Friday, March 21, 2014

the police officer's wife

from "A Tale Of Two Festivals: Venice" by Olaf Moller
Film Comment, Nov/Dec 2013

"...the Special Jury Prize for Philip Gröning’s The Police Officer’s Wife — outraged the middlebrow arbiters of taste for daring to demand something from their viewers instead of simply giving them what they supposedly want...

"...Which brings us back to the bruised bodies and battered souls of ... The Police Officer’s Wife. For all the unease and disquiet it provokes, [the film] is a remarkable achievement: a darkly cruel antipode to Gröning’s lightly festive 2005 documentary about monastery life, Into Great Silence. This tale of domestic violence escalating to infanticide is also structured around seasonal and religious cycles and rituals. The aesthetic device of beginning and ending every chapter with a title card was maddening to most—and there are a lot of chapters, some consisting of only one or two shots. Gröning’s rigor might look self-serving or vain, but these fade-ins and -outs are the film’s meter: regardless of what happens in the scenes and from one scene to another, these identically timed intervals recur with absolute regularity—another ritual, so to speak. As religious cinema, The Police Officer’s Wife is an extraordinary meditation on suffering and sacrifice as the bedrock of Christian belief..."