Reader Ali suggested the 2015 film The Falling in a comment, so I checked it out!
I went into this film without so much as seeing a trailer. After a traumatic incident, an all-girls school in Britain in the 1960s starts experiencing mass hysteria, chiefly expressed through fainting, among its pupils.
Not merely set in 1969 but looking like it was made then, Morley’s dreamy puzzle bathes in music by Tracey Thorn which adds a touch of home-made, Wicker Man weirdness. In many ways, The Falling can be viewed as a musical, with the Alternative School Orchestra (founded by Abbie) providing the link between the worlds of the real and the imagined, a fantastical note as defining as the opera of Powell and Pressburger’s recently reissued The Tales of Hoffmann. Certainly the mass-swooning sequences are steeped in dance, the demonic back-bends and balletic arm movements of each new trance blurring the boundaries between acting and choreography. As such, these faints are less an act of submission than of defiance – an outbreak of “female collectivity”, an oddly empowering antidote to the misogynist spectre of the “wandering womb”.
The film’s cinematography and atmosphere are gorgeous, but there are no simple resolutions to the story, no defining ending. Were Lydia’s fainting and episodes caused by [incident] or by [ending spoiler]? Yet, in cases of conversion disorder, is there a clear answer? If you prefer suspense/dramas with possible supernatural or unexplained events over horror, check out this film. Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones as Lydia is excellent, as is her chemistry with Florence Pugh as Abbie.
I do think Miss Alvaro (Monica Dolan) would be an excellent choice for FemMycroft in genderswapped Sherlock.
Contains teen pregnancy, mass hysteria, hypocritical adults, rape, incest, folks blaming things on “teen hormones,” misogyny. There are only two WOC in the film–Titch, who is a student and plays a relatively large role as the unaffected one, and a nurse. Abbie/Lydia would have been A++. Queer schoolgirl poltergeists please.