Viggo Mortensen completes with 'Falling' the most anarchic, enraged and even great debut

Viggo Mortensen completes with 'Falling' the most anarchic, enraged and even great debut

The actor, who receives the Donostia Award for an entire career marked in equal parts by 'The Lord of the Rings' and his fervor for independent cinema, debuts as an uncategorized director

Viggo Mortensen completes with 'Falling' the most anarchic, enraged and even great debut

Hope is not the same as expected. Obvious. That Viggo Mortensen, the last Donostia Award, decides to be a film director is, up to a point, to be expected. After all, we are in front of the most atypical star (that is, whether he likes it or not) that treads Madrid, Hollywood and the wide world, including Middle Earth. That a free verse poet, abstract painter, experimental musician, analog photographer, polyglot traveler, fan of San Lorenzo de Almagro, rarities editor, heartbroken political activist and even methodical actor; that someone who is all that, we said, the vocation of directing a film would have to happen. Even if it was late (he will be 62 soon). What's more, given how he is, it had to be late. And of all the above, therefore, there is no other than the hope that 'Falling', as his film is called, was anything but what is commonly understood as expected.

' Falling ' is, by definition, unclassifiable. Chaotic, anarchic, violent and at times as close to classical melodrama as it is far from any also classical narration structured in three acts. It is a film designed to disconcert from a time by force disconcerting. It's Viggo Mortensen.

The film tells of the industries and adventures of a lifelong American Midwest Canadian family modeled after 'The Corrections' . In the center, the relationship of a misogynistic, brutal, homophobic, macho father and very close to dementia, and a liberal, conciliatory, gay son with a good sense one step away from simple madness. The first is a disproportionately cool Lance Henriksen and the second, Mortensen himself. The story goes back and forth in a spiral of memories and emotions that does not attend to any more logic than its own and necessary folly. Far from 'Falling' the standard loading of a timeline dotted with explanatory 'flash-backs'.

At times, the sensation is a whirlpool that absorbs the narration as if it were the very Maelström. At times, everything obeys a rather more pedestrian melodramatic Sunday after-dinner code. And it is there, in the absence of norms, in its unprejudiced and happy renunciation of codes (from the supposedly refined to the most obviously vulgar, everything fits), where the film ends up finding a strange accommodation as peculiar as it is seductive. Without giving up, of course, the healthy exercise of bothering. That is what it is. Nothing is alien to a film that by not avoiding does not miss the occasion for an eschatological joke with David Cronenberg himself in the role of proctologist.

As soon as the son is born, not necessarily desired, the father apologizes for bringing him into the world. And it's that cursed-looking welcome that sets the tone. It is about investigating the bond that, despite everything and against everything, unites a father and a son. Henriksen embodies the patriarchal figure that makes abuse his way of being in the world, of relating, of, and this is what counts, even of loving. Of loving badly, but loving at the end of the day. His brutality is his defense and his condemnation. When senile dementia hits him, then all moral judgment is suspended. The responsibility is diluted in the most obvious disease.

' Falling ' avoids recipes. His objective is not so much the particular character of the father as the much more abstract and elusive figure of the patriarchy, of the father as an institution and a hindrance. ' Falling ' makes each of its characters' doubts its own and turns them into narrative and cinematographic matter itself. ' Falling ' hides the possibility of a moral in each of the nooks and crannies of a story that cannot be summarized or, if necessary, told. ' Falling ' is the film of a rookie who has always refused, regardless of occupation or trade, to stop being a rookie.

The result is a perfectly vivid movie that is mislabeled. It is a film built on the hope of overcoming the fear of being wrong; raised on the fear of not fulfilling the expected. And there, in the impossible balance, an anomalous and happy film. And deeply disturbing.

Spinoza said that there is no hope without fear, nor fear without hope. After all, these two feelings are the most powerful mechanism of the worst slavery, which is self-imposed slavery. For fear to take effect it must be accompanied by hope; and for hope to make sense it must carry with it the fear of losing it. Mortensen knows. And he knows it not so much as a politician but as an artist, hopeful and afraid, determined to flee from everything expected. A deserved Donostia Award, without a doubt.

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