New reviews – ‘The Fall’ and others

A little late in updating my reviews this week. It’s not just SIFF – I spent the last few days moving – everything – and then spending a day sorting through new Internet connections. Back on line now.

Tarsem Singh’s second feature, The Fall, has been getting critically pummeled. I’m not sure why: I was utterly enchanted by the simplicity and innocence of the film. I reviewed the film in the Seattle P-I this week (following its appearance at the Seattle International Film Festival):


It’s like a Terry Gilliam fantasy directed by Zhang Yimou and reimagined by a child, with the fears and fantasies that mingle through the film becoming almost naively direct reflections of their respective emotional lives.

The storybook images of stunning landscapes and lavish settings are a visual feast (Tarsem shot the fantasy scenes piecemeal all over the world over the course of four years) and the narrative innocence of wild turns and impossible feats (like traveling from China to New York to Paris on horseback in what seems like a day) is a charge.

But what’s so enchanting is the film’s celebration of the way stories, once told, take on a life of their own within the hearts and imaginations of those who hear them, read them, see them. Or is that something I’ve brought to his fantasy?

Read the complete review here.

Also reviewed in the P-I this week: Before the Rains, a Merchant-Ivory production directed by Santosh Sivan, and Hong Sang-soo’s Woman on the Beach:

South Korean director Hong Sang-soo has made a career of exploring emotionally arrested men and tolerant women in dryly satirical studies of frustrated expectations. In “Woman on the Beach” he creates complex and conflicted characters and he engages them with a compassion and maturity.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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