Skip to comments."This is a triumph of a film."
Posted on 11/05/2009 10:42:57 AM PST by NYer
This is a triumph of a film. And I dont think Ive ever used that word for a film before. The 13th Day was screened here at the 1st Annual John Paul II Film Festival in Miami: http://www.jp2filmfestival.com/. British producer Natasha Howes (birthday: May 13, feast of Our Lady of Fatima) was present.
I was prepared not to like this film, and very apprehensive about not liking it because I was a panelist. Two friends had already seen it and didnt seem to know what to do with the film, how to react to it. I knew it was in black and white, and not only that, it was presented in the noir genre. Although Im a fan of b/w, I know that the younger generation is not, and I fully expected something sensationalized, and perhaps amateurish. I also love the oldie-goldie movie Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, and consider it definitive. I couldnt imagine anything topping it or even coming close. All of my fears were unwarranted.
The 13th Day was created to spread the message of Fatima (a wealthy benefactor is making this his lifes mission, and approached Natasha who connected him with the Higgins brothers, Ian and Dominic, who wrote, directed, shot and edited the film). It was going to be a ten-minute informational short, but it morphed into a feature film. The Brothers Higgins (our new Catholic Coen brothers?) have a very particular artistic view and have combined older film-making techniques and sensibilities (think Passion of Joan of Arc, Citizen Kane, Diary of a Country Priest, with a pinch of Westerns thrown in) with modern digital film making capabilities. The result? Stunning genius and a truly intense religious and spiritual experience. This would make an excellent retreat film.
I dont particularly care for the above-mentioned films from which 13th Day draws. However, 13th Day has made me appreciate this style of film and actually enjoy it. Thats talent. (Much the way the movies Moonstruck and Life is Beautiful changed my mind about opera and made me understand it and like it.)
This is a highly stylized film. Ultra-dramatic blocking, soft focus, chiaroscuro, use of surreal, almost-colorized color, all help us focus on what CANNOT be seen. The choice of a kind of serious, spooky, supernatural thriller tone (replete with requisite ravens) is rigidly adhered to. And why not? Were talking grave spiritual warfare here: World War I, World War II, hellwhat matters could be more weighty? And real? However, the film doesnt feel stiff. It is luminous. The actors get to emote as the camera lingers on the human face. The three children are first generation Portuguese non-actors, and they give natural, realistic performances, almost in contrast to their more polished adults counterparts. Our Ladys face is beautiful, luminescent and glimpsed through bright white light. This film portrays Our Lady of Fatima almost as Our Lady of Sorrows. But it makes sensethe world was enduring incredible suffering during the Great War, and Our Lady could see, in God, the future suffering of the 20th century.She later writes: "I could go on and on about this film. But when you buy the DVD this December, make sure you watch it with your friends on a big screen. And pray a rosary afterward." Read her entire post.
The 13th Day is going to be shown in numerous cities beginning this month. Check out show times on the movie's website.
Sign up as a fan on the movie's Facebook page and get frequent updates and other information.
Watch the trailer and several clips.
To find out more about the film, go to www.the13thdaymovie.com, which includes detailed information about the movie, free downloads, and the story of Fatima.
bump to remind myself
I am looking forward to the film.
It’s timing couldn’t be more important. And it seems it’s well made, I can’t wait to see it!