The metaphysical aspects of being hit by lightning are presented, with accounts given both by lightning strike survivors and those whose culture believes that lightning strikes are indeed something of a higher power based on specific incidents. Six different stories are told. A man talks about the lightning strike about thirty years ago that almost killed him and did kill one of his friends, they who, among others, were working in a forested area of an Ontario farm that day. A storm chaser talks about the museum in France he created devoted to the effects of lighting on the landscape, the museum located in a region often hit by lightning storms. He also talks about his lifelong and changed fascination with the subject, including why he no longer allows his image to be used in association. A man, who was struck by lightning through a telephone line, talks about changing from a destructive person to one embracing the human experience, having created a volunteer palliative care organization for veterans. A largely black community in Cuba is presented, they who believe in the African lightning god Shango (known as Santa Barbara among Catholics), and what needs to be done to appease him whenever lightning occurs. Some Mexican mothers and one now teenaged survivor tell of a lightning strike that killed a group of children while worshipping at the Holy Cross on a local hilltop, and their views of religion because of that day. And a playwright reflects on nearly being hit when he was fourteen - thirty-four years ago - on a group hike at summer camp, that lightning strike which killed a friend a few feet away while crawling under a barbed wire fence. Because of his work, he looks at the incident from a perspective of trying to figure out if there is a reason for it happening or if it is all just random. Tying together these six stories is another looking at brain activity while in a creative pursuit, the brain waves being akin to electrical impulses, or small lightning strikes, and thus the larger picture of why lightning may have this primal effect on humans. —Huggo
'Act of God' is a film about lightning. There are stories, some miraculous, others tragic, of people who have been struck by it; various people interested in it, or more generally, in the effects of electricity on the human brain, tell us why; and there is also some footage of storms. But there's no science, and no structure either; and the choice of material never seems other than random, the selection is too broad to make the film seem personal, but too sketchy to make the film definitive. The director is clearly in awe of in his subject, but ultimately doesn't appear to have very much to tell us about it, although getting hit by a bolt is clearly a bad idea. In truth, as a viewer, I was bored.
- Jun 17, 2009
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