by Mark Wilshin
After her acclaimed debut documentary Dreams Of A Life, Carol Morley makes an awkward move to her first feature, The Falling – an almost giallo genre piece in female hysteria. Seething with the schoolgirl lesbianism of Mädchen In Uniform, the adolescent rebellion of If… and the menstrual awakening of Carrie, the film evokes a phenomenon of collective behaviour as girls across fall prey to the falling sickness. Are they faking it? Is it peer pressure? Or is there something more occult going on? But as they embrace the blackout of each “little death” with orgiastic ecstasy, it’s like a wave of blossoming sexuality made public, as feminine fragility is turned into a weapon. Despite solid performances from Maisie Williams and Maxine Peake, its attempts to scandalise fall short. And seemingly unsure of its time, place or even its intentions, Carol Morley’s The Falling falls sadly flat. It’s almost identical to the opening sequence of Ozon’s The New Girlfriend and such a hackneyed idea that Ozon at least had the good sense to rattle it off before the film even begins.
The Falling is showing on Oct 11th, 13th & 19th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival