Kino on Video presents
"It's probably his fault that I even graduated...and finally understood why we don't get swept right off the surface of the earth."- Nina (Nina Proll)
Stars: Gabriella Hegedus, Birgit Minichmayr, Nina Proll
Other Stars: Kathrin Restarits, Ursula Strauss, Georg Friedrich, Irna Strnad
Director: Barbara Albert
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:25m:22s
Release Date: 2007-08-07
DVD ReviewMelodrama is melodrama, regardless of the language it's delivered in. Falling is flush with such emoting, tears, and joy, but this product of Austrian director Barbara Albert leaves us wanting for more in nearly every department. The film made its way to a choice few theaters back in the fall of 2006, and is finally available on DVD from Kino International.
After 14 years of being apart, a group of friends have reunited in their hometown to attend the funeral for an old teacher. This collection of ladies include the very pregnant Nina (Nina Proll), shy teacher Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr), Alex (Ursula Strauss), actress Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits), Nicole (Gabriela Hegedus), and her pre-teen daughter, Daphne (Irna Strnad). While their reunion initially centers on a death, they eventually seek to breathe new life into their own existences by stumbling onto a wedding, letting loose at a dance club, and revealing secrets that can only turn out to be liberating.
This import is flowing with potential, from a physically engaging main cast to an interesting look, but the director can never seem to put everything together and create a consistently entertaining piece. The result is more of a collection of individual set pieces than a coherent reunion film along the lines of The Big Chill. That similar-themed film, right down to a reunion that's initiated by a funeral, had it all: well-established relationships, realistic drama, and, most importantly, a sense of humor. Everything's drab here, with very little room left open for any laughs. Albert does impress with a series of random still shots that are accompanied by engaging songs, but, despite the cool technique, these scenes also detract from any story build-up.
A few secrets are revealed towards the end, but when all is said and done, the audience is left with a mostly empty feeling. Having invested a decent chunk of time in what appears like a tight-knit group of women turns out to be a waste, as we're never enticed to care about them, regardless of their specific issues. We get a glimpse of what their normal lives are like during the final 10 minutes or so, but there isn't enough back-story for us to know anyone that we see them encounter, break-up with, etc. Then, Albert goes way off base during the final scene, showing an unnecessary political discussion, touching on capitalism and the like. This just seems like preachy filler, and only adds to the frustration brought on by the weak script.
The aforementioned empty feeling can't be blamed on the actors, as this wonderful collection of female performers does their best to make each individual as memorable as possible. This makes it even more shameful that they aren't fleshed out more by the script. A bit of each lady's past is divulged here and there, but we simply need more in order to invest any sort of empathy in them. Adding a half hour to the too-brief running time might have been beneficial, but there really aren't enough positive signs to back up such a theory. Under the circumstances, this is worth checking out, but only as a showcase for talented, undiscovered actors.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation looks great, with sharp, detailed images throughout. A bright, vivid color scheme works in the transfer's favor as well, with solid black and contrast levels keeping things consistent whether we're watching an outdoor scene or following the story in a dance club. There's very little dirt and grain, as any print flaws are kept to a minimum.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track does its job nicely, delivering crisp, clear, German dialogue throughout the film. The sporadically-used music sounds good, as well, utilizing the surrounds whenever possible. There's also a decent amount of directional effects, and even a hint of bass.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
- Stills Gallery
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsStrong on acting, but extremely weak on plot, Barbara Albert's Falling hasn't generated much buzz domestically, or on the international circuit. It's also one of the longest 85-minute films you'll see, as things plod along at a languid pace. At least Kino got the DVD right, for the most part, as audio and video are great, yet it is lacking in extras.
Chuck Aliaga 2007-08-08