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78 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

A Prophetic, Wonderous Wonder

9/10
Author: abelardo64 from United States
23 December 2004

It won the people's choice at the 1984 Berlin Festival, Panorama section. Shortly after, it vanished into thin air. It tells the story of a young man (Nigel Court) in a small village, anywhere in the world. There is something willful and strange about the boy. Autistic, perhaps, we don't really know, but we certainly never met anyone like him. He never knew his parents, raised by the local parish priest (the director, Martin Donovan, himself)The village is a fairy tale village. An extended, harmonious family. Until one day, a small military platoon headed by a mysterious Captain (David Meyer)arrives to the village with a mission. From that moment on, the tone of the film changes. Soon after, we discover the platoon is there waiting for a group of rebel freedom fighters headed by an outlaw leader (Tony Meyer, David's twin brother) The captain, after finding out that the young boy lives alone in the mountains, tries to convince him to stay in the village until the danger is over. But the boy doesn't understand the concept of danger. The scene between the two could be an allegorical piece, staging an imaginary encounter between a pacifist and George W Bush before attacking Irak. But State of Wonder was made in 1983. The freedom fighters call themselves the WFP the War for Peace Movement. He will become the go-between for the two confronting groups trying to avoid a bloody conflict. At the end innocence will pay the heaviest price, but even then, Martin Donovan doesn't allow that death to be in vain. Shot in 13 days in Ireland. It looks like a naive painting. The story is told from the boy's point of view, as a child would have told it, with a child's voice and and language. Unique.I looked for it everywhere, I found old, glowing reviews in some European publications, and a disastrous Variety review. The question is, the film is not available anywhere. If I know so much about it is because I met Martin Donovan, the writer, director, many years ago. I was a fan of "Apartment Zero" "Mad at the Moon" and "Seeds of Tragedy" but it was by chance, reading a reference book, that I found out about the existence of "State of Wonder" I was a bit surprised he had never mentioned it, let alone anyone else. I felt, perhaps,it was, you know, bad. But one day I asked him. He smiled and said, "if you want to see it, there is a tape somewhere, a copy of of a copy, the sound's not very good" You may have guessed I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. I wept, I laughed and then I wept again. The film has never left me. The central character's nick name is Pichirica. I've only recently found out, Pichirica was the nick name of one Martin Donovan's younger brothers who died some time before he made the film. Personal, honest, visionary. Maybe that's it, "State of Wonder" reveals the heart and soul of its maker. I know. abelardo64@yahoo.com

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51 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

10/10
Author: seanodartofilm from Ireland
1 September 2005

Back in 1983, my local community was revolutionized by the arrival of a film crew headed by a young filmmaker with an Irish name - Martin Donovan - and a slight foreign accent. We are all in the film one way or another. It took some time for us to see the finished product. Martin Donovan himself came over to show us the film. We all remember that day very well. There we were, part of the pacifist dream of an artist with a transparent soul and a heart of gold. Since then, two or three times a year the film on video cassette is shown in somebody's house. It always becomes a motive for celebration. What hit me, last time I saw it, was the relevance of its message. The film is told through the eyes of the boy and with his strange language of wisdom. The fact that the film is not available in any shape of form remains a mystery.

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41 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

A Fairy Tale About War, Peace And Religion

10/10
Author: wlawson60 from United States
7 April 2006

A small intimate epic. A film like no other. And where in heaven's name has been all this years. It was made in 1983! Very rarely a film will take a child's point of view and never betray it. This is one of those rare cases. Pichirica (the other side of Forest Gump, the real side)tells us a few heavy duty truths without preaching. The androgynous presence of Nigel Court gives the tale the strange other worldliness that rings so familiar. I saw the film in a badly damaged VHS but the impact was sharp, pungent and pristine. Martin Donovan (the director)plays Father Daniel a young parish priest with musical aspirations and the one ready to take a stand regardless of the consequences. Annie Chaplin (Charlie's younger daughter and a dead ringer for her father) plays the local girl who doesn't intend to leave her birth place " You leave places when you're bored or lonely or unhappy, I'm none of that" she tells Russell the mysterious journalist played stoically by James Telfer (Vanessa in "Apartment Zero")The entire film seems told in Pichirica's language so the grown ups and intelligent speak a little bit like him. I found myself with tears running down my face. I loved the film and I can't wait to see it on a big screen as was intended.

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36 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Some thoughts re.of State of Wonder

9/10
Author: mick parker (mjkparker) from United Kingdom
25 May 2006

I wonder if this film will ever be resurrected in any form. I loved the story and continue to find depth and insight in it. I wrote most of the soundtrack, very much as a relative novice in the world of film-scoring, although I'd previously written many television commercials and some TV drama. I have a copy of the finished version on video, but the dub is not of the best quality; there is a lot of distortion on the soundtrack. Although Alan Gill is credited with the original music he only wrote the opening piece "Katie's Theme". I also still have the "working copy" which although not a locked cut is pretty close to the final edit. I remember vividly the spotting session and in fact how powerful the film was without any music on it at all, and also the subsequent discussions with Martin Donovan and Tim Gee (editor) led me to discover the timbre for "Pitcherica" and the musical language for his character and the way he reacts to the world; he seems to have his feet planted at the nexus of many dichotomies, the spiritual and the profane, the sacred and the secular (in his world sacred and spiritual are two different concepts), the rule of law and the fight for freedom of expression. There is a resonance in the contemporary world where the idea of one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. Using the Meyer brothers to amplify this concept reinforces the director's idea that humans are all brothers, and there is a revealing piece of dialogue between Father Daniel (Donovan) and Pitcherica in church, which for me is the centre of the film (and which was unfortunately truncated in the final edit), where Pitcherica explains that he confesses to God personally, and the he feels that God is somehow about to "trip". Of course the trip-up he senses is his own demise, and the taking of innocence from the world, which results in the uniting of the opposing factions previously consumed by hate for each other. I still use this excellent film as a teaching aid for my composition students. Because there are so many strands to the story (and such a global human palette to draw from) many interesting discussions have been had referenced to various scenes in the film. I also get them to re-score a couple of scenes with reference to the discussions we have.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

I need a copy - please help!

7/10
Author: aodonnell10 from Ireland
5 June 2008

My brother and cousin were attending Irish college in Cloghane the Summer that the movie was host there, and both had parts as extras in it, along with helping out in set production and traffic control. As opposed to their daily lesson, this was a welcome (and well paid!) break away from the norm for two young teenagers! I (at the ripe old age of nine) attended the 'premiere' with them in Dingle on a damp and foggy Saturday the following year. Martin Donovan was very gracious with his time, signing autographs, and chatting with our whole family. Twenty four years have passed, the two boys are grown with families and still, it is a common source of conversation whenever we organize a family get together. My brother is now in Germany, and my cousin lives in Italy these days. It would mean so much to me to be able to hand them their own copy of the movie, let alone be in their company while they watch it- just to see the look on their faces! If anyone at all can help me get my hands on a copy -in any condition at all- I would be happy to reimburse any costs incurred. I'm sure someone out there has a copy, so if it's you, please get back to me! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

A.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Where can I buy this or Download the film "A State of Wonder"

9/10
Author: annfitz2003 (annfitz2003@eircom.net) from Ireland
7 March 2014

Is this film " The STATE OF WONDER" available to buy anywhere or download. I am from the village where it was made in - in Cloghane in Co - Kerry, Ireland - There was great excitement in this rural village when this film was being made. It was screened in the Phoenix cinema in Dingle on one occasion after this - the whole community of Cloghane would love to be able to view this. Could anyone please reply to me on this - I saw this film 30 years ago and I would love to see it again I would be most grateful- many thanks contact me at : annfitz2003@eircom.net Is this film " The STATE OF WONDER" available to buy anywhere or download. I am from the village where it was made in - in Cloghane in Co - Kerry, Ireland - There was great excitement in this rural village when this film was being made. It was screened in the Phoenix cinema in Dingle on one occasion after this - the whole community of Cloghane would love to be able to view this. Could anyone please reply to me on this - I saw this film 30 years ago and I would love to see it again I would be most grateful- many thanks contact me at : annfitz2003@eircom.net

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