1971-1980ArthouseDocumentaryPeter GreenawayUSA

Peter Greenaway – Act of God (1980)

This is a brilliant short documentary made by the infamous Peter Greenaway for Thames Television program “Take 6” in 1980. For this project, Greenaway tackles the task of interviewing British subjects that have been struck by lightning…and survived to talk about it. The documentary displays Greenaways signature touches, such as the element of Dark Comedy (Greenaways editing, the Monty Pythonesque narrator, the witty writing, that transitory music, and the nature of their stories in general) and, of course, his trademark attention to detail regarding mise-en-scene and framing. First Greenaway gets his subjects to reflect upon their experiences. He also interviews friends, family, doctors and other witnesses whom fill in the blanks where the strikee may have been unable to remember or recollect. He then continues to slowly peel away at his interviewees like an onion, revealing more of their story as he asks them questions, juxtaposing their responses- indulging us in the experience by forcing us to compare and contrast their experiences. Questions such as: how tall are you, what was the first thing you remember after it happened, were you holding anything and what were you wearing on your feet that day? An element of humour is derived from the transitions between questions, in which Greenaway interviews Herzog-like “Experts”, while showing how cinematic lightning effects are made, and providing literary and cinematic references to films and great books that use lightning for various effects on what we now know as a “ticker”. He subsequently reads old newspaper reports of various lighting strike victims- survivors, deaths, and even bizarre lighting related events- like the guy who would climb a hill every time there was a storm with suicidal tendencies, hoping an “Act of God” would end his life, only to be struck by a vehicle and killed while walking up the hill to get hit by lightning. This is really an interesting, intriguing, revealing, beautiful and hilarious film that cannot be missed. A definite 10 out of 10.

source: DVD
filesize: 401 MB (or 410,728 KB or 420,585,472 bytes)
codec: xvid
runtime: 00:27:08 (39,045 fr)
AR: 640x480 (1:1.333)
v.bitrate: 1868 kb/s
fps: 23.976
bpp: .254
audio: ac3 (0x2000) Dolby Laboratories, Inc 192 kb/s (96/ch, stereo) CBR 48000hz



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