Contemporary World Cinema | 2017 | 105 minutes
Stranger Says: While drying out in the Ukrainian countryside, an erstwhile musician has a chance encounter with a illusion-free woman. A very promising debut for director Marina Stepanska, where the emotional surges and deeply felt performances handily overcome the increasing predictability of the plot. (Somewhere, Anton Chekhov’s ears must be burning.) What lingers, ultimately, are the early scenes between the leads, which beautifully capture the thunderous, helpless rush of an instant connection. Every sideways glance crackles with potential energy.
SIFF Says:The heart of Marina Stepanska’s debut seems to be a simple post-revolution love story that takes place in a small Ukrainian town. However, the film deals with addiction, with love, with a rapidly changing country, and with getting back up again. Magnetic Anton (Andriy Seletskiy), a talented musician, has finished his treatment at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic. His overprotective grandfather (Oleg Mosijchuk), a self-made man raised in the Soviet era, picks Anton up at the clinic and they drive to their home in the countryside. Anton, however, is young and restless and wants to test his newfound willpower and finds himself at his old hangouts with all the familiar temptations; having grown up in this town, he thinks he knows them all. Fortunately for him, he meets Katya (Dasha Plahtiy), a young beauty about to leave the country with her German boyfriend. It was director Stepanska’s intention to make a film that would represent normal, everyday people who have to deal with their quickly changing world. The characters in FALLING live life in the moment, our two young leads people who happen to meet at a crucial time in their existence. As others try to break free of roots, they, like grandfather, try to hold on to the little that is familiar of new love and their own patch of earth.
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