Saturday, September 2, 2023

God is a Woman (2023) Venice 2023 Toronto 2023

In 1975,Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau, an Oscar-winning French filmmaker for SKY ABOVE MUD BELOW went to the Guna Yala islands off Panama’s Caribbean coast to make a film about the Kuna community. He lived with them for over a year and shot a film about the fiercely independent people. The trouble was because of financial reasons  the film disappeared into a creditors vault seeming to disappear forever.  Filmmaker Andrés Peyrot and member of the Kuna people Orgun Wagua follow Arysteides Turpana as he attempts to get a copy of the film to show his fellow Kuna the film from 50 years ago.

This is a great film.  

Starting out as a film about the making of a film and about the people who were profiled in it, the film suddenly explodes in the last half hour has a copy of the original film is located a the film is screened for the Kuna people, most of whom had only heard the stories of the original film. It is here in these moments that the film produces a very real cinematic magic that speaks to anyone who has ever seen any sort of film. What I mean by this is that in the moments when we watch the Kuna watching a film about them the walls of cinema collapse. Time compresses. People see themselves and their loved ones alive once more. The Kuna get to see all of the the things and the people that they only heard about in stories. Legend becomes reality.

Watching the end of the film I was made misty repeatedly. I  connected to what I was seeing on a personal level as I remembered when I saw old home movies of relatives I had only heard about. I remember listening to my parents and other relatives reacting to the people on the screen as if they were live. Stories fell from their lips. It was a magic I had lived.

On an intellectual level GOD IS A WOMAN is a magnificent statement about why movies matter. Why do we go to the movies and what the ghosts up on the screen? It s because they bring the dead to life and the past to the present. Yes we have had this discussion before but rarely has there ever been such a magnificent illustration of that point.

I absolutely loved this film it is a film that moved my soul and opened up my eyes once more to things I thought I knew.

Highly recommended.

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