The Cathedral

The Cathedral

no rating, i was an extra, but i was very moved & impressed by this—at the Q&A Ricky said he had the idea for the film as a college student and aspiring filmmaker at a family funeral, realizing for the first time the depth and complexity of his own history, and you can really see how his modular filmmaking style, with short clips joined by semi-mythic voiceover, scales up into a sustained autobiographical work, a portrait of the artist as a young man in both the first and third person simultaneously, on parallel tracks that never quite meet.

The Carhedral collages together scraps of news footage and tv commercials from an end-of-history childhood, which is both apropos for a suburban nuclear family forming and dissolving, and scrapbook pages like all his postcards and Bressonisn close-ups—i know Ricky’s parents were ardent camera and camcorder people both from his earlier films and because he sent all of us a password-protected Vimeo link to his parents’ wedding video so that if we were bringing our own wardrobe it would match. and memory really does work this way: shots like a child’s eye view of a road atlas in the pouch behind the driver’s seat, or a picture book open on a shallow-pile rug and light through the window, are what it’s like to be a dreamy kid while mommy and daddy are talking about something in the other room. (He has joked that a retrospective of his shorts should be called “Rooms and Sounds.”) And meanwhile the objective voiceover coolly describes estrangements and family secrets over a close-up of a close-up on a child’s drawing on a placemat, because that’s what you were looking at then, and all you remember when you’re reintroduced to these people again as a new adult.

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