Fallen [Falling] (2006)

Director: Barbara Albert
Writer: Barbara Albert
Cast: Nina Proll, Birgit Minichmayr, Kathrin Resetarits, Ursula Strauss, Gabriela Hegedüs, Ina Strnad, Georg Friedrich, Darina Dujmic, Angelika Niedetzky
Seen on: 19.1.2021

At the funeral of their former high school teacher, Alex (Ursula Strauss), Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr), Nina (Nina Proll), Nicole (Gabriela Hegedüs) and Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits) meet each other again for the first time in years. Apart from Brigitte, they all moved away from their home town and haven’t been back in a long time. Caught in a wave of reminiscence, they are loath to part after the funeral is over and instead take to exploring the area again, accompanied by Nicole’s daughter Daphne (Ina Strnad). But the trip to the past isn’t always pleasant and their relationships aren’t without tension.

Fallen is a fantastic film that explores the complex relationships of these women, brought together by circumstances in the past and in the present, but no less meaningful for that. I really loved it.

The film poster showing Alex (Ursula Strauss), Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr), Nina (Nina Proll), Nicole (Gabriela Hegedüs) and Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits), all dressed in black with their arms spread wide, their hair blowing in the wind, at the edge of a hill.

Fallen has been on my watchlist for a while and I finally got round to it. In the meantime, the experience has been marred slightly by the fact that Proll turned out to be an antifeminist asshole, but fortunately she is not speaking for herself in the film, and I was able to ignore that fact.

And it really would have been a pity if I had skipped the film because of her. Say what you will, but she does an excellent job here – as do the other women in the cast. Most of them are very well known in Austria, with the exception of Hegedüs. It was maybe because of that, but I was particularly impressed with Hegedüs’ Nicole. She hits just the right notes of desperately wanting to be friends with the other women while also knowing that she doesn’t really fit in with them due to her social background. I found her really touching.

Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits), Nina (Nina Proll), Nicole (Gabriela Hegedüs), her daughter Daphne (Ina Strnad), Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr) and Alex (Ursula Strauss) standing in front of a party tent.

The script does its part, too, and gives them wonderful and complicated roles to play (with), ending on a positive note of solidarity and togetherness. It’s rare to find a film that affords its female characters so much range and personality, and gives them tension in their relationships without pitting them against each other, and it’s lovely.

The film should certainly be considered a modern classic of Austrian cinema, and I can only recommend that you watch it. You will not be disappointed.

Alex (Ursula Strauss) making out with Norbert (Georg Friedrich) in the bathroom.

Summarizing: Excellent film.

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