Friday, June 20, 2008

All The World Is A Stage

The Fall(2007)
Directed by Tarsem Singh
A beautiful and amazing fantasy film, like Jean Luc Godard's "Alphaville" which transformed 60's Paris into a dystopian sc-fi planet without the use of special effects, Tarsem's "The Fall".Shooting in 18 different countries the film transforms some of the most beautiful locations on earth into a surreal fantasia of orange deserts, blue cities, and underwater photography of elephants swimming in the open ocean.The story is deceptively simple tale of a stuntman named Roy, whose taken an emotional and physical fall, meeting a 5 year old Romanian girl named Alexandria, who fell and broke her arm working the California Orange grooves,meeting in a hospital in 1920's Los Angeles. Alexandria has lost her father, Roy's lost his girl and is suicidal, and Roy begins telling an epic tale of revenge, staring characters based on hospital staff and historical characters.Five heroes an Italian explosives expert, an Indian Prince, an African self-freed slave, Charles Darwin as young British naturalist who speaks to animals, and a mysterious masked Zorroesque bandit who is at turns Alexandria's father and Roy himself, set out to kill their mutual enemy Governor Odious.(with occasional assistance from a shaggy haired wild man called "The Mystic") (The leading man from the film Roy was working on, who stole his girl and drove him to his stunt/suicide?) in the story Roy tells Alexandria, provided she fetch things for him. Like so many oneiric fantasies, this story is about innocence and romanticism vs. the big bad world, in Don Quixote it was romanticism and fantasy vs reality and deception, "Pans Labyrinth" romanticism against fascism, "Brazil' romanticism against bureaucracy, and "The Fall" likewise is romanticism against despair.The film is as grand in it's themes as it is in it's visuals, touching on love, death, despair, story-telling, manipulation, the early days of film making, innocence, cross cultural relationships(when Roy says wigwams describing the Indian's back-story, Alexandria imagines Hindu Palaces.)and reconstructing your life after a trauma, picking up the pieces after the fall.I was glad I saw this in theaters on a big screen, one of the most vibrant and beautiful things Ive ever seen anywhere and at anytime. If you've seen Tarsem's first film "The Cell", you've got an idea of this directors abilities to work with both visuals and performers(he mad J-Lo passable).Alexandria is played by one the best child actress Ive seen in a very long time, a 5 year old who speaks like a 5 year old, which injects a good helping of humor into the story. Instant classic, If you get a chance, see it.

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