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Falling From Earth

An intermittently engaging tone poem about the surreality of life in wartime Beirut, "Falling From Earth" offers four independent chapters (set in 2008, 1990, 1982 and 1975) that don't add up to a greater narrative whole.

With:
With: Rafik Ali Ahmad, Carmen Lebbos, Ammar Shalak, Yamen Sukkarieh, Naya Salemeh.

An intermittently engaging tone poem about the surreality of life in wartime Beirut, “Falling From Earth” offers four independent chapters (set in 2008, 1990, 1982 and 1975) that don’t add up to a greater narrative whole. Debuting helmer Chadi Zeneddine, a Ph.D candidate in cinema studies at the Sorbonne, seems over-influenced by unconventional classics such as Jean Cocteau’s “The Blood of a Poet,” though he does manage to create some interesting visual textures with montages that incorporate faux homemovies and surveillance footage. Low-budget experimental item will have limited appeal outsidefests.

Contempo section framing the other segments features an elderly man (renowned theater actor Rafik Ali Ahmad) living in a bombed-out building. He collects photos of happy people from the rubbish surrounding him, though it’s unclear whether subsequent episodes illustrate the lives of those pictured. Most of the 1975 section unfolds in a large public restroom where a male character hides and adds to the graffiti-filled walls. In the 1982 seg, a beautiful woman (Carmen Lebbos) longs for a missing lover, while the 1990 episode depicts a dysfunctional family. Tech credits are adequate, with lensing and editing the standouts.

Falling From Earth

Lebanon - France

Production: An Artwist (Lebanon)/Neon (France) production, in association with Promenades Films, Wizz Prods. (International sales: Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Chadi Zeneddine, Antonin Dedet. Directed, written by Chadi Zeneddine.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W), Johnny Abi-Fares; editor, Gladys Jou Jou; music, Polerik Rouviere; production designer, Petra Abousleiman; sound (DTS stereo), Xavier Marsais. Reviewed at Dubai Film Festival (competing), Dec. 13, 2007. Original title: Wa-ala el-ard el-Sama'a. Arabic, French dialogue. Running time: 70 MIN.

With: With: Rafik Ali Ahmad, Carmen Lebbos, Ammar Shalak, Yamen Sukkarieh, Naya Salemeh.

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