Sunday, March 8, 2009

Silent Light: An Image Essay and a Prayer

Maybe film stills, individual frames, aren't the building blocks of moving pictures and maybe the cinema's constitution is based in movement itself (or an idea of movement), but sometimes it seems still frames betray a film's deepest sentiments, even illuminate its greatest accomplishments. Watching Carlos Reygadas' recent marvel, Silent Light, I was struck by a desire to break down this already very still, very quiet movie even further, to sit among its most impacting frames, and experience their sum in a different way. My impulse to take Silent Light to a base, photographic form seems in line with Reygadas' larger aim toward both the celestial and the simple; it's a film about moral struggle in a religious community and, opening and closing with a meditation on things (the sun and its spectacular will to rise and fall!) much greater than humankind, the film takes on the form, pace, and focus of a prayer. Help us be better than we are. Help me find and recognize my place among the cosmos above and the flowers within reach. In form and content, Silent Light works to break things down and then recognize the grandeur of the pieces. If I've succeeded in carrying (what I believe to be) Reygadas' driving force to its next incarnation--that of the still/ photo essay-- you'll find each piece below at once basic and overwhelming, simple and humbling, and the sum of the parts to be somewhat of a prayer.


James Hansen said...

Beautiful. This film, in every sense of the word, is a miracle.


harkinna said...

How did you do this? Very fun use of the pictures...Nicole (friend of Sam's.)

Derek said...

Happened upon your essay looking for stills from Silent Light. You describe the movie very well. This was a pleasure to read.