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Hard To Be A God (German, 2014)

Hard To Be A God 2

I have only had the opportunity to see a few of Aleksei German’s films. But watching either Khrustalyov, My Car! or Hard to Be a God is like seeing 8 1/2 or 2001 or The Mirror for the first time. You know that what you are seeing is going to change the way you watch anything from here on out and there is nothing you can do about it.

Critics and film theorists talk about the thing that makes something a truly great film. This quality can be described as auteur presence (Bazin), or the work of termites (Farber), or a sort of sculpting in time (Tarkovsky). But all this theory really boils down to something quite simple: a great film reminds us that cinema is capable of doing something nothing else can. We leave one of the great films like Percy’s The Moviegoer, kind of off-kilter or imbalanced, only because we now have to factor into the world something we had not really considered before. This is the paradox of great cinema: it can somehow present as more real than the world it reflects, even though it exists in strips or hard drives.

I think Hard To Be A God may be a great film for that reason. At the very least, it lingers on the palette in the way simpler films do not. This 2012... Read More

The Horrible Theology of Hannibal

There are a few basic differences between the novels by Thomas Harris and Hannibal, their NBC TV series adaptation. The most intriguing of these is that the Hannibal of the ongoing TV series has a tendency to speak theologically about his hobby horses, which include cannibalism, serial killing, and the presence of God. While most of Lector’s god-talk is lifted straight from dialogue in Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, the screenwriters have... Read More

Filmwell Recommends – Streaming in February

  If you are looking to plan your media diet for February, here are some recommended titles available in VOD or streaming formats.   Film As It Is In Heaven (Website/iTunes – Our review.) Boyhood (Amazon Instant) Chef (Netflix) Dear White People (Amazon Instant) Hot Pursuit (Netflix) Joe (Netflix) Love is Strange (Amazon Instant) Mood Indigo (Amazon Instant) The Overnighters (Netflix) Something, Anything (iTunes/Google Play/Vimeo –... Read More

As It Is In Heaven (Overbay, 2014)

As It Is In Heaven is a hushed film; a quiet film in the way of Gitai’s Kadosh or Reygadas’ Silent Light when these films are focused on the ritual lives of their respective communities. Such films remind us that we watch cinema simply because it can do something the other arts cannot. It allows us to see people doing things that puzzle us, and perhaps even grieve us, in real life. But it gives us the space to see these things in bite-sized... Read More