Directed by Paul Arthur Rothman, ‘Girl on the Ledge’ charts the story of an unfulfilled young woman whose personal and professional problems drive her to the edge. Starring Irina Abraham, Anna Bauman and Harry Bauman, the film was completed by Rothman’s son after Rothman passed away during the production of the film.
Evocative and richly acted dramas are dime a dozen in today’s day and age and ‘Girl on the Ledge’ really delivers in this regard. Every piece of this production works perfectly in sync with each other to deliver a glorious experience of human emotion wrapped in a nihilistic blanket of monotony. Where the film really excels is in the acting department.
Every one gives it their all but all eyes are on Irina Abraham who shines in what might be the role of her career. Part of what makes her character so appealing is her ability to flawlessly showcase the depth of trauma her character goes through and Abraham is able to channel the simmering conflict inside flawlessly.
Another aspect in which the film excels is in its story and script. Rothman and Taragan’s screenplay fleshes all the characters nicely and contains enough dramatic twists that do the story justice. The exposition is kept to a minimum and instead, the audiences are moved to explore the story along with the characters themselves.
This is a breath of fresh air as most productions try to jam as much exposition as possible down the audience’s throats, lazily coming up with contrived nonsense for the sake of plot and runtime. Thankfully, ‘Girl on the Ledge’ does no such thing and is all the better for it. The overall result is a tight, fast moving film that comes in just over 90 minutes.
In regard to the direction, Rothman and then his son keep the narrative straightforward, expertly editing the film’s various conflicts and conundrums to keep the story flowing. There is a method to the madness exhibited here as the Rothmans purposefully keep the camera longing on the protagonist’s face to show the conflict simmering deep within. Equally impressive is the Rothmans’ ability to manage the chaos depicted so well; the descent of the main character into madness is a complex puzzle in and of itself and the makers have done well to visualise it to such an accurate degree.
Terrence Laron Burke’s cinematography is lively, painting the narrative in both dull and deep colours interchangeably. Burke makes fantastic use of lighting and closeups to add vigour to the story, ensuring the characters and their conflicts really pop out onscreen.
There is an avante garde feel to the production, courtesy of its cinematography that elevates the film from its peers. Equally terrific is the original score by Drew Schnurr whose music really adds a whole new dimension to the entire film. The audio-visual aspect of the production gets full marks as it complements the narrative force of the film pretty well.
However, this is not all and the film culminates with a shocking finale that will leave audiences jaw dropped. Drama films tend to work well when there is a payoff at the end which signals to the audiences that whatever they have endured in tedious drama and conflict has not gone in vain.
Thankfully, the filmmakers here have stuck to their guns and really landed the ending which not only brings the main protagonist’s story full circle but also impresses through sheer terror and shock value alone.
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About the director – Paul Arthur Rothman
Paul Arthur Rothman’s creative, technical, and business experience as a director/cameraman, writer/producer and editor brought a unique combination of skills to Girl on the Ledge.
He was the videographer and artist in residence at the famous experimental theatre La Mama for several years where he worked closely with Ellen Stewart and coordinated the production of a world-wide video recording series of liturgical and symphonic music with the BBC singers in London, National Symphony Orchestra of Catalunya in Barcelona Spain, Berlin Philharmonic, and The National Czech Symphonia before beginning development of Girl on the Ledge.
His documentary films have been honored with invitational screenings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The American Museum of Natural History, and cultural institutions around the world.
While working in radio in Israel as a journalist, where he interviewed and produced programs on such diverse personalities as the musicians and composers Leonard Cohen and Mikis Theodorakis, the American Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller and the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Mr. Rothman became part of the founding group of Israel Television as a filmmaker in the documentary film department.
When he eventually returned to New York City he worked at August Films, later creating and successfully managing his own film production company, Sunrise Films, for several years before returning to independent production. His vision of one artist’s exploration of the mystery of artistic creation, obsession, the nature of memory, and the border between reality and illusion and life and death is the driving force behind the development and realization of Girl on the Ledge.
Mr. Rothman was also the Curator, Artistic Director, and Co-Founder of the celebrated Brooklyn Jewish Film Festival which took place annually at BAM from 2001-2005.