The essay The Open Work (Umberto Eco, 1976) establishes a correlation between quantum physics and poetry. Eco writes the lines between the free radicals of gas and the open quality of poetry; when energy is added, molecules move more freely, when molecules move, there is space between them. The transition is from stable matter to less stable matter. Somewhere on the way from solids via liquids to gas, Eco sees the potential for a metaphor: there is an opening for poetry. Poetry may be found in the space between molecules that are bound together electrically, but not forced together.
The connection between the two male lovers in the film Freefall (Freier Fall, 2013) isn’t forced. Rather, the opposite: they try to resist each otherbut givein to the force of feelings. There is freedom at play and the actors perform so well, I was lost in the illusion of this film. I forced myself to focus on the fiction: is the manuscript well written? Is the production good?
Dialogue may be simple and the story straight, but there is a complexity that seems improbable: the prospect of leaving a pregnant wife and potentially happy, semi-bourgeois life behind, in order to be true to the essence of being. The hurt wife attacks, wanting to know how the menmake love. But Freefall is not bothered bythe banal technicalities of love.
In spite of these short, dramatic aspects, the external drama doesn’t dominate Freefall. The plot is pared back, on the verge of non-existence, but to me that is the slight anarchistic aspect that created a bridge between theme and form, content and wrapping. The freedom of Freefall is also in its form.
Reykjavik International Film Festival’s New Visions Program consisted of a couple of handfuls of films. And the hands — those love-longing hands of two German cops, those bodies of thirsty skin — grasped me and impressed me. Judging from RIFF’s New Vision Program, there is a fondness for open ends. In a world where nobody knows the outcome of economics, there seems to be an inflation of plots where the end offers no answer. For this viewer, it sometimes offered a performed openness that could feel like ornaments not carrying structures.
But then there is Freefall. In a time where all tales are told — where all tales are told in inverse types, bold types — the audience in the theatre must be won over by new means. New means — meaning every individual. Freefall captures the core of love. It portrays a film in which all external stuff is ripped; the technicalities, definitions, words, names, conventions and expectations deleted. Hence, filmic technicalities are also simple. I thought it had to be optically basic.
It is a story about falling in love spontaneously, at first glance. But it not so much about the optics, as it is about energies and movement. Bodies were the script, the language printed on legs running, and twinkles of the eyes, in the way the bodies meet and don’t meet.
Edited by Tara Judah
© FIPRESCI 2013