Sunday, December 02, 2007

Journey from the Fall (Soundtrack) by Christopher Wong

Journey from the Fall (Soundtrack) by Christopher Wong
The Other Side of Left Behind
Review by Christopher Coleman

On April 30, 1975, Saigon fell and the United States pulled out of Vietnam. Since then, audiences have been told and re-told the stories of the men who fought there and what happened to some who returned home. We all know very well that the scars of that "incident" run deep in the US. As horrific as that side of the story can be, it is, at the most, only half. After the fall of Saigon, some 2 million Vietnamese fled their country in search of safety and freedom. JOURNEY FROM THE FALL tells the story of one family's quest to reach the shores of the country that abandoned them and, for one of them, to stand for his beliefs in the face of the victorious Viet Cong...even if that stand is taken on the grounds of a political prison.

The film JOURNEY FROM THE FALL succeeds on many levels. Up-and-coming director/writer, Ham Tran, delivers the story beautifully through a solid screenplay, creative editing, and some mesmerizing photographic moments. Telling the story through flash-backs and flash-forwards commands the viewers attention and even when the film seems to lose its way in its final act, Tran shows this "waywardness" was quite in hand all along. JOURNEY FROM THE FALL an indy-flick but, not only that, it is a foreign-language indy, written and acted in Vietnamese (brilliantly acted, I might add). More often than not, films like this, with more heart than budget, get buried beneath the deluge of Hollywood schrot (and even the growiing indy-shrot). Many good films like JOURNEY simply slide under our Western noses with hardly a sniff.

One last, but by far not the least, reason for JOURNEY FROM THE FALL working as well as it does is CHRISTOPHER WONG's simple, but evocative musical score. Wong's score is dominated by two musical themes: the title theme and the "separation" or "imprisonment" theme. Both beautiful and sorrowful, he makes the most of these two themes throughout the score, while somehow avoiding overuse and tedium.

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