Monday, 12 October 2009

sleep furiously

Slow shot and sumptuous, studied photography savouring grace in the mundane, while grieving with a desaturated melancholy the end of a Way. This is a long rural heart breaking, and from the school closing follows a sense in its scene and soundtrack of dissipating energy inescapable and deeply moving.

Each vehicle is allowed its full course to track out of frame in a powerful picture of quitting the landscape to leave us static in the windswept grey green. There is care in the geometry of the photography and the blurring of timescale and timelapse as the world rushes on and away past this year in a little nook of a rural past.

There is a drawing into the small things as happens in grief, obsessing and retracing with hands over familiar paths. And there is such a beauty in the shots here that linger on the hand at task, old hands greasing baking tins, carving and such. The baking scene was dance, deft, measured, fastidious and musical, the elegance of work done as it has long been done. Watch this film for the skip of a sheared lamb, for the grand stretch blur billowing over lake, here are visual riches. Further, there is expressed in these Welsh a sense of unselfconsciousness and trust, a mark both of the brilliance of the directing and something trusting in the spirit of such community. I have never felt so immersed.

Did the use of the same Aphex Twin hooks create a meaningful theme to the characters and to what end were the unexplained cuts to plain colour? Perhaps a familiarity with Chomsky and Dylan Thomas would have given this viewer something more from the presentation. Neither question however keeps this from being the most moving, most urgent and most beautiful social documentary I have seen, a slam in the Modern's chest, angry in its silence.

"It is only when I sense the end of things that I find the courage to speak. The courage, but not the words." So we were given cinema and the gift of tongues.


p said...

i came across the phrase 'sleep furiously' a few days ago whilst reading a book about 'the god of the philosophers'(by antony kenny), in which the author is arguing that if God is to exist, the concept of divinity must be coherent, and the attributes we ascribe to divinity must not be incompatible (he thinks they are). he gives:
'colourless green ideas sleep furiously'
as an example of a meaningless and incoherent sentence composed of incompatible terms -- and is wanting to show that 'an omniscient omnipotent immutable god' is similarly incoherent. the coherence of such a sentence is, he argues, a necessary but non-sufficient condition for the existence of God. perhaps. but i found myself more inclined to wonder whether there was more meaning in the possibility of a 'colourless green' than kenny would be prepared to admit. or a 'green idea'. or 'sleeping furiously'. i don't know where i'm going with this...

Philip Jackson said...

since seeing the film, I have prodded around trying both to understand the 'sleeps furiously' quote and to see in what way it was brought to bear in the film.

chomsky, whose quote it is, was making this point about the relationship between words, coherence and meaning.

the scope for play - and we believe in a playful God who sabbaths - is stretched by poetic juxtapostions, as these are.