Directed by Tarsem Singh, The Fall was a pet project of his—developed for over 17 years, with film footage gathered in 18 different countries and 26 locations around the world; one could easily say The Fall is a film of epic proportions.
Essentially the story is about a movie stuntman, Roy Walker and a little girl, Alexandria, who are both recovering from a fall in a secluded little hospital, set in the 1920s, California. They meet by chance, and as Roy asks Alexandria if she knows where her name comes from, he embarks on a story about a leader from the distant past, Alexander the Great.
They form a special bond as Roy progresses with his heroic tale (five men on a mission to destroy the evil ruler Odius), which is imagined through the eyes of Alexandria; characters are picked up from the hospital environment and replaced into a richly colorful fantasy world of breathtaking, dalí-esque desert landscapes (there is a direct reference to Dalí’s work) and archaic, monumental cities (among them Jodhpur, the ‘Blue city’). The fantasy sequences are creative and spontaneous, changing direction on the spur of the moment through Alexandria’s observant remarks and ideas, reflecting the way she perceive’s the world.
What’s remarkable about The Fall is Singh’s vision, in that it’s comprised of real locations only slightly touched up by visual effects (to remove anachronisms), rather than created by them. For instance, before shooting in the Blue city, the film crew distributed free buckets of blue paint for the citizens, giving them a chance to refresh the layer of paint on their houses—as a result, the city appears more vividly blue. The performances of the lead actors spring from a similarly organic approach: I found Catinca’s performance as Alexandria especially wonderful, in her effortless and natural acting style; it’s clear the pair share a genuine connection off-screen as well.
To wrap up this article, here is the opening sequence to get a feel for the spectacular cinematography in The Fall: