The Fall’s Struggle for Distribution


There’s a new movie coming out with Eiko Ishioka’s costume design in it! The film is directed by Tarsem, who previously collaborated with Ishioka on The Cell. Events take place in a 1915 hospital, where a bedridden patient befriends a little girl with a broken arm and offers to tell her an adventure story about five men – an Indian adventurer, an African ex-slave, a masked bandit, an Italian bombmaker, and Charles Darwin (what? yes!). The girl is enthralled by the exotic tale, and waits eagerly for every new chapter. But the storyteller, a broken man emotionally and physically, has a dark motive for telling the tale: he wants her to steal something at the hospital in exchange for the story’s conclusion. Here is the trailer:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="400" height="330" wmode="transparent" /]

I did a quick Google search on when the film is coming out: nothing. I did a search for it on IMDB, and learned that it was completed in 2006. Hmm. That’s when I started digging into the YouTube comments. One guy writes that he saw it at a private screening in LA a week ago, and that they asked the audience to critique for the purpose of determining whether it will go on the big screen or on DVD. Another person writes that they have not yet found a distributor. And then there is this comment by Khan Higou:

I spent a year working on post-production of this movie (in Paris); I know every single image of this feature and believe me, it IS beautiful for sure. And you Americans are not lucky about this independent movie (self-produced, directed, even self-distributed, no big studio logo in front of this trailer, did you notice…) ’cause I heard it has been rated R in the US; a way to punish Tarsem everybody thinks here ’cause the movie is not that violent

Further research turned up one review that indicates that the film has not been sold for distribution due to scathing reviews at the Toronto Film Fetival. The reviewer writes that Zoe Bell (Death Proof) was the president of the jury that year. “(She was) seated two seats away from me quite enjoyed at least from what I could get from her reactions to the film while it was being shown.” Maybe she didn’t like it so much after all.

Maybe the ending is a little predictable, but the visuals look stunning! I want to see this – and I want to love it. Thanks to Paul Komoda for the tip.

Update: Obviously I’m not very good with The Google! Looks like it’s finally coming out May 9th. Thanks, Rachel!

18 Responses to “The Fall’s Struggle for Distribution”

  1. rachel Says:

    if you go to apple trailers on, the trailer for “the fall” is now up and running, and apparently hitting theaters may 9th.

    i’m excited! =)

  2. Tequila Says:

    Well look at the eye candy…

    The Cell lacked a lot story wise but it gets an A for effort. Seems unfair to damn such visual treats when it’s clear they not the story are the stars of the show. The Fall looks to be in the same sort of league and given the doom and gloom of last years films…I WANT to see something like this. That and the Tintin film in production.

  3. Jerem Morrow Says:

    I KNOW RIGHT!?!?!

  4. Paul Komoda Says:

    I personally enjoyed The Cell, and though almost every imaginative set-piece was “appropriated” from an identifiable artistic source, most notably Damien Hirst*, Odd Nerdrum, and The Bros. Quay( filtered through Floria Sigisimondi’s Marilyn Manson vids, Romanek’s Closer vid for NIN, perhaps)…the costuming by Eiko still stands out as being singularly spectacular.
    For what it’s worth, the trailer for The Fall looks more intrigueing, by far, than most of the tedious Hollywood garbage that too many people seem to be losing bowel control over these days.

    *The divided sections of horse still wet and respiring between the glass encasements almost made me want to cheer. I just have a thing for anatomies sectioned off like Japanese fish cake, what can I say?

  5. joshua Says:

    yeah. i think yr all forgetting how terrible of a film ‘the cell’ was. and paul – don’t forget the huge amount of matthew barney that was ripped off in that film. especially the costume design. i’m sorry, i just can’t overlook such blatant creative theft – there wasn’t a single original idea in any of the visuals of the cell. heck, i’m surprised there weren’t any lawsuits. it’s rare that i walk out of a film afterwards, furious.

  6. Nadya Says:

    Joshua, while there’s no denying that The Cell is full of appropriation, I still enjoyed it for what it was – a great bit of not-so-original eye candy, but still a treat! I agree that there are similarities between Matthew Blarney and Eiko Ishioka, but I think that Ishioka is a very strong designer in her own right. I saw a book of her costume sketches and designs for stage and she’s been incorporating many elements seen in The Cell into her costume work for many years. She’s been around for a long time (she turns 70 next year!) and I don’t know whether she borrowed from Barney or not, but she does have a signature style that’s been with her for decades, one that I always recognize and enjoy. In fact I started writing this blog post all about her, and then got sidetracked by the story of The Fall. Of course, I could be wrong. My boyfriend is a costume designer who really knows his shit and he’s not a fan of Ishioka at all.

  7. Mer Says:

    Bwaaaahaha. You said Matthew Blarney.

  8. Nadya Says:

    *hangs head in shame*

  9. Io Says:

    Ah man, this film looks sooooooooo up my alley (and God, I can watch The Cell ten times over for the visuals and costumes alone). I really hope it finds a distributor, for I also want to love it.

  10. joshua Says:

    i won’t deny that there’s talent involved, and my bite is far worse than my bark. but i did leave the cinema fuming at the flagrant thievery on display. it would be one thing if the director in question appropriated ideas – put some sort of new spin on them – but this was just blatant copying. clearly, he didn’t mean harm, and i don’t think he ever marketed the ideas as originals. i’m just saying, if i want to watch something that looks like the brothers quay, damien hirst, or matthew barney – i’d rather go to the sources themselves.
    heck, don’t even get me started on ‘dark city’s shameless rip of jeunet & caro.

    i just hate seeing originality, or counterculture re-appropriated by the mainstream. all the originals mentioned here have a real depth that their mainstream counterparts sorely lack – and it just sucks to see something you care about turned into something so completely soulless.

  11. Nadya Says:

    Joshua: having read the above, I have one bit of friendly advice for you: never, ever, ever watch the film Equilibrium! For as long as you live. It will make you SO mad.

    The originals deserve infinitely more admiration and respect of course, but try I enjoy things that are inspired by/copied from the original just as much, if I’m watching something purely for the purpose of satisfying a craving for a certain type of aesthetic. Knowing the source is definitely important and makes it kind of funny to watch the derivative work. It can be unfair and even painful to watch, like that stupid Black Parade video by that stupid band. I understand completely what you mean, in the end. I think maybe I try to push those feelings about the unfairness of it to the back of my head and try to squeeze as much enjoyment out of everything I see as possible. Sometimes it’s possible, sometimes not.

  12. Tequila Says:

    With film…all bets are off! Haha.

    Originality in Film doesn’t really exist. Not the way it’ seen in other creative fields anyhow. You can’t make a film alone really. Other creative fields allow it but not film. Even legit theater can have one man shows…

    Collaboration is key to film and even the most ardent auteur and master set designer cull & retool the work of others. At times it is exploitative and even borders on what some see as plagiarism…but it’s also a chase to be the first to bring something from one field of art into a new one…then from one genre to another and finally within the genre itself. The funny thing with film though is that it’s proven more potent to go full circle. You’ll have say a film from the 60’s use ideas and styles from the 30’s that influence how people may dress in its own era or in future ones. (Like the craze surrounding 1967’s Bonnie & Clyde) Look at Film Noir which borrowed from German expressionism then later became its own genre and style… then in something only Hollywood can pull off so smoothly…spawned its own sub genre of neo-noir that achieves a masterpiece like Chinatown. Yes painting, writing, and photography have similar claims but film (and music really) gets away with it much better and is far more forgiving to those who try. Tarantino being a prime example…here you have a guy that like a DJ can remix assorted styles and ideas and come out with something that feels both original and heavily familiar.

    Alex Proyas did the same thing with The Crow and Dark City…the bitching was loud but both films introduced their aesthetics and styles to people who’d never seen something like that before. Unfortunately we all saw what happened with the many abysmal Crow sequels, Tarantino wannabes, and just plain awful adaptations of original and solid work.

    Yet film needs that almost arrogant appropriation of others ideas to develop. Star Wars was ripped off endlessly but helped improve visual effects aesthetics across the board, Alien has been ripped off so much that it’s become its own genre but effectively allowed everything from tabletop games to video games to evolve past their early design limitations. Both those properties owe much of their “originality” to films and artists that came before them (Star Wars borrowed from Kurosawa…who borrowed from Shakespeare, who borrowed from well…History…while Alien took many of its core ideas from Horror films of old and pretty openly from another wonderful filmmaker already cited in this blog before…) This doesn’t even tap into visual styles who’s origins are pieced together from assorted backgrounds to create something new for film as a whole. Saving Private Ryan for example got praise for its visual look and filmmaking style yet it borrowed heavily from the Russian film Come And See…but Saving Private Ryan become the benchmark on how to present war across multiple genres and art forms (video games alone took it like a bible of visual and audio design.)

    So what’s really the core of originality…an idea itself or the execution of that idea? Vampire: The Masquerade learned the hard way that their “original” ideas weren’t that original once they were plastered on screen in everything from Blade and Underworld to the little remembered Kindred: The Embraced (though to be fair Kindred is technically the only official adaptation of the RPG outside of the well executed PC games.) However it was so easy to see where the RPG took its core ideas that it became hard for it to argue its claims when as one put it “It’s basically a mob/gangland story with vampires… “

    Blatant Copying in Film is pretty much the nature of the beast…it’s what’s formed the language of film and will continue to do so. The practice sets the standards that each new generation has to keep up or improve on…or ignore completely and learn to see everything in a new way. That’s the other side of the coin though isn’t it? For every original like John Ford you have dozens of forgotten filmmakers who also helped set up the language others took often times not changing the core of it as simply bringing it into the modern era with new tools.

    /end insomnia fueled long winded sillyness…

  13. Paul Komoda Says:

    Very well articulated, Tequila. Film, for better or worse, seems to have become the distillation testbed for popular culture, due to it’s aggressive ubiquity.
    I would, however, like to see more of the artists who have provided “inspiration” for filmakers either, as in the case of Giger, have direct involvement with the production, or at the very least, full acknowledgement…and healthy compensation for use of their ideas.

    My friend Ben once brought up the notion of an imagined website that would trace the branching influence of any given single artist/creator of any field, on popular culture. From the origin point, the “family tree” would divide and sub-divide until things would mutate into distinct new categories which would, in turn, bristle off to form their own lines of bastard progeny.

    It would throw the net out a bit wider to include the affects on different media.
    An over-simplified example would be Joel Peter Witkin’s photography influencing the look of the film, Jacob’s Ladder which later influenced the video game, Silent Hill,etc.

    Meme fractals for everybody.

  14. David Forbes Says:

    I saw the preview for this awhile back (thanks, Jerem) and was actually pretty impressed. I thought that visuals in The Cell, while impressive (appropriated or no), were so far removed from the cruddy crime procedural that constituted the rest of the film that it ended up jarringly bad.

    I’m more optimistic about The Fall because the epic fable/shattered people in hospital seems to be a more natural place for the visuals to run wild and still mesh will with the story. But I guess I won’t know until May 9.

    P.S. – though I do have to admit the lineup of the five men sounds gloriously like something a drunken roleplaying group would devise: “You know what this adventuring group needs? Charles-fucking-Darwin, that’s who!”

  15. Lady Katrin Arcane Says:

    I have been waiting with the proverbual baited breath for this film to be released ever since I first heard it was fininshed well over a year ago!! Tarsem created visuals in THE CELL unlike any that had ever been put on the screen before! And I dont just mean the storyline and the shocking ones…but the exquiste, flawless perfection of the art direction, costumes and most of all, the cinematography!! It was breath-taking, utterly brillaint…a true Masterpiece! I was enthralled by the film when I saw it in the theatre at a Directors Guild screeening(ther print was perfect!!) and have been enamored of it ever since. I’ve veiwed it well over a dozen times!!

    Now, finally…at LONG last…another of his films arrives soon! To say that I cannot wait is an understatement! However the story itself may work out, I cannot say, but hope for the best! But VISUALLY…I know it shall be ANOTHER Masterpiece! BRAVOS well in advance! This shall be my treat theatrically of the Spring!

    I shall dress in my finest fetish latex drag to see in in Los Angeles!

    It will be more than worth the very long wait I’m sure! Indeed !!

    Lady Katrina Arcane…photographer, writer, transvestite model.

  16. V. Blame Says:

    Saw The Fall last night here in L.A. Frickin’ loved it. Holy poop. All the visual flair of The Cell, with some Baraka thrown in for good measure. Solid, capable performances. The best child acting I can remember ever having seen. And I, for one, was touched by the story.

    Then I read the reviews online. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in film criticism as a whole. I felt like 75% of the critics must have watched a different cut of the film than I had.

  17. Mer Says:

    Lady Katrin, I doubt you’ll ever read this, but… I think you might want to expand your cinematic horizons a little bit. :)

  18. JR Says:

    I (a rather conservative American) saw this for the first time when the wonderful bringer-of-at-least-some-beautiful-films-to-my-small-town, Netflix, had it for instant streaming. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this was rated R either. The violence in the epic scenes is NOTHING in comparison to that in other movies that earned a PG-13 rating (Pirates of the Caribbean, the Matrix…heck, even Mulan is pretty darn violent, and that earned a G or PG rating!). The only thing that I can figure is that the ratings board didn’t approve of Roy’s suicidal bent.

    MPAA ratings aside, I love this film! Is it perfect? No, but it is an engaging, visually beautiful, emotional, and FUN film. I like a formulaic rom-com as much as the next American, but I rank this film in my “beautiful” films category–beautiful not just for the visuals, but also for the story. (Others in this category include Life is Beautiful and The Painted Veil.)