General Orders No. 9 (2010, Robert Persons)

“You are not a witness to the ruin. You are the ruin. You are to be witnessed.”

The quote made me space out for a while, since people near me in the theater had been mentioning Collapse before this one started.

A slideshow of a movie, like a PBS version of The Tree of Life. It alternately seems to be a prayer, a history lesson, and a curse against the city of Atlanta. The movie never feels like explaining its ideas in depth, preferring to crossfade into the next evenly-spaced slide, having the unhurried narrator repeat something he said a half hour ago, valuing experience and images over explanation.

I was pleased that shots of N. Dekalb Mall were used as signifiers of the big corrupt city, since I’ve been angry at that place since I left a screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World covered in ants. Less pleased by the rumbly drone of the music, which only seemed to brighten once in a while.

Ebiri liked it.

“This isn’t a lament for the Old South, or even really for The Way Things Used To Be. There’s an abstractness to the imagery and to the discourse that suggests Persons is talking about a symbolic passing. … The film’s tendency to avoid humans comes across as an attempt not to seal itself off from experience, but to make its imagery even more subjective. … Persons’s lament – his surrender – doesn’t feel like a search. Perhaps because he understands the thing he seeks might never have been there in the first place.”

Cheers to Carros and Fearon for the sweet map graphics.

“The weathervane is the center of it all.”

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