“In 1928, Federico Garcia Lorca, in his writings on poetry stated: “The poet is in a sad state of wanting and not being able. He hears the flow of great rivers, passing by in silence, with no one else to hear their music. On his brow he feels the coolness of the reeds, swaying in their No Man’s Land. He wants to feel the dialogue of the winds that tremble in the moss…He wants to penetrate the music of the sap running in the dark silence of huge tree trunks…He wants to press his ear to the sleeping girl and understand the Morse code of her heart…He wants…But he cannot.” So too does the Holy Cinema. A cinema that desires, as Lorca, to understand and make visible the invisible. To explore the philosophical and spiritual. It might be more appropriate to discuss an individual film’s relation to a category, as directors produce work in different styles. David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, and Fellini for example belong to both the Holy and Rough Cinema. However the greatest artists of the Holy Cinema consistently explore themes unique to this category. This is the cinema of, among others, Bergman, Bresson, Ozu, Kurosawa, Dreyer, and Tarkovsky. The latter’s work being perhaps the holiest of the group.
Films of the Holy Cinema might be considered the “difficult movies”, and this judgment is correct. These films are in fact difficult, however this is not because the ideas are hard to grasp. Movies aren’t made for movie scientists. Anyone can understand any film if they are open to it. I firmly believe this. There is no correct way to understand a movie, even if the director believes there is. In reality a movie is difficult because of our resistance to it. We resist these films because they peel. Peel when very often we’d prefer to keep our layers intact. I battle with myself about this everyday. Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror is a film I’ve seen several times, and I can state without hesitation that it is the most profoundly meaningful film I’ve experienced thus far. Having said that, it’s the absolute last movie I ever want to watch. I will put on anything over The Mirror, usually a comedy I’ve worn threadbare. It’s a miracle that I’ve seen the film at all. Now this is complete absurdity. The Mirror is cathartic and each viewing results in a deeper, quieter, connection with myself that lasts for days. I am exhilarated, energized, and full of ideas. It makes my life better. And yet, in full knowledge of the intense pleasure and peacefulness the film gives me, more often that not I refuse to watch it. The peeling of layers disrupts routine living and thinking. And though this disruption is vital, it takes enormous mental and emotional strength to allow it.
There are times I’ve had to take a sedative in order to watch Holy Cinema, my defenses railed so strongly against it. But of course after each viewing the feeling was the same; that of surfacing. The relief of spotting the cave’s exit or a loose nail in the coffin." – Kartina Richardson (mirrorfilm.org – the cinema: deadly & holy)
This list pertains to the films I have seen, or will see soon. If I neglected, say, Ozu, it is because I have not yet experienced his films.Read less