Friday, September 25, 2009

Sweet "Seraphine"

I remember when I encountered the film "Andrei Rublev" for the first time. How could I not? To say it was one of the most inspirational works of art I have ever experienced, would be a gross understatement. This was a life changing moment, not some one night stand with popcorn and a movie. To this very day, I find that words cannot adequately articulate what occurred within me upon viewing that film. But, I can assure you it was a great mystery full of wonder and beauty - one I have never forgotten.

It was enough of an impression that it became the single defining moment where I discovered I wanted to be a filmmaker. It was the moment I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to do what AndreiTarkovsky (the director of "Rublev") did. There was something in this work of art beyond the hand of an individual artist. There was something beyond the here and now. There seemed to be an artist at work with God. And this is what struck me: how could this be - God and man creating art together? Well, at least that's what it appeared to be. And if that was the case, then that's what I wanted. I wanted to be an artist mixing it up with the Divine. I wanted to be an artist who was truly "after it". I too wanted to dive into the glorious waters of the beautiful Other. And I wanted to be willing to swim across the tumultuous seas, carried along by God, in spite of the possibility that many in this world might consider me mad. Like Tarkovksy's "Rublev", I wanted to be willing to spend years in silence so that at last I might catch even the slightest glimpse of the glory of the One.

Anyone who knows me, knows that "Andrei Rublev" is at the top of my film list. For many reasons, some of which I have pointed out here, my love for this film will forever remain undiminished. So it is, with all of this being said, and my ultimate reason for this writing - I am overjoyed to be able to give word that my dear "Rublev" has found himself a mate. Her name is "Seraphine". Yes, sweet "Seraphine" ( a new French film by filmmaker Martin Provost) has made me feel, again, the way I felt when I first set eyes on "Rublev". She has joined him in the cinema of beautiful holy matrimony. Its only my opinion, of course, but I do truly believe there have only been a handful of moments in cinematic history where it is as though the wind of the spirit blows across the screen, leaving something of the Divine for us all.

Listen closely, if you close your eyes, you just might hear the angels singing.

Scene from Andrei Rublev
Trailer for Seraphine

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The "Professional" Writer?

Here is an interesting article in The Village Voice I find to be worthy of much discussion. Give it a read, and read the comments that have been going on, as well. Then let's get some discussion going on here.

Much thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet over at Filmwell for bringing the article to my attention.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Little Bird.

The wonder and beauty of a child is a most profound thing. Light upon light. Between all that is and all that has been and all that will become. What will you become, little bird? Where will your wings take you? Will your eyes behold the glory of the coming of the Lord? Will you smile that smile of your mothers? Laugh like your father on a silly day? Tell me, what will your hands create? What songs will you sing? What poems will you write? What love will you give? What love will you receive? What beauty will you bring to this world?

Oh, your father has so many questions, little bird. So many questions in such a big, big world. So many days, so many ways. Which way will you go? Which way will you go?

But, until then, let's you and I keep watch Under the Bamboo Tree.

(Photo by Justin Schwartz)

Friday, September 11, 2009

In the Fog.

This morning, an average morning with nothing eventful at play, I found myself in a fog of sorts, my mind clouded by the days pressing chores, the days demand for my heart and mind. And though I often find I am able to navigate my way through the hazy wood of life, there are those times when the view simply becomes too obscured, and I find that I feel I have lost my way.

It is in those moments, though, with vision impaired, I must learn to cry out to my ears for sight. But how to hear, in a world polluted with noise? Well, strange though it may seem, and unorthodox for sure, a little hedgehog might help to show the way - teach me to listen and to be not afraid.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


If I kept a diary, it might read something like this:

Dear Diary,

Today I found myself thinking about more things than I could process - cutting the ice storm afflicted branch from the old apple tree, what makes a person an "artist", why do we over complicate our lives with "stuff", I don't really like the film industry, wish we didn't have to deal with taxes, can't wait for Emma's first dance lessons, why are so many people pissed about Obama addressing school kids about the value of education, I need to clean my office, I hope my wife knows how much I really love her, it was strange talking to grandma the other day, her memory seems to be going fast, do I really need to blog, why do I regret not going to college, if I only had one film to make, what would it be, what am I going to be like as an old man, will I even live to be an old man...

Then this piece of beauty comes along to jog my mind, remind me of who I am, what I long to be, keep me on the path.

Life is truly poetry, cinema the eye. We must never turn our gaze from her. Let us wait and watch, capture life in picture, in praise, in poem.

To begin...

"Think of these pages as graffiti maybe, and where I have scratched up in a public place my longings and loves, my grievances and indecencies, be reminded in private of your own. In that way, at least, we can hold a kind of converse." -Frederick Buechner

And now some words from my favorite filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky.