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Johan (Cornelio Wall Fehr), a Mennonite living in Mexico, is tormented with guilt over his extramarital affair with Marianne (Maria Pankratz). His father (Peter Wall), best friend (Jacobo Klassen) and wife (Miriam Toews) know the truth, but Johan's suffering has to do with his faith, which he can't reconcile with his deeds. Written by
Art confuses itself with life, if only you open your arms to it.
There are two ways of making a movie genius. One way is you make it an exciting storytelling, with lots of twists, surprises and well placed moments of tension turned to gold by great acting and tasteful camera angles and lighting.
The other way is this.
People will say this movie is boring. It is. They will say it drags itself. It does.
But while it does, it becomes painstakingly realistic. An average Joe doesn't spend his life fighting terrorists and being tossed around by the explosions he can't avoid, and while an average Joe can have a war land on his head or a ship sink under his feet, the really unlucky Joe will spend his life trying to make a living with no real chances of a worldwide tragedy turning him into a martyr or a hero.
"Stellet Licht" doesn't feed you the story. The key to deciphering this movie is that you must notice most shots are in a sort of "point of view" mode that keeps telling you "this could be you. What would you think right now? What would you do?".
And while it doesn't feed you everything, actions and dialogues, no matter how simple they sound at first are deeply meaningful and provide amazing food for thought. Marshall MacLuhan once described movies as "hot" media, demanding attention to find the meaning while leaving little space for your own participation as most is fed to you. A movie like "The Preadator" is hot; it doesn't immerse you as much as it attacks your senses of hearing and seeing.
In "Stellet Licht" while visuals and sound are of crucial importance in the beauty of the shots, the movie keeps a constant dialogue with the viewer and it's this viewer who ends up making a great part of the movie. This would be the definition of a "cool" media. In the end, everybody will have seen this movie differently and it will be a very intimate experience if only you lay the popcorn's aside and think about what is being shown to you.
Watch it with your significant other and you will realize there is so much to talk about, unlike with many other movies that leave you with trivialities and little more. So "Stellet Licht" is more than amazing story telling, it's what a dear friend of mine calls art: something that intertwines and confuses itself with real life.
If not for everybody, certainly not for those who expect a movie to spoon feed them and are not willing to incorporate and reinterpret the experience, but for those who are willing to think and discuss some of the strong subjects of this movie, "Stellet Licht" is a not just a movie, but an enlightening experience.
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