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Archive for May 18th, 2017

And on the 8th day, God created rudimentary film language.

THIEF forehead number

by Robert Hornak

To my regret I never spoke, online or live, to Mr. Fish, so I never had the pleasure or benefit of the conversation or guidance or iron-sharpening-iron experience that so many here have spoken of. But I can guess what he might’ve thought of me. I’m woefully uneducated in world cinema, past or present – though I’m trying – but I think I may still be well above average for the general population. See how I just threw the general population under the bus? Point is, I don’t have much of a gauge for what he may or may not like or dislike among the several options I laid out for myself as a contribution to the festival christened in his honor. I’ve been afraid I’d stir some brand of offence, vis-à-vis his sensibilities, with almost anything I’ve looked to put up, so why not, I thought, just go ahead and stray far afield and help ensure a minor blasphemy by putting up a piece of overwrought and possibly irredeemable docu-fiction masquerading as mid-century Christian propaganda? My great hope is that despite its failings on several easily discernable levels, my choice is taken in the spirit of sharing niche-y artifacts, whether its passion and value aren’t quite so quickly discernable.

Thing is, I’ve been fascinated by this relic of apocalyptic fear-mongering since the day I first laid eyes on it at the age of 12 at a church camp in Louisiana, and I’ve needed to write about it ever since. Full disclosure: I was and am a church-goer, born and bred in the drawling (if not drooling) buckle of the Bible belt, at once a product of my evangelical upbringing and an expert post-indoctrination chronicler of it. I need not be the one to point out, there was and is a strain of religion in our country that rivals the worst of any enemy with whom we’ve courted Armageddon, and it plagues us to this day in ways insidious, fracturing, hilarious, and sad, depending on which way you’re letting the light of reason and decorum hit it.

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