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Posts Tagged ‘"Lily Topples the World"’

Lily Hevesh

“LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD” My rating: B (On Discovery +)

90 minutes | No MPAA rating

While still a teen, Lily Hevesh became the best domino artist on Earth.

She excels at creating huge, complex designs with colored dominoes, which are then toppled in a chain reaction of gravity and kinetic force. The effects are mesmerizing…often it takes several minutes for one of her creations to deconstruct.

It’s like watching some sort of living creature collapsing and decaying…except that even in ruins Lily’s creations make an artistic statement.

Jeremy Workman’s documentary “Lily Topples the World” is a celebration of an unusual art form and a study of a young woman who appears to be almost painfully normal except for her ability to envision and execute these mind-boggling constructions.

A decade ago, when she was only 10, Lily started toying around with domino designs.  She recorded their spectacular collapses and posted the videos on her own YouTube channel.  She got a huge following…but pointedly never appeared in the footage.  

This had the effect of making her a sort of mystery figure…particularly since there was no hint that the creator of these works was a) a teenage girl and b) Asian.

Lily was born in China, abandoned by her natural parents, and adopted by an American couple who already had two children. Her father now accompanies her as she travels around the world for domino toppling tournaments and workshops and to create domino designs for movies, television and advertising.

Workman’s film is basically about Lily’s burgeoning career (we see her rubbing elbows with the likes of Jimmy Fallon). 

It is less about her as a person…indeed, at heart she seems your run-of-the-mill nerd girl who lives for her obsession.  There’s no mention of dating, although Lily tells us that her one year of college was noteworthy as the most heavily socialized nine months of her life.

Perhaps this lack of revealing detail is why “Lily Topples the World” feels padded at 90 minutes.

The good news is that at least a third of the doc is footage of her marvelous mandelas of tiny tumbling monoliths, and these segments are hypnotic.

| Robert W. Butler

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