Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Song of Songs (2015) New York Jewish Festival 2016

Very deliberate, mannered and beautifully composed love story that begins in a small Jewish village in 1905 where a young boy and girl fall in love. Years later, after leaving the village he returns on the eve of the girls wedding to another.

If you don't like art films where the films are works of art,meaning they are very mannered and very much about something then you may find SONG OF SONGS 75 minutes a tough haul. If on the other hand if  you can go with a deliberate film that uses voice overs, tableaux, and poetic dialog and allusion then you are going to have a sumptuous feast.

Reminding me of the work of Sergei Parajanov fused with the work of Tarkovsky and shot full of nostalgia, SONG OF SONGS is a frequently breath taking film. Its a kind of cinema, literary, theatrical mash up that ponders the nature of love and what we remember of it and of our lives. This last point is key since the film hinges to a large degree on the return of the boy to the village and his being confronted by the reality of life which is very much at odds with how he remembers things and his idealized view of life. Things are not how he left them or expected them to be.

As glorious as it is in moments, much of the film left me distanced from it. I could not connect to the film on an emotional level  despite fully engaging with it intellectually. I was never fully caught up with it or connected to it by my heart.  The result is I like and admire the film instead of loving it - at the same time I know the film is a work of art even if it's not fully to my liking.

SONG OF SONGS plays tomorrow at the New York Jewish Film Festival. For tickets and more information go here

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