Sunday, April 21, 2013

Old Fashioned Therapy

Jesus, du Weisst/Jesus, You Know (2003) - Seidl
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Seidl's doc on individual prayers gets blessings from many of participants, praying for film's success in the beginning of the film. As they pray to Jesus in front of the camera set on pew level, in various grand empty churches, which usually starts "Jesus, du weisst..." (Jesus, you know..., hence the title), you feel that their faith in god is more to do with solving their earthly problems (mostly relationship/marital) through talking to themselves. Seidl's detached approach in these tableaux can be seen as ironical or mocking since Catholicism is losing grip in Europe and other alternatives have taken the place of religion (therapy, happy pills, etc). But I'd like to think that it is sincere reflection of our society where religious faith seems extraordinarily old-fashioned and out of place. It is still a feat to get ordinary people's innermost thoughts in their most private moments (but this time, with their clothes on) on film, as they ask for guidance/strength in killing their spouse with poison, in avoiding having erotic fantasies involving the bible, in getting over fear of dying, etc.

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