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.
The visual style of the three feature films is unorthodox, even compared to other Greenaway films. 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 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. 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. (wikipedia)