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Saint Maud (2019) dir Rose Glass


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This one should be in the conversation in the future for any lists made about horror, or spiritually significant horror.

It is definitely about the mystery in one’s faith. Maybe a problem (?) with the film would be that it can’t wrap up the mystery — or, if it does, it certainly tends to sway toward the struggle of that mystery rather than any celebration of it. 

On Facebook, I wrote: 

A24 is really a special company. It is getting to a point where its horror roster is so good that it deserves its own category. Like, subcategories in horror are: New French Extremity, 70s slashers & original final girls, Giallo, etc. — and now there’s A24. 

So after waiting two years, I just saw Saint Maud. And you can place it right at the top of the list with the best A24 films — titles like The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Hereditary, Midsommar, Climax, and the VVitch. 

Yes, it was worth the wait. Yes, it is a stronger, albeit shorter film. (I wish it were a tad longer.) Its religious themes remind me of Breaking the Waves, Take Shelter and Lourdes, and these are some of my all-time favorites. (And they’re not even horror.)

 

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In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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It went on “epix now” last night at midnight. I stayed up for it. 

I believe it’s $1.99 a month for your first two months. I will most likely unsubscribe and consider this a pretty good deal. 

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Thanks, Stef.  I'm so glad I watched this; both my wife and I were amazed.  I don't rank it as high as my A24 faves (Witch, Hereditary) on first viewing - mostly due to its uninspiring score - but it's still excellent.  No doubt, my interpretation will differ from people of faith on this board, though I suspect mine is close to the director's intent.

Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2021/02/saint-maud-the-permeable-barrier-between-faith-and-madness/

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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Nice!

What was the Bergman sequence you didn’t mention?

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Oh, wow. Ok. That’s a cool observation. 

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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  • 1 month later...

I watched this last night. Good stuff!

I'm a big fan of horror films of all stripes, but am always a bit leery with modern "prestige horror" films that I think tend to be too literal in the metaphor of their horror. (For example, The Babadook or the recent Relic have nothing beyond the one-to-one allegory of what the "real" monster is, even if they're technically well crafted.) My favourite horror lives in-between allegory and real monster (It Follows is a great example). I like Ari Aster's films because they refuse the easy answer, even if they can be overwrought, and I absolutely loved The Witch. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Saint Maud really lives in that in-between space. 

Perhaps even more impressive is just how totalizing the atmosphere of the film is. For her debut feature, Rose Glass shows off some impressive formal chops, controlling every element to an exacting degree (the sound design is particularly immersive). The references to The Exorcist, from the staircase outside her apartment to the "possession" scene, are nice, too, as it shows she's aware of the genre and approach that's come before and willing to draw on that and expand and twist it to her own purpose.

Maybe, most of all, I'm simply impressed by how much the film got me to sympathize with Maud (despite her mania) and how scary some moments are, despite only one scene that approaches horror in a typical manner. The nighttime dialogue scene is particularly chilling, even if it steals the visual and auditory set-up almost entirely from the Black Phillip scene in The Witch.

I'll be very curious to see Glass's next film, and I hope it's more horror.

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

3brothersfilm.com

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