Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ebert gives Tarsem's The Fall a perfect score

Here's Ebert:

"The Fall" is so audacious that when Variety calls it a "vanity project," you can only admire the man vain enough to make it. It tells a simple story with vast romantic images so stunning I had to check twice, three times, to be sure the film actually claims to have absolutely no computer-generated imagery. None? What about the Labyrinth of Despair, with no exit? The intersecting walls of zig-zagging staircases? The man who emerges from the burning tree?


Either you are drawn into the world of this movie or you are not. It is preposterous, of course, but I vote with Werner Herzog, who says if we do not find new images, we will perish. Here a line of bowmen shoot hundreds of arrows into the air. So many of them fall into the back of the escaped slave that he falls backward and the weight of his body is supported by them, as on a bed of nails with dozens of foot-long arrows. There is scene of the monkey Otis chasing a butterfly through impossible architecture.

Read the whole review.

And here's another article by Ebert full of fascinating information about the movie:
Now what about those miraculous locations? I asked him. No special effects? What about the zig-zagging interlocking black and white staircases reaching down into the earth?

"Its true. Its Ripley’s. What people think is not true in the film is true. The steps that go down, it's a reservoir that has been there for 500 or 600 years. It's used for seeing how low the water level is, to determine how to tax people. If the water level is so high, they charge so much tax from the farmers. The problem is most of the time you never see those steps; they’re underwater. Somebody showed me these steps and said they went really way down. And I said, well, has anybody seen that?

"They said, most Indians think they look cheap. But in fact they look like an inspiration by Escher. So labyrinthine and mad. The problem is, when you see the wide shot, you realize they're not what I’m making them out to be. What matters is how I’m framing it. If you see the wider shots, there are about 2,000 Indians on trees watching and wondering why we’re shooting in a really crappy well. But since I shot those steps, three Hindi movies have gone and shot there because they figure, if its good enough for him, it must be beautiful."


And as for the Blue City...

"Jodhpur, the blue city, is a Brahmin city where you’re only supposed to paint your house blue. I made a contract with the city; we would give them free paint. We knew legally they could only choose blue. So they painted their houses blue and it looked more vibrant than it ever had before."

Read the rest.

Here's the movie's trailer:

Here's The Fall's official site, where I found this desktop wallpaper: