SFFILM FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Lily Topples The World is one of the most soothing and visually relaxing documentaries I’ve ever seen. Jeremy Workman’s movie is about the world’s top domino artist, Lily Hevesh. Workman delves into the personal and professional life of Hevesh, which is fascinating, but oh, those sweet dominoes.
Lily Hevesh, aka Hevesh5 on YouTube, discovered her passion for domino art at a very young age. It’s not hard to understand why, as we’ve all stacked dominoes and watched them (does anyone actually play dominoes?). What Lily Hevesh has done is turn dominoes not only into an art but a science as well.
Hevesh5 started as an anonymous YouTube Channel featuring only her art, and for years no one knew what Hevesh5 looked like, and indeed, no one knew that she was a girl. In fact, during her first year in college, news spread that a famous YouTuber was part of the incoming freshman class, yet no one knew it was the quiet and humble Lily Hevesh sitting next to them.
Though a great experience, Hevesh’s freshman year would be her only college experience. She left to become a full-time professional domino artist. She then revealed her true identity on YouTube and built her art into a financial empire. As Hevesh travels the world, creating more extensive and more elaborate pieces, she hires her fellow artists to assist her or contracts them out.
“What Lily Hevesh has done is turn dominoes not only into an art but a science…”
Lily Topples The World shows us the various installations Hevesh has created, including at the Washington State Lottery, in museums across the country, and an appearance The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She also teaches classes to all ages, makes appearances, and follows her journey to produce, manufacture, and distribute the perfect toppling domino. We also hear her personal story, when her parents adopted Hevesh from China, and her experiences growing up in the predominantly Caucasian state of New Hampshire.
Let’s face it. We’re here for the falling dominoes, and you will not be disappointed. Workman paces his subject’s story against her art perfectly. He knows that exact moment when we hunger for more dominoes, and at that moment of maximum salivation, he feeds us another visual treat.
I mentioned that Hevesh made the art of dominos a science, and it’s incredible. She understands the way dominoes fall and how to make them curve switch and directions effortlessly and consistently. She attempts to create the perfect domino and goes extensively into the ideal weight, texture (optimal friction), and sound. Clearly, Hevesh has thought about this for a very long time.
To me, the soothing tone of the documentary comes from the visual of watching one of her structures or towers fall. They don’t just topple, but they collapse in such a pleasing way. I can’t describe it. You need to watch one of her videos, and you’ll see what I mean.
I could watch Lily Topples the World over and over again. It even captivated the attention of my documentary-hating child. The film is perfect if you need to unplug from the world’s craziness and need that brief moment of zen.