DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

She Fell to Earth

A rock from outer space falls onto Earth and transforms into a young woman with the ability to read people's memories - children's fantasy premieres at the 53rd International Film Festival Rotterdam


Stones are animated and sentient. They contain a human being trapped inside each one of them. They set themselves free upon landing on our planet. And they make a lot of noise. The first 15 minutes or so of this adventure consists of a young woman with a piercing voice screaming from inside one of the tiny celestial bodies heading towards Earth (meteorites roughly the size of an orange). Once outside their unusual cocoons, these creatures assume a normal human size. Our protagonist remains invisible to the majority of human beings, and takes advantage of her “superpower on manifold situations.

She believes that every inanimate object has a different sound. She sets off on a mission to identify them, supported by a sound engineer with a boom microphone to hand. They wish to collect as many of those unique frequencies as possible. They also aim to capture an OM sound (the sound of the universe, according to ancient Asian philosophy). There are also some vague lessons inn physics and astronomy, including constant talk of black holes. This is about as much as I could make out of the barely coherent movie plot.

Susie Au’s sophomore feature just premiered at the 53rd International Film Festival Rotterdam. The director made her first feature Ming Ming nearly 20 years ago (in 2006). She Fell to Earth is not marketed as a children’s film, but it is clearly aimed at a much younger audience. The intonation of the characters (with constant pitch changes), the didactic breaking of the fourth wall, the superficial referencing to physics and superpowers, and the excessive, very basic use of special affects are all common ingredients of the television shows and movies made for our little ones.

The Festival Director Vanja Kaludjercic compared Susie’s work to Michel Gondry, and the parallels are indeed there. Au is a prolific music video director and this clearly shows, with the fast editing and the lack of a straightforward narrative. The touch of surreal and absurd is also there. It’s just the technical wizardry is far less sophisticated. Instead of intricate models, the fast-shrinking humans and advanced CGI effects commonly associated with the French video director and filmmaker, Au opts for simple tricks such as sudden changes in motion speed, shutter speed, successive jump cuts (in order to convey an illusion that people and things disappeared), split screens, spinning drones, etc.

Interestingly, She Fell on Earth provides viewers with a snapshot of Hong Kong’s hidden rooftop slums, a sight most people don’t associate with the highly developed Chinese city and special administrative region. The images are beautiful however a little cosmeticised. Colourful sheets hanging on a washing line and young people prancing down the narrows streets make these impoverished areas look colourful and boisterous.

Otherwise, this is a largely unremarkable movie.

By Victor Fraga - 01-02-2024

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Black Tea

Abderrahmane Sissako

Victor Fraga - 22-02-2024

After shockingly dumping her husband-to-be at the altar, African woman starts a new life in Taiwan, in a movie with the visual panache of Wong Kar-Wai - from the Official Competition of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival [Read More...]

Sons (Vogter)

Gustav Möller

Victor Fraga - 22-02-2024

Motherly instincts and extreme violence collide to devastating results, in this Scandinoir prison drama from Denmark - in the Official Competition of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival [Read More...]

Who Do I Belong To (Mé el Aïn)

Meryam Joobeur

Victor Fraga - 22-02-2024

Young man groomed by Isis returns to his Tunisian family of farmers with a mysterious wife; the woman harbours a dark secret under her purple niqab - from the the Official Competition of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *