Wednesday, June 22, 2022

2022 Films: Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls by Tara Sickmeier & Victor Bellomo
Palo Alto, CA (Milwaukee Premiere)
Running Time: 5 minutes
Screening Time: Saturday, Sept 10 at 6:30PM

At the edge of her life, a woman must confront a cascade of hopes, desires and fallen dreams.

Director Bio:

Tara Sickmeier is a Tony Award-nominated Broadway producer, film/TV producer, and entrepreneur. In 2013, Sickmeier co-founded HIPZEE with Rob Baunoch III, a Brooklyn-born entertainment company that specializes in edgy, boundary-pushing storytelling for stage and screen.

Victor Bellomo is an American filmmaker, animator, singer-songwriter and composer. He sings the song for the soundtrack of Niagara Falls. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his films.

Director Statement

Alfred Hitchcock said, "When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it's impossible to do otherwise.”

Niagara Falls tells the story of a woman's quiet struggle to remain in life. The aim was to make a silent film linked to a song.

The lyrics say: "Ten thousand people in barrels, every day go over this thing, mostly in quiet obscurity, it’s of these people I sing."

This of course could be any of us. The song references to the historic rides people made in barrels over Niagara Falls in the early 1900's.

The woman enters a hotel room carrying a letter and a rose. This room is not a "hotel room” per se; we soon see that this room is her sanctuary, her shrine, her safe house. When she enters we immediately see that this place is special to her. She has been here many times before and enters with a ritual befitting a sacred place. She places the rose in a vase of wilted flowers. We soon get the sense that this room contains parts of her soul embodied in letters and objects that she has kept hidden from the world and perhaps to some large degree, from herself.

The letter she finally reads shatters the fragile stability of her world. She rips up the letter and proceeds to destroy the hidden contents of the room, revealing countless falling letters, postcards, photos and precious objects. In the end her space is littered with torn words and keepsakes. At the edge of her life, she must confront this cascade of hopes, desires and fallen dreams.

"At the bottom where water meets water, where each one’s ride is done, some slink off in the underbrush, some dry off in the sun."

Hitchcock's emphasis on telling a story through image and music, rather than dialogue, echoes the marriage of the visual and music narrative of our film.

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