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Swoon! The cultural history of an ecstatic phenomenon

Carol Morley's film about fainting fits in a girls' school is the latest in a long line of depictions of swooning

By Naomi Booth  
A scene from Carol Morley’s new film The Falling

A scene from Carol Morley’s new film The Falling

Carol Morley’s new film The Falling is a dreamy exploration of mass hysteria, depicting an outbreak of fainting at a girls’ school. Beautifully shot, the film vividly evokes the texture of its young characters’ faints, portraying the ways in which the richness of certain adolescent experiences (colours, music, erotic sensations, the intensity of friendship and its loss) can become overwhelming. Morley researched “mass psychogenic illness” as she wrote the film, discovering…

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