Austerity, Silence, Faith...What's Not to Love?!?

This week I was blessed to see a wondrous (in the true sense of the word) film called Stellet Licht (Silent Light) by director Carlos Reygadas (Mexico, 2007). There is so much of interest in it. It is the first film to be made with the dialogue in Plautdietsch, a German dialect used by the Mennonites. It also featured non-professional actors--this made for extremely interesting energy. Not only is the film cinematically gorgeous, it is aurally stimulating, something I won't try to qualify because I cannot do it justice. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but its climax in particular echoes Carl Dreyer's Ordet (Denmark, 1955) very closely; I am now going to have to re-watch that classic! I read that it was not a religious film but only about a religious community, but I disagree--it is a profoundly religious film about spiritual crisis, redemption and miracles. However, I think it works because it is not preachy or sacchrine, probably because it uses acting neophytes. You are engaged by the actors quite literally through the lens, but you are also drawn into sympatico with them, even with the supposed antagonists. If you doubt my evaluation, pin its appeal on the Cannes 2007 Jury and the Golden Ariels which ascribed it success through multiple prizes. It runs at The Royal cinema, 608 College St for the rest of this week: today 3:30 and 6:30, Mon-Wed at 9pm and Thurs at 7pm. Treat yourself. Thanks to the Images Festival for treating me!

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