A 30ish man tries to help his mentally ill father in “Fear of Falling,” the less-than-gripping feature debut of Polish director Bartosz Konopka (“Rabbit a la Berlin,” a docu short-subject Oscar nominee.) Like compatriot helmer Marek Lechki’s “Erratum,” “Fear” offers the hope that it’s never too late to repair broken relationships, but lacks that pic’s poignant performances and convincingly detailed relationships. Nevertheless, “Falling” could land at select festivals and small European distribs as part of sales agent Wide Management’s Eye on Films package, which comes with a Media subsidy for exhibition.After receiving a call from the psychiatric hospital in his provincial hometown, TV newsman Tomasz (Marcin Doroncinski, cold) dutifully drives 300 kilometers from Warsaw to visit his long-estranged father (Krzysztof Stroinski, effectively disturbed). At first he tries to sell the older man’s apartment out from under him, but later, overwhelmed by guilt and memories of happier times, he springs him from the locked ward for some male bonding in the mountains. Meanwhile, Tomasz’s increasingly erratic behavior doesn’t sit well with his pregnant wife (Madalena Poplawska, merely decorative) or his employers. Clean tech package is scaled to the smallscreen.
A Studio Munka Polish Filmmakers Assn. production in cooperation with Canal Plus Polska, with support from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Polish Film Institute. (International sales: Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Jacek Bromski. Executive producers, Dariusz Gajewski, Ewa Jastrzebska. Directed by Bartosz Konopka. Screenplay, Piotr Borkowski, Konopka.
Camera (color), Piotr Niemyjski; editor, Jaroslaw Barzan; music, Maciej Cieslak; production designer, Elwira Pluta; costume designer, Katarzyna Lewinska. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 18, 2011. Running time: 87 MIN.
Krzysztof Stroinski, Marcin Doroncinski, Dorota Kolak, Madalena Poplawska.