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La Sapienza (2015)

Nathan Douglas

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I see that this is releasing today in the U.S. I haven't stopped thinking about it since seeing it at VIFF, and I expect it'll find a welcome reception at A&F.


I don't recommend seeing the Kino Lorber trailer that's out there. While this film is almost plot-free, it still gives away too much of the latter half's pleasures.

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  • 7 months later...

Basically think Certified Copy meets While We're Young. Fabrizio Rongione (Two Days, One Night, Lorna's Silence, L'Enfant, etc.) is really good as well.

The use of visual space in this film is incredible. When director Eugene Green chooses to fill the screen with great art (architecture) he captures its transcendental power in a way I haven't seen many films do. The use of Monteverdi perfectly punctuates the film as well.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Glad you enjoyed it, Evan. I hope it gains some traction among the rest of the jurors for the 2015 Ecumenical Jury, since, as Nathan noted months ago, it falls neatly into A&F's wheelhouse. Here's a brief capsule review I wrote last year as part of my VIFF coverage (although I would like to rescind my opening comment about the idiosyncrasies wearing out their welcome). 

Eugene Green’s latest film borders on great but can’t quite seem to overcome its directorial idiosyncrasies (which, while admittedly part of its charm, wear out their welcome). Renowned architect Alexandre Schmidt (Fabrizio Rongione), in dire need of inspiration to complete his latest project, decides to visit Italy to rediscover his muse in the Baroque buildings of Francesco Borromini. His wife, also in need of new inspiration, accompanies him, but their marriage is far from perfect. Her smile is luminous and bright, yet it never rises to her face in his presence, and they are both so stilted in their banal conversations with each other, that in those moments the film borders on self parody. This helps to undercut the tension of their relationship, and allows the audience to see both the tragedy and comedy present in their lives, just as it is in ours. When this is realized, the acting becomes less stilted and instead takes on a truer-than-life feel.


But while the film is concerned about love — between husband and wife, brother and sister, mentor and pupil — it addresses these concerns through its use of space and light; the two elements which, according to the film, are the most essential to great architecture and to living the good life. As Alexandre’s pupil (wise beyond his youth) says, “All our misfortune comes from being derived a place where we could receive the light of God and love of fellow man. A place to be loved.” He is not simply referring to a “place,” but spatial concepts of how buildings open up and allow us to realize the spaces available to us. It is a film which warmly embraces the convergence of the sacred space in architecture, the dynamic between past and present, and reaches out to touch on the different forms in which love and happiness can manifest.

Read more at http://convergemagazine.com/viff-covereage-architecture-theme-14688/#WMLdYSfDrsSj16Rf.99

Edited by Josh Hamm

"What's prayer? It's shooting shafts in the dark." -- Frederick Buechner, Godric

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