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30 August 2008 @ 08:57 pm
The Fall  
I would like to announce that The Fall is the most beautiful movie I have seen in years, or possibly ever. I think it's a love-it-or-hate-it movie, so I warn you in advance that I'm completely smitten to the point of ridiculousness. I am not rational about it AT ALL.


1. The cinematography--the out-of-control sublime beauty of Every. Single. Shot.
2. The show-stealing performance of Romanian child actress Catinca Untaru. She is ten kinds of adorable.
3. Lee Pace like you've never seen him before. I like Lee Pace, he's adorably pretty, and he plays the Pie-maker beautifully in Pushing Daisies, but I never thought he was that great an actor before. He proved me wrong in this, playing a much darker character, in moving fashion.
4. Whimsy! I love a movie with a sense of play and the fantastic--particularly when it's combined with childhood nostalgia and storytelling.
5. Darkness--A children's movie this may be, but it's really dark. While not particularly (overtly) violent, there is a lot of creepiness in the hospital setting, and the plot enters some pretty dark territory. For me, childhood nightmares, or the way that adult truths penetrate children's consciousness, is a fascination, so it played well to me.
6. Filming locations--they could not be more sumptuous or spectacular and include the Maldives, India (Agra Fort, Jodhpur, Ladakh, Kashmir, etc), Brazil, Egypt, Cambodia, Namibia, Prague, Turkey and many more.
7. Imagination--the plot revolves around an injured stuntman who tells stories to a young girl in a hospital. Reality and unreality intersect and I'm a sucker for that stuff.
8. Recurring motifs--horses, oranges, paper messages, pills and butterflies.
9. The birth of cinema--there is a subplot about the development of moving pictures and the 'trickery' they involve.
10. Heartstring-tuggery--the little girl and the stuntman both have something to give to the other and they both harbour sad stories. While these remain in the background, they inform the action of the story in a very moving way.

ETA: This review, which I largely agree with, includes an explanation of the film's origins: "As Tarsem Singh (these days, just "Tarsem") explains it, he first had the idea for The Fall 14 years ago, but was unable to secure funding for a dark, miserablist fantasy shot in more than a dozen countries, based on a Bulgarian drama (1981's Yo Ho Ho), and largely written by the improvisational choices of a 5-year-old girl". Ahem. Yeah, I see how that was a hard sell.

Like all very beautiful things, when I finish it, I feel empty and instantly begin longing for it, or something like it, again. So if anyone wants to rec me any similar movies (ha!), feel free. Otherwise, I'll be on the sofa watching it for the third time in 24 hours...
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Current Location: sofa of sickness
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
 
 
 
supacat: the same wind?supacat on August 30th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I will believe you if you still say it's a good movie after 48 hours and a Codral.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ameliebop_radar on August 30th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Hush you! It is very pretty. *pouts*

I do not think you would like it as much as me though. It does not have your things.
Barbara: Oo Shiny Leia SWhtbthomas on August 30th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Is this on DVD now? I've been waiting for it!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Batgirlbop_radar on August 31st, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
I think it must be, yes.
sarmoti: James McAvoysarmoti on August 30th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
I hadn't even heard of this one! But now I've just added it to my Netflix queue. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Blair yelloqbop_radar on August 31st, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
I had not heard of it before watching it--watched it on a total whim because it had pretty man *cough* Lee Pace in it. But WOW!
Enderenderwiggin24 on August 30th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
oooooooooooookay, coming with such a praise from you!
and since I currently have nothing to see yet, omg its september already , please, I need my shows!
BL, Bones, PB, Cold Case, Heroes!!! bwahhhh

there was an upload a couple of days ago, and I passed it, but holy cow, it seems really a non so secret gem, 133 people wanted it?!?!?
huh!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ameliebop_radar on August 31st, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
*giggles* Yeah, I picked it up from there on a whim and when I went back to that post everyone was going crazy over it. Seems like it already has a big cult following. :)

But yeah, where IS the TV!?! *wants it*
spiderwebb, kristen, lupa: kara grinspiderwebb on August 30th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
i've seen it twice and was lucky enough to attend a sceening followed by a Q&A with tarsem. it was such a labor of love for him to make this movie. he financed it himself (with income from directing commercials), and got it into theatres himself as well. this movie had been precolating in his mind for years and he said even if it had taken him 30 years and millions more dollars, he still would have done it.

my daughter looks very much like the little girl in the movie, with much the same personality.. some of scenes were a little hard for me to take. i was sobbing out loud. this movie.. this movie is such a work of art.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ameliebop_radar on August 31st, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
Ohhhh yay, someone else loves it! *bounces* That Q&A sounds brilliant--I am so impressed by people who have the creative dedication to fund their own projects and who remain true to their own visions like this. And when it produces something as insanely beautiful and unique as this it's just so gorgeous.

It's a really heavy movie--I agree. Those scenes in the second half between Alexandria and Roy are really full on, but so so beautiful. I can imagine it would be harder to watch if you had a little girl that age. And how gorgeous is the last voiceover?!! Eee!
Charlotte; Possy Magnet.: (misc) LOVE!elsmoka on August 31st, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
I watched it after your rec and it's really amazing. I loved it a lot. So THANK YOU! :D
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Flowersbop_radar on August 31st, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! It's so magical, isn't it?
Jayne L.: dwalleyserrico on October 26th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
Aha! I *knew* there was someone else on my flist who'd seen this thing. :)

4. Whimsy! [...]
5. Darkness


Yes and *yes*. I am a complete and utter *sucker* for art that manages to combine these two things *well*--and The Fall does it really, reeeeeeeeally well. It's that thing where light and dark, in their contrasts, define emotional details that wouldn't necessarily be as clear if it were just unrelenting light or unrelenting dark: it's why the scene that cuts back and forth between fantasy and reality as Alexandria tries to wake up Roy ends up being so freaking HEARTBREAKING. *loves*

For me, childhood nightmares, or the way that adult truths penetrate children's consciousness, is a fascination

For me as well! The interplay between innocence and maturity seems--to me, anyway--kind of like the whole light/dark thing: the nuances of each are displayed more fully--or maybe more fascinatingly, or in more imaginative ways--when the contrast is present.

Anyway. Yes. This movie has eaten my braaaaaaiiiiiin is *excellent*. *smishes*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: The Fallbop_radar on October 26th, 2008 08:46 am (UTC)
Eeeeeee! *bounces* someone else has been bitten!

it's why the scene that cuts back and forth between fantasy and reality as Alexandria tries to wake up Roy ends up being so freaking HEARTBREAKING. *loves*
Totally a cinematic highlight moment for me now! Such an amazing, devastating, scene. And so pure.

For me as well! The interplay between innocence and maturity seems--to me, anyway--kind of like the whole light/dark thing: the nuances of each are displayed more fully--or maybe more fascinatingly, or in more imaginative ways--when the contrast is present.
Mmm, yes, that's true! Each are so much more striking in contrast than when alone.

I have this overflowing love for The Fall but I don't know where to go with it! It's not like there's really a fandom for it (would I even want one?)... but it helps to know that others are similarly smitten!
Jayne L.: dwalleyserrico on October 29th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Such an amazing, devastating, scene. And so pure.

I showed the movie to my mom the other night, and the thing that seemed to stay with her afterward was the fact that Tarsem got such a real performance out of Catinca Untaru, including real tears. While, yeah, that one behind-the-scenes feature shows that sometimes the tears were *really* real--*g*--that kid's natural inclination towards being true for the camera is pretty astonishing.

I have this overflowing love for The Fall but I don't know where to go with it!

Might I be so bold as to suggest a vid? ;) I'd do it myself, but frankly, this movie's so good--and my vidding abilities so...basic, for lack of a better word--the mere prospect exhausts me. Hence: foisting! (In a gentle way. Feel free to tell me to go away. *g*)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: The Fallbop_radar on October 30th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
, that one behind-the-scenes feature shows that sometimes the tears were *really* real
Oh I haven't seen that! I am looking for the DVD but may have to order it.

that kid's natural inclination towards being true for the camera is pretty astonishing.
Absolutely! It's far and away one of the best performances by a child actor I've ever seen, no matter what tricks they pulled to get it (I heard she thought Lee Pace really couldn't walk).

I would looooove to make a vid for The Fall! Your foisting is very welcome. Thank you for the track--I will put it on my playlist and let it bounce around my head a bit. How did you come to think of it for The Fall?
Jayne L.: dwalleyserrico on October 31st, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
The DVD extras are really worth it (although the movie's pretty worth it all on its own *g*): there are two behind-the-scenes documentaries that are done fly-on-the-wall-style, and two commentary tracks, one with Lee Pace and two of the writer/producers, the other with Tarsem. (And yeah, Pace pretended to be paralysed-for-real the whole time they were filming the hospital scenes. Most of the crew didn't even know he could walk, which...kinda makes me awestruck at that man's commitment to his craft. :)

How did you come to think of it for The Fall?

Yay! I'm glad offering the song didn't come across as pushy. *g* When I saw the movie, I was struck by the way it comments on imagination, fantasy, and storytelling as shared experiences, and ones that can be quite intimate. The tone and feel of 'Dirait-on'--its beauty, its emotion, its flowing musicality--seems, for me, to fit the feel of the scenes between Roy and Alexandria when they're hidden behind his bed curtain/witnessing and participating in the adventure, deep in their story/imagination.

But what makes the song click for me in terms of a potential vid is the use of "dirait-on"--"so they say". Generally, the poem (by Rainer Maria Rilke) around which the song is written is a love song in which the main conceit is self-absorption (there are some translations that verge very entertainingly on the suggestion of self-*love* *g*); the narrator points out that the song's beloved (or loving) subject is almost like "Narcissus fulfilled"--but everything the narrator says is given the caveat, "so they say", so much so that the bulk of the song is the repetition of "dirait-on". Which, for me, ties the song to the movie's use of a) imagination and b) film: stories Alexandria and Roy create out of themselves that feed off each other and, inevitably, become their whole world.

Am I getting too English Class? I feel like I'm getting too English Class. *g* Basically, my idea for the vid involves looking at how Alexandria and Roy use their shared fantasy world as mediation between themselves and the real world--and how, basically, Roy's ability in that regard is pretty much broken until Alexandria fixes him. (Does it clarify anything *at all* if I say that the vaguely-formed vid-in-my-head ends on Roy's expression as he watches the movie that caused his accident?)

Aaaaaand that's probably way more than you were interested in reading. Sorry. *g* There are just so few people who've *seen* this movie, and my thoughts on it are just so...along the lines of all the blather above. Oh, to fangirl obscure things!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: The Fallbop_radar on November 1st, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
Must. Acquire. DVD!

I am fascinated by what you have to say about the song and the movie--I'm so glad I asked. I checked out the Rilke poem (not one I knew).

my idea for the vid involves looking at how Alexandria and Roy use their shared fantasy world as mediation between themselves and the real world--and how, basically, Roy's ability in that regard is pretty much broken until Alexandria fixes him
Ohh, interesting premise! I hadn't thought of it quite like that--I think I've been more tuned in to Alexandria's journey and the only vid idea I've had for it myself is more about her navigating the role that Roy casts her in.

the vaguely-formed vid-in-my-head ends on Roy's expression as he watches the movie that caused his accident?
Oh, that does help me understand, yes--that's not something I had considered, so it's coming at it a different way. I guess when he watches the film he is standing 'outside' himself, watching the fiction for what it is--a fiction. Roy and Alexandra's world IS very introspective and narcisstic, you're right. Feel free to tell me more! I am not sure I could make the vid the way you envisage it but you never know...

I'd started playing around with a vid that would explore the way that Alexandria takes on the 'hero' role in Roy's story but also the way that that gets subverted (because she is not saving him, she's killing him) and then the way it ultimately 'comes good' again, with her persuading him to keep on living.

There is SO much to explore--and so much of it visual--it begs to be vidded. The visual echoes within the source are so powerful.