February 25, 2009

online movie discussion - Lars and the Real Girl

Last week's film discussion was an awesome experience! We had a group of almost 30 people who discussed Lars and the Real Girl and enjoyed each other's fellowship. I realized afterward that there was far more to be discussed than we could have covered in an evening, so I decided to open up the discussion here. What's even better is that now others can join in the discussion who were unable to attend!

Below I've posted some of the questions that we discussed, along with a few that we somehow passed over. Enjoy!

  1. What is your first reaction to the film?

  2. What tone is the film attempting to set? What cues helped set this tone? In what ways do you think that the filmmakers achieved the tone well? Poorly?

  3. What effect does the type of doll that Bianca is have upon the film? Could she have been a mannequin? A crash-test dummy?

  4. What role does the setting play in the film? Would it have been a different movie it had been set in another part of the US or during a different time of year?

  5. What was your initial reaction to Bianca? Discuss the reactions of others in the film. (Which character are you most like in regards to his/her reaction? Why?)

  6. What purpose does Bianca serve in Lars’ life? What sort of things do you use to replace real things?

  7. What is Lars attempting to cope for with Bianca? What are your coping mechanisms? How do you deal with change?

  8. Describe the role of Dagmar, both in Lars' life and in the town.

  9. Did you catch what passage from the Bible was read later in the film? Is Lars the only one in the film that needs to hear this message? What “childish things” do you still cling to? How have you been able to put them away? How have others helped you do this?

  10. Do you think that this is a realistic film? Is the film trying to be realistic? (parable) One review derisively calls it “silly and whimsical.” Do you agree with the sentiment, if not the tone, of this remark? Do you think the filmmakers intended this sort of reaction? What about the characterization of the small town and the members of the church? When is the unbelievable more true than the believable?

  11. Why does the town react the way that it does? What does the movie have to say about community? Is this real community in your opinion? What do you think is done well? What could be done better?

  12. I’m reminded of a refrain from Sir Paul McCartney: “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” How does the film attempt to answer this question?
Also, here are a few helpful reviews that are available online:
So have at it! Post your thoughts in the comments section for this post. Please include your name with your posts. I don't expect things to get out of hand, but please treat this discussion as if you were in the same room with the others who are joining in. I will moderate the discussion as needed.

February 17, 2009

movie discussion - Lars and the Real Girl

This Friday, we'll be viewing and discussing Lars and the Real Girl. It will be the first discussion group in a series I'm calling How To Read A Film. here's the blurb from the bulletin:
We will ... discuss different ways to participate actively with movies and engage with the filmmmakers. Our purpose is to explore how the art and the science of filmmaking speaks to the lives and hearts of the viewer.
All are welcome! Bring a friend, too. There's nothing needed for you to prepare for the group, just come ready to discuss the film afterwards. Contact me (music [at] gracepres [dot] com) for more information.

View a trailer for the film below:

February 02, 2009

art of the month - albrecht dürer

each month, I'm going to attempt (to remember) to highlight either an artist or a work of art.

this month's subject: Albrecht Dürer

Dürer was a German painter during the early 16th century, right at the start of the Reformation. He is both renowned for his painting and his woodcuts, but I believe that it is his work in the latter category that has made the greatest impact on his period and those that followed.

The subject above, "The Four Horsemen," is from his series on the Apocalypse of St. John. These woodcuts were accompanied by the text of the last book of the Bible upon which the series is based. I seem to remember hearing that it was a German translation of the text, which would have been unheard of at the turn of the 16th Century (17 years before Luther and Wittenberg), as all Scripture in the West was in Latin and was only to be handled by leaders of the church. To have created something that put the text into the hands of the people (even if I am mistaken, and it was accompanied by a Latin text) counts Dürer as a Pre-Reformer.

The vision that this single work of 15 woodcuts also influenced for years to come the understanding in the West of the book of Revelation and was a precursor to the Illustrated Bibles that grew in popularity in the 19th and 20th Centuries. (When you hear about door-to-door salesmen selling Bibles, it was multi-volume illustrated Bibles!) Also, the visual style of both this and Dürer's other woodcuts has turned up in the art of Comic Books and Graphic Novels.

I am highlighting Dürer this month as there is an exhibition at the Cantor Arts Center through February 15. The exhibition--"Dürer to Picasso"--is highlighting many of the important painters from the Renaissance through WWII. Though I am not sure how many works by Dürer will be on display, I'm sure it'll be a worthwhile exhibit to visit. I am planning on going to this in the next week, so I will try to report back with my thoughts.