Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.
Sublimely Affecting Film
Well, I grew up in a religious home, and I was religious until around 22. I've been an atheist since then, and I had a very hard struggle to leave the religious world. I generally have very little patience with people who really believe in God and other such nonsense and fairy tales. But this film left me breathless, and I don't know why. Interestingly enough, when I heard all the quotes that Windfoot mentions, I wasn't very impressed with them, because they are all basically platitudes, trite expressions and homilies that every kid learns to parrot, religious or not. I felt that all those commonplace ideas like goodness, and kindness, and ethics are ordinary human values, which even a person who is not religious believes. But miracles, revelation, and such are, of course, completely different. The ending of the film was so affecting to me. Partly I think it is because the direction and stylization of the miracle is so honest and unencumbered by the juvenile and silly "special effects" that we have come to expect so often. The way that Dreyer presents the lives of these people--simple, honest, genuine, is so different from most everything we see today. True--there was primitive inhumanity displayed, in the refusal of both fathers to agree to a genuine love match between their children. This was very upsetting. All I could think was--"What would Jesus Christ have said to these two old unfeeling men, who were refusing to allow their children to marry--in the name of a religion based supposedly on love??" Only after Inger dies do they both realize how important love is, in a world callous and unfeeling. The film could conceivably have ended at that point, and it would have been a beautiful, albeit somewhat hackneyed story. Don't forget that the point of the miracle is to illustrate what Johannes (John) claims: That everyone there claims they are religious, but they don't really believe. If they would, they could bring Inger back to life. I am rambling....I really do not understand why this film had such an impact on me. I think it took courage for a filmmaker to go the way he did. Everyone, I suspect, would be tempted to laugh at the ending. I honestly don't know why I didn't. Maybe because it was presented so honestly, without all the trappings of wealth and power that accompany most religious culture, whether Jewish or Christian. But I do think that the film must have a very different meaning for someone who is really religious, believes in God, from the one it had for me. I'm still thinking about what it meant for me, and trying to figure it out. I just saw the film for the first time (Thank you, TCM). More comments maybe later.
- Sep 24, 2006
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