Sunday, July 5, 2015

FALLING (2012)

Produced and Directed by
Michael Zelniker
Written by
Michael Zelniker, co written by Celeste Chute, Elizabeth Dantus, Sharon Elliott, Maryanna First, Paige Gibson, Christina Gudjenova, Matthew L. Hart, Richard Perry, Samantha Sergeant, Sarah Wahl
Celeste Chute, Elizabeth Dantus, Sharon Elliott, Maryanna First, Paige Gibson, Christina Gudjenova, Matthew L. Hart, Richard Perry, Samantha Sergeant, Sarah Wahl

To be honest Falling… is really not my kind of movie. Not usually. Of course the concept is fascinating. Take ten acting students and have their teacher assign them a short film project. Then take the ten short films and mold them into one, cohesive feature film.
Sounds daunting doesn’t it?
Yeah, I thought so too.
A while ago I had the fortune to interview Michael Zelniker. While a lot of people may recognize the name from features like Naked Lunch or Bird, there is one of his films that will always be a favorite;
Pinball Summer.
One of my favorite of the teen films of the 80s I remember seeing it on a double feature with my dad and siblings at the Portage Drive-In. The second feature was Switchblade Sisters.
Now I realize you’re incredibly jealous at this point. What with me getting to talk with Mr. Zelniker on the phone and getting to watch double features that most people only dream about.
But, let’s set that aside and concentrate on Falling…
Mr. Zelniker mentioned it during our long conversation. I was fascinated by the concept and he sent me the movie to watch.
I watched it.
Sometimes I need to process things differently that don’t fit into the neat mold of genre films.
I needed to watch it again.
I grabbed my notebook, my pen and fired it up on Amazon Streaming. The movie started and I started to write down some notes.
Then, about five minutes later, I put down the notebook.
This wasn’t going to fit into that neat mold I mentioned earlier.
It does kick off with a young girl discovering that she is adopted while packing for a camping trip. Mad, she leaves on her bicycle. She passes a taxi that has another cast member and we follow her for a second before passing a small camper that has another cast member.
That’s when I get it.
This is ten different studies of people. People who are just trying to make it through their day. Whether it is dealing with pregnancy, grief, loss, discovering who they are and aren’t. People that come to terms with what is happening to them. Sometimes they flow with the things that occur in their lives and follow a specific path. Sometimes, they try to fit into a path that was never going to work and the results are disastrous. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s tragic and there is even a little whimsy in there as well.
Ten, separate storylines that take place in a relatively small area of this huge planet and show how, in the end, we all interact with one another. Good, bad, we are all human and Falling… takes us on these ten little journeys and melds them into a single, coherent story line.
Just the logistics of what is done here makes my head hurt a little. I think that Zelniker has been in the business for so long that he saw the whole thing in his head and each student brought a piece of the puzzle to make it a single picture.
Now, as for the title.
Without asking Mr. Zelniker what it means, I have my own theory. I have always been fascinated by the idea that walking, the literal act of putting one foot in front of the other is nothing but a series of repeated, controlled falls. Every step is a fall where you catch yourself. These people and their stories have them walk by one another; interact ever so slightly with one another.
Taking those steps, falling with each one and catching themselves just like we all do every single day.
That’s the important part of the fall. Catching yourself.
Falling… shows us how it’s done.
One last thing.
When I was watching this I had no idea that there was a little trick going on with the actors. It’s revealed in the end credits and I thought that was the final topping on the sundae that is Falling…
Did not see it coming. It works so well and shows a versatility that was unexpected and fascinating at the same time.


1 comment:

Michael Zelniker said...

What an awesome review... Thank you Douglas Waltz! When one endeavors away as humbly as we did on Falling... it is especially gratifying to have one's work recognized favorably. I hope your readers will watch and enjoy. Available on many of the VOD platforms including Amazon Instant Video:
and Googleplay:


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