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Falling Into Place

A German lady and a Scottish man live out their memories on the streets of London, in this highly accomplished German film - from the 32nd edition of Raindance

The film opens up in Skye, where a young German lady Kira (Aylin Tezel, incidentally the director of the film) bumps into Scottish-born Ian (Chris Fulton) at a local pub. Their eyes meet, and the chemistry is infectious. He asks her if she is a “runaway”, sensing that she is a kindred spirit, and tells her he’s fancied her since the start of the evening. Kira is hesitant: Ian reminds her of his ex, and she’s startled to hear he’s already taken. But she’s attracted to his innate danger, sensing that there’s a fragile side to him that remains unblemished even from a family scarred by a heritage of mental health illness.

Falling Into Place avoids the most everyday clichés to demonstrate a love story based on guilt and unfulfilled desire. The audience knows more about these characters than they do, which might explain why they spend so much of the film apart. When Kira returns to London, she catches up with her Irish ex-boyfriend, hoping to rekindle the memories they shared. She’s open and honest in all the ways Ian – a struggling musician desperate to catch a break – is not. His seclusion likely stems from his father’s ill health – not forgetting his sister, who is situated in a hospital to cure her manic depression. They find other loves, but none of their partners seem to reignite the spark they enjoyed on that cold night in Skye. The question remains: Is it better to confine love to memory, or should you break free from the shackles of convention, and “take a risk”?

So, what seems a modest little story at first turns into something more ambitious and exquisitely well realised. It calls to mind Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms in the way that the dissertation at hand is the love that makes the mighties impact is not necessarily the love you need to spend the rest of your life with. Under Ian’s influence, Kira blossoms as an artist, piecing together a body of work that speaks of adventure, turmoil, grief and eccentricity. She takes a position as a set designer, channelling her grief to create columns that are soaked with authenticity and individuality. Ian, unbenowst to her living in London, struggles to bring his reality into his music, partially because it is so painful, but mostly because he doesn’t have the encouragement from his partner. Desperate for some closure, he walks into an art gallery, only to see himself reflected in the paintings around him – and he is struck by the memories he left behind almost a decade earlier.

It’s an accomplished work from Tezel, who delivers both as an actor and, more crucially, as a director. Fittingly, she has the knack of showing the love without pushing it down the viewer’s throat: a whimsical race through the Scottish hills says more about their kinship than a five minute dialogue could possibly convey. What’s more, Tezel doesn’t discriminate on her character, because Kira’s relationship with her parents is as spiky as Ian’s. She’s also brave to embark in a sex scene that shows her desolation in a city that’s brimming with endless possibility.

If that’s her rawest moment, then Fulton’s comes later in the film when Ian comes face to face with a sibling he neglected to focus on his music career. Without asking for absolution, he brings her a box of jellies, reminding them of the sweets they shared together as children. Like much of the film, the power stems from the little gestures humans share on a day to day basis, whether it’s in the countryside or the urban city streets.

Falling Into Place premiered at the First Feature Competition of the 27th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, when this piece was originally written. The UK premieres takes place at the 32nd edition of Raindance, which is held in London between June 19th and 28th.

By Eoghan Lyng - 11-11-2023

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