Louisa (Julie Webb), an independent filmmaker, is having a hard time getting her movie made. Other filmmakers in her neck of the Pacific Northwest think her ideas aren’t viable. Dejected, she meets struggling pianist Luke (Patrick D. Green), who is also experiencing a creative crisis and they embark on an affair. Meanwhile, Sylvia (Maria Allred), a painter with no apparent connection to Louisa, begins an affair with Michael (Benjamin Farmer), an architect whose marriage is on the rocks.
The two storylines don’t seem to have a lot in common or connect in any way, but that changes near the end of the film. Meanwhile, there are a lot of short, slightly disjointed scenes and a soundtrack that would be at home in a psychological thriller or horror film. This is neither one of those but is instead a kind of offbeat romance/erotic character study that delves into the darker reaches of life. Sylvia and Michael’s affair has a distinct BDSM edge to it, and infidelity runs rampant throughout. Theirs are the kind of abrupt, tortured, barely decipherable relationships that French New Wave directors of several generations ago emblazoned on film. Like those often tragic stories of yesteryear, we get the distinct feeling that neither of these two affairs are going to have a happy ending, and we’re not disappointed.
“…we get the distinct feeling that neither of these two affairs are going to have a happy ending…”
What becomes apparent as the story progresses is that the more we learn about the characters, the less sure we can be of who they really are. They could be real, or perhaps mere figments of a filmmaker’s imagination. Ultimately, it becomes a film about making a film, and Louisa, who’s meant to be a stand-in for director Maria Allred, experiences the angst and heartbreak the director had in real life. At least that’s one theory. I watched this film twice, which I don’t usually do, and still came away unsure of exactly what it’s really about. That’s not necessarily bad. Plenty of great films don’t fit into a neat package with all loose ends tied up. But the problem here is that there isn’t enough nuance to stay interested throughout the film’s 70-minute running time. The pace is slow and it doesn’t take long for us to learn all we’re going to learn about the characters. By the film’s end, any element of surprise has dissipated and the conclusion feels like it took a little too long to reveal itself and had a little less to tell us than we’d like. As Louisa the frustrated filmmaker learned, finding the right story to tell is a formidable challenge.
The Texture of Falling (2018) Directed by Maria Allred. Written by Maria Allred. Starring Benjamin Farmer, Patrick D. Green, Maria Allred, Donny Persons, Damien Genard. The Texture of Falling screened at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
4 out of 10