A book club… Cal, Evelyn, Chris and a few others meet up on a regular basis to read Dante’s The Divine Comedy, decoding its theological allusions, discussing the translation choices and arguing about interpretations. What then unfolds is the pleasure of hermeneutic discussion, intellectual debate and the entire range of relationships with knowledge, from enthusiastic ingenuity to scholarly erudition, from deep emotional exploration to monopolising the discussion. Little by little, the field of their investigations expands to include drugs, religious wars, modern architecture and Beethoven’s music (which, strangely, gives the film its title). As the delicate scenes progress with their attention to the sunlight and the variations of the conversation, a history of western civilisation emerges; so, too, do the fault lines that divide the characters. For also in play in the oratorical jousting and the ritualised skirmishes of literary criticism is knowledge’s rapport with listening, between language as a vehicle for exchange and verbal virtuosity as a way of shining in society. Ted Fendt alternates wide shots of the group in mid discussion and close-ups of those speaking, listening or merely contemplating. As well as illustrating the pleasures of interpretative debate and literary and historical exploration, Classical Period also o ers a lesson in attentive listening and paying attention to others. (N.L.)
Original version: English. Subtitles: French. Script: Ted Fendt. Image: Sage Einarsen. Editing: Ted Fendt. Sound: Sean Dunn. Casting : Calvin Engime, Evelyn Emile.
Production: Fendt Film Productions (Graham Swon).
Distribution: Ted Fendt.
Filmography: Short Stay, 2016. Going Out, 2015. Travel Plans, 2013. Broken Specs, 2012.
EP – Histoire(s) de Portrait
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