Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves ★★★★

Film School Drop Outs Week 1: Auteurs - Pioneers of Film: Alice Guy-Blaché

Consider the image of a child's desperation to save her sister, tying leaves back on the trees so that she will not die, as predicted, when the leaves have fallen. A child that understands death means goodbye but not that it can't be stopped with wishing. Did we all do this as kids? If I think like this hard enough, this won't happen? If I manage to sit on my hands without moving for one hour, the bad thing I'm scared of won't happen?

It's not, textually, the girl who saves her sister, but the doctor who foretells her death. But it is the magic of that wishing that shines through the film, placed in the dead center of the run-time. She flits around the garden in a white that looks so bright, so angelic, especially in contrast to the darker pragmatism of the doctor's black clothes. The leaves fall, and it's the most beautiful scene of the short film. The ending is sentimental and a bit trite, in my opinion, but that's forgiven because of the gentle melancholy of the innocence of the young heroine.