Talented Austrian director Barbara Albert knocks one off the rim with her third feature, “Falling,” a well-played, cleanly shot but spectacularly empty tale of five female schoolmates reunited at a funeral for a teacher. Dawdling script has none of the rigor and metaphysical depths of her previous “Northern Skirts” and “Free Radicals,” and makes no case for spending time with such uninteresting characters, sans any apotheosis. Given Albert’s rep, film will tour fests, but commercially it’s downhill for “Falling.”
Brought together again in their small hometown after 14 years are unemployed and heavily pregnant Nina (singer-thesp Nina Proll), introverted teacher Brigitte (Birgit Minichmayr), job-center employee Alex (Ursula Strauss), German-based actress Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits) and sad-faced Nicole (newcomer Gabriela Hegedus), who hooks up with her young daughter, Daphne (Irna Strnad), while on parole from prison. Quintet of early-thirtysomethings hangs out for 24 hours, with minor revelations (two had affairs with the married teacher), some tears and hugging, and woolly references to how they’ve lost their political values. The natural Proll and elegant Strauss steal the acting honors, but dramatically this is thin soup.