Saturday, August 16, 2008

the fall & tideland

set in the 1920's the fall is a story of an injured stuntman who tells a little girl with a broken arm an epic story, all in a ruse to get her to steal him morphine so he can kill himself. we see the story through her mind, and it's quite endearing. she makes the characters people she knows in real life, for example she knows an indian (from india), so when the the stuntman tells her one of the characters is an indian, she imagines her friend, instead of a native american. her imagination is quite superb, as the costumes and scenery are quite beautiful. some of the movie's claims to fame are that it was shot in 19 countries, and uses little to no cgi, and the results are quite beautiful. after seeing the eye-sore cgi in the latest indy flick it was refreshing to see actual explosions, traditional stunt work, breath taking scenery, and an elephant swimming in the ocean. the story sounds a bit dark, but it has an uplifting ending, and ends as a tribute to all the silent film stuntmen.

i quite liked the seemingly random addition of charles darwin.

the main comparison i've seen brought up for this film, is pan's labyrinth. and while i love pan's labyrinth, i felt it was more a movie about the real world being more magical than most people expect. in the first part of del toro's spanish civil war trilogy (i believe the third movie 3993, has been put way on the back burner due to the hobbit movies) the devil's backbone, a ghost of a child helps point out his murderer, and then avenge his own death. in pan's labyrinth, the faun was real, she really did use the chalk door to escape, the reason the captain didn't see the faun is because he's wicked! or perhaps such beings are only seen by those they want to be seen by.
the fall in contrast, is just about the imagination and magical world inside of a real girl in a real and confusing world, and for that it reminded me of the wonderful movie tideland.

in the first, twenty minutes of this film, the protagonist jeliza-rose, prepares heroin for her father, twice, has her mother die of a methadone overdose, runs aways to dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere texas with her father, and then her father o.d.'s on heroin soon after. she protects herself from all this by living in her imagination, her father is sleeping, her doll heads are alive and her friends, her neighbours are completely normal... things only get worse and crazier from here. the point of the movie though is to show how resilient children are, how they're not things of porcelain, that they have ways of coping. there are very intense and disturbing things in this movie, it took me quite awhile to watch it again, i suggest watching it a second time to anyone that's seen it, i also suggest watching it with terry gilliam's commentary. he does well explaining how things aren't as bad as they seem. the kissing scene for example, people freak out because jeliza rose and a mentally handicapped man like eachother. gilliam points out she's the aggressor in those scenes, and while he's older, it's not as though he knows better. it's all far more innocent for the characters.

it's an honestly beautiful movie, and if you can follow mr. gilliam's advice of remembering what it's like to be a kid, i'd suggest giving it a chance.

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