User Reviews (2)

Add a Review

  • politic198314 October 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    'Free Fall' is the latest work from writer-director duo György Pálfi and Zsófia Ruttkay, whose previous works include 'Hukkle' and 'Taxidermia', two films that will make you think that all Hungarians are weird and enjoy pig semen.

    The premise for this was one that I liked: With someone jumping from the roof of a block of flats, a short tale of the happenings in a flat from each floor is subsequently told about the weird lives that live above and below the ceiling. All packaged in a soundtrack by Amon Tobin.

    'Free Fall', therefore, is more like a sketch show, with all the characters held together by a connecting theme: the building they live in, reminding very much of Sean Lock's '15 Storeys High'. All the shorts are filmed in a different style, but all are dark comedies, though some are more on the dark and less on the comedy.

    What follows is group meditation, naked people at choir practice, uber safe sex, a US sit-com threesome, forced re-birth, among others, with no explanation for each offered. Some work, others less so, with the changing of styles creating a switching from comedy, to confusion, to what?!, back to comedy, oh a penis, etc. This creates an uneven watch, but keeps you interested at least as to what might come next...oh, I wish I hadn't seen that!

    The highlight for me is perhaps the opening credits - not a great compliment, but better than saying the highlight was the end - with its brash Amon Tobin soundtrack and grainy footage, like some sort of electro-punk music video. The changing of style throughout shows some versatility from the two directors, like the opposite styles of 'Hukkle' and 'Taxidermia' previously.

    'Free fall' is good, but not great, too inconsistent to be a thoroughly entertaining watch throughout. It wasn't quite what I expected - I expected an episode of '15 Storeys High' - but that's 'Free Fall's' strength: surprise, delivering the unexpected and the changing emotions that come with it; up and down like a lift in a block of flats.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Falling is an interesting movie. It didn't get much of an international release on home video or in the cinema, and I had great difficulty tracking down a copy. I was initially surprised at this because György Pálfi broke out into the international market with movies like Taxidermia, Hukkle and Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (this last one is particularly excellent) and I would have expected he had enough of a brand to secure an international release even if the movie was a misstep. As it turns out, one of the episodes in the film, I'll term it the dcotor's appointment episode, is so brutal and vile, that it's not hard to understand how it didn't get released outside of the festival circuit. It's not just that the scene is miserable, it's more the lack of an obvious message to redeem it. The movie's overall message seems to be about cultural degeneracy and newly emergent selfishness, generally these seem to be fresh messages, although the elderly couple who talk past each other seem to be less au courant.

    Palfi is not alone in thinking that society is undergoing a fall from grace, I guess the other famous Hungarian director with the same message is Béla Tarr (very different approaches!). I agree with the message, I think my generation broadly rejected every value that their parents had, and through the baby out with the bath water. Generally people have chosen to use their new freedoms (sexual, religious etc) to destroy themselves.

    Overall Falling feels rough around the edges and plays a few wrong notes. What I felt missing was any sense that the director actually cared about the fall from grace he's describing. This is much more apparent in a film such as Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy.

    For reference I will list the episodes and what they are meant to represent in my opinion (in order of my recollection). You should not read this unless you are happy with "spoilers".

    * Old long suffering couple. This is a fairly ordinary episode which frames the rest of the material. The couple (could be married or could be selfish old man with a live-in housekeeper, hard to distinguish!) ignore the needs of one another and the lady attempts to kill herself twice (the unordinary bit is that she manages to survive both plummets from the top of her apartment block). This is the failure to sustain love through a long term relationship.

    * Yogics. A group of new age disciples receive banal instruction from a cult-like leader. One member is able to levitate but is told off for showing off, he then merges into a wall in an attempt to jump through it. I guess it is amusing in that for all the talk of opening one's heart chakra, this appears to be as insular a grouping as any of the others in the movie.

    * Throuple. So a lady called Dede decides that one boyfriend is not enough and a second one is moved in. She acts as if this is some sort of completely reasonable step and boyfriend number one is unreasonable for resisting it. This scenario is presented as some sort of ultra trashy romcom. This is a tragedy of people trying to reinvent the relationship focusing solely on their own needs.

    * Gynecologist. A lady decides that she wants to have an operation to be "repregnant", i.e. she pays an obstetrician/gynaecologist to reinsert her already born baby into her body. This is all presented in a very matter-of-fact way. It appears that this will lead to the child's death, the doctor talks about the baby being "reabsorbed" by the body. It was not very clear to me what this episode is trying to tell the viewer. It could be that there is suggestion that society focuses much more on mothers than children, like motherhood is a cult in-and-of-itself, and not about self sacrifice anymore. I'm not sure really. It came off as crass to me.

    * Naked party guests. So this segment is not particularly original, Manet for example did a famous painting where there is a naked woman at a picnic with some fully clothed men (Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe - at the Orsay in Paris). The woman in this case is portrayed as naked at a party because she is a trophy, she is stripped of her opinions, in the end she meets a man in the same position, and it's suggested they will have an affair. This is a tragedy of a breakdown in the sacrament of marriage.

    * Terrorised child. A child lives in fear of his father, represented by an omnipresent actual bull in the apartment. This is the fall from grace of the family unit.

    * Germaphobes. A couple who misunderstand the imperatives of hygiene are engaged in a folie a deux where they become obsessed with creating a perfectly sterile environment. They have intercourse without touching one another and then there is an abject end to the episode.