In keeping up with some of the movies from the festival and international circuit, I finished watching the new Mandarin film The Falls on Netflix. This film had totally slipped under the radar with not many people talking or discussing about this film. This film was Taiwan’s official entry to the Academy Awards this year although it did not make it to the final 15. And I just walked into this film blind not knowing qhat to expect from this film. So then is film The Falls worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Set against the backdrop of the pandemic, The Falls follows the story of a mother and daughter whose relationship takes an unexpected turn while quarantining. The story deals with an important topic of psychosis. We have films which are often being made on depression but psychosis is almost like the next step of depression which is not being talked about enough. It stems from loneliness or depression and slowly makes you lose sight of reality. This is a serious issue that needs to be discussed more often. The screenplay here breaks the relationship between the mother and her daughter into smaller fragments. The rush of youth coupled with the loneliness of being an adult are quite nicely addressed here. The emotional trauma that is builtup during the pandemic coupled with personal loss does paint a very poignant picture here. Slowly, the drama shifts to the gaze of the daughter as she sees her mother suffer as her condition keeps on getting worse. The change in their strained relationship is beautifully portrayed here. There is this melancholic tone that is maintained as an undercurrent here through its runtime. In the last 10 odd minutes you witness a tragedy which is open to interpretation. One complaint which I had was that the film felt a little too long and a good 10 to 15 minutes could have easily being trimmed out to enhance its impact. But overall, a well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and they definitely keep you engaged. The BGM is good at the start and it keeps getting better as the film progresses. The melancholic note on which the film ends is beautifully christened with a wonderfully poignant BGM. The cinematography is good but could have been a little better. Director Mong-Hong Chung does a pretty hood job. The sensitivity which he maintains while handling a delicate topic is appreciable.
The performances are pretty good and they rely on the shoulders of the mother and daughter duo. Gingle Wang as Xiao Jing does a commendable job here. The transition to her character required that level of maturity and she does a fantastic job. Alyssa Chia as Pin-wen internalizes all the pain and loneliness pretty well. She does maintain a firm grip to her character that after a point you start feeling for her. Overall, a good job done.
The Falls(a metaphor for life) is beautifully poignant and heartfelt. Available on Netflix.