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Act of God (2010)

Paul Auster , Fred Frith , Jennifer Baichwal  |  NR |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Auster, Fred Frith, James O'Reilly
  • Directors: Jennifer Baichwal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002NN7EVK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Act of God" on IMDb

Special Features

Video interview with director Jennifer Baichwal
Peter Greenaway's rare 1980 short Lightning: Act of God
Peter Greenaway and Fred Frith video interviews and performance footage
Paul Auster reads from four of his works, including City of Glass
Theatrical trailers

Editorial Reviews

Is being hit by lightning a random natural occurrence or a predestined event? Accidents, chance, fate and the elusive quest to make sense out of tragedy underpin director Jennifer Baichwal's (Manufactured Landscapes) captivating new work, an elegant cinematic meditation on the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning. To explore these profound questions, Baichwal sought out riveting personal stories around the world--from a former CIA assassin and a French storm chaser, to writer Paul Auster and improvisational musician Fred Frith. The philosophical anchor of the film, Auster witnessed his friend get struck dead by lightning as a teenager, and has been wrestling with its import on destiny ever since. In a neurological experiment, Frith improvises with his guitar to demonstrate the ubiquity of electricity in our bodies and the universe. Visually dazzling and aurally seductive, ACT OF GOD singularly captures the harsh beauty of the skies and the lives of those who have been forever touched by their fury.


DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
- 16:9 anamorphic transfer, enhanced for widescreen TVs
- Video interview with director Jennifer Baichwal
- Peter Greenaway's rare 1980 short Lightning: Act of God
- Peter Greenaway and Fred Frith video interviews and performance footage
- Paul Auster reads from four of his works, including City of Glass
- Theatrical trailers
- English closed captioning for the deaf and hearing impaired

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Never Think About Lightning Casually, Again! January 26, 2010
Format:DVD
In an earlier age, we had painters, sculptors, stained-glass artisans and stonemasons who could open our eyes in fresh ways. Today, documentary filmmakers may have the best shot at our ever-shortening attention spans--partly because their films bring us vivid glimpses of honest-to-goodness truth.

In 75 minutes of "Act of God," Jennifer Baichwal invites us to break out of old patterns of thinking as we explore lightning--as well as creativity, chance and coincidence.

I found novelist Paul Auster the most fascinating person in the film. As "Act of God" opens, he explains to us: "It has something of the Divine about it--something just so transcendently scary about it. It opened up a whole realm of speculation that I've continued to live with ever since and I think it's deeply implanted in all the work I've done, all the writing I've done and everything I've thought about ever since."

He's talking about a traumatic experience in his childhood when he witnessed lightning strike--and kill--a boy named Ralph.

Hearing Auster talk about this experience makes one think long and hard about his strange body of work like the metaphysical mystery novels, The New York Trilogy (Green Integer), where "catching a bad guy" isn't really the point of the stories. These books are far more disturbing than typical mysteries because they're really mysteries about the nature of mystery itself.

As "Act of God" unfolds there are several speculative "sub plots"--for example, one in which the filmmaker visits scientists trying to map electrical patterns in the brain.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying March 5, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What a terrible load of crap. This was not what the description of the movie promised at all. I was looking forward to hearing experiences of people who had been directly hit by lightning and survived. This was mostly people describing lightning strikes that happened next to them and threw them away from the blast.

There were maybe 2 stories in the whole movie that came close to what I needed.

The rest were sob stories about how lightning had taken this or that relative or friend of the people interviewed.

Which may make me sound insensitive, but this wasn't why I bought the movie.

I also didn't buy the movie so bible thumpers could try to brain wash me. Which is also another thing I was displeased with. >_<
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