20th-century authorities, one finally breaking free of his little box altogether, a transition made possible by the increasingly glamorous prisons in which Luper finds himself. Luper (now played by J.J. Feild and Roger Rees, sometimes simultaneously) is jailed in a French chateau in which all the other prisoners seem to be female and voluntary, including the storytelling Charlotte des Arbres (Ana Torrent), whose hairdo is straight out of Barry Lyndon. As a janitor in Strasbourg's Arc en Ciel cinema, which is showing Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc and Renoir's Boudu Saved from Drowning, Luper meets usherette Trixie Boudain (Franka Potente) who quotes Arletty and Sacher-Masoch when she not spouting Greenaway's own ideas about the depiction of sex and death on screen. Luper then becomes a prisoner on the estate of the sadistic Madame Moitessier (Isabella Rossellini), famously painted by Ingres, for whom he works in drag as a maid and disrobes as an artist's model. Cissie Colpitts (Valentina Cervi) comes and goes, many Greenaway projects are referenced including his next film, 55 Men on Horseback and the Louis Andriessen opera Rosa. The filmmaker's obsession with the death of Anton Webern also does not go unremarked, as Luper's history becomes increasingly unmoored from the history of World War II.
Peter Greenaway was first trained as a painter before he became a filmmaker. He has since gone on to create a number of short and feature-length films, paintings, and novels. Greenway's films include The Draughtsman's Contract, A Zed And Two Noughts, The Belly of an Architect, Drowning By Numbers, His Wife and Her Lover, The Thief, The Pillow Book, The Baby of Macon, Prospero's Books, The Cook, and 81/2 Women.