Writer-director Carol Morley's docu-drama 'Dreams Of A Life' was nominated for a Grierson Award for Best Documentary at the 2011 BFI London Film Festival. Her follow-up 'The Falling' had its world premiere at this year's London Film Festival, sharing a similar hypnotism to its contemporary predecessor but transporting its story to the setting of an English girls school in the late sixties.
Lydia (Maisie Williams, better known as Arya Stark from 'Game Of Thrones') and Abby (a decidly assured performance from newcomer Florence Pugh) are near inseparable, a relationship somewhat reminiscent of the central duo in Peter Jackson's 'Heavenly Creatures'. Abby provides an outlet for Lydia that her family doesn't quite offer - her brother's primary concern seemingly to bed his sibling's classmates, while their agoraphobic mother appears entirely apathetic about her daughter's wellbeing.
When tragedy strikes at the school, grief becomes expressed in angst, confusion and rebelling - with a mysterious fainting epidemic also afflicting the pupils. There's a certain playful absudism attributed to the whole situation, which shifts into something altogether more disturbing as the film progresses - a transition in tone handled superbly by Morley, who also penned the screenplay.
The visually-led, autumnal feel of the film driven by the vivid cinematography of Agnes Godard lends to the sense of delirium, as do the melodic yet off-kilter musical motifs of Everything But The Girl's Tracey Thorn. Morley has emboldened her reputation with 'The Falling' - feverish and mystical, if perhaps a tad daft, but always mesmerising.
'The Falling' is showing at this year's BFI London Film Festival. Find times and how to purchase tickets (even for sold out screenings) at bfi.org.uk/lff.