SVS: “Ostrov”

Ostrov

It’s Good Friday. A potentially-awkward day to be recommending a movie, yes. Especially because I’m planning to go film-free today, myself — as, I’m sure, are many of you. But it’s also a day with a surprising number of options. And a day when I can honestly say that I’ve benefited from a bit of [Read More...]

Gesualdo’s “Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday”

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The name “Tenebrae” — Latin for “shadows” or “darkness” – has been given because this Office is celebrated in the hours of darkness, formerly in the evening or just after midnight, now the early morning hours. There is an impressive ceremony, peculiar to this Office, which tends to perpetuate its name. There is placed in the [Read More...]

Chesnokov’s “Let My Prayer Arise!”

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Da ispravitsya molitva moya, yako kadilo pred Toboyu: vozdeyanie ruku moeyu, zhertva vechernyaya. Gospodi, vozzvakh k Tebe, uslïshi mya: vonmi glasu moleniya moyego, vnegda vozzvati mi k Tebe. Polozhi, Gospodi, khranenie ustom moim: i dver ograzhdeniya o ustnakh moikh. Ne ukloni serdtse moe v slovesa lukavstviya: nepshchevati vinï o gresekh. TRANSLATION: Let my prayer arise [Read More...]

Musical Mediation for Holy Week

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It’s time once again to embark on one of my longest-standing personal spiritual traditions: Finding some time during Holy Week to listen to J.S. Bach’s towering masterpiece, the Matthäus Passion. It grows progressively more difficult each year, because “some time” actually means 3+ hours. And Lent seems to fly by more rapidly each year. And [Read More...]

SVS: “The Conversation”

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Monday marked the 40th Anniversary of what I have long considered Francis Ford Coppola’s best film (“to date,” Joseph says hopefully). A film which I now happily share with y’all: The Conversation is currently available from NETFLIX INSTANT. I realize that’s a bit of a controversial claim, given that the legendary Godfathers feature prominently in his filmography. But I can’t [Read More...]

“With Gusto and Lust” — Johnny Cash on Suffering, Success, The Classics, and The Gospel

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Every time I begin to despair of the InterWebs and their ability to offer anything of legitimate value, they come along with something that changes my mind. The latest example, courtesy of the Blank on Blank folks? A wonderfully animated (in several senses) interview with the legendary Man in Black, Johnny Cash (put together from an interview recorded [Read More...]

SSF: “The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay”

LookingUp

I realize that today’s short this is a bit more philosophical than my usual fare, but not to worry. I don’t really understand Plato’s ubiquitous Cave allegory — whether I’m dealing with it in written or in animated form. So we’re good. Claymation has always been a bit tricky for me, honestly. I love the amount of patience [Read More...]

SVS: “Mud”

Mud

One of my favorite films from last year is now available on both NETFLIX INSTANT and AMAZON PRIME: Mud, from Jeff Nichols. It’s a hard film for me to describe, really. Somehow, it retains a distinctive personality despite an abundance of obvious predecessors and influences. Imagine Huck Finn meets Flannery O’Connor, with a dash of Faulkner, a [Read More...]

This Year’s Nominated Documentaries Are ALL on Netflix

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I love documentaries. Always have. Yet one of the much/most-lamented facts of my early cinematic education was that it was astonishingly hard to get my hands on them. With the Streaming Revolution, that’s all changed. Yet the forced documentary frugality of those early years makes it hard for me to grasp that fact, even now. [Read More...]

SSF: “The Monk & The Monkey”

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This one’s short and straightforward, yes.  But also visually inventive — the tree and the time-lapse sequence actually made me catch my breath — and the story is charming despite its predictability: I was not familiar with the short’s directorial duo – Brendan Carroll and Francesco Giroldini — but a quick search turned up the fact that [Read More...]


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