Stop the Pounding Heart: the silent light
by David González
- Roberto Minervini’s third documentary takes faith and youth of the American Deep South to the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival
The American Deep South is a strange universe. In the rural entrails of the United States coexist religion and faith, farming and raising cattle, nature… and alcohol, guns and cowboys. Italian-born and now New York-based documentary filmmaker Roberto Minervini takes us back into that universe in his third movie, now hitting the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival (in competition) after being premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. His first films, The Passage [+see also:
film profile] (2011) and Low Tide [+see also:
film profile] (2012), were also set in rural Texas, portraying the lives of the inhabitants in the most intimate way possible. Stop the Pounding Heart, a coproduction between Italy (Ondarossa Film), Belgium (Poliana Productions) and the United States, sees his contemplative style staring even more at the details of the life of one of them, until it manages to capture a kind of light that is rarely seen.
The camera follows Sara, a girl raised in a very religious family of goat farmers. During her work in the farm, she’s taught to be a caring woman, subservient to men, as well as upright and immaculate, following Christian rules. Sara’s quiet life, surrounded by faith, purity and responsibilities, is turned upside down when it collides with Colby, a young amateur bull rider, and his world of fun, guns, and also faith. Minervini’s eyes are intertwined with those of Sara; they get into her look, willing to discover what life is about. Sara starts questioning the only way of life she’s ever known, the way of life she’d like to have, and her beliefs, without nevertheless affecting her selfless day-to-day routine. Sara’s growth takes place right in front of our eyes, without any obstacles or ornaments to keep us away from her; all covered in a constant silence, at once heavy and lightweight, muddy and spotless.
Minervini depicts Sara’s “pounding heart” by consistently following her through scarce but precious dialogues and powerful images – the shooting practice of a pregnant woman, the birth of a baby, a dreamy picnic in the woods, a burning cross in the night. Stop the Pounding Heart is an intimate, quiet and sincere documentary film, one that tries to find the ethereal brightness, which, for example, Carlos Reygadas managed to catch in his superb Silent Light [+see also:
film profile]. The same brightness that Sara is looking for throughout the movie.
(Translated from Spanish)
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