”A sermon has to be like a woman´s dress. It should long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting”. These wise words (by the way try to change ”sermon” with film) come from the mouth of Father LeDoux, the 76 year old charismatic main character of ”Shake the Devil Off” by Peter Entell, a wonderful warm film about a small New Orleans community fighting to keep their parish and their Father – half a year after the hurricane Katrina put everything into chaos. The Father is their hope but the catholic administration wants to get rid of him.
In tone and approach this is a film that grows out of a European tradition for documentaries, leaving space for the audience to think and feel, whereas the latest film by Errol Morris, ”Standard Operationg Procedure”, is a constant bombardment of noise for every cut, music (that functions like muzak) all over, making every attempt to simplify with a strong graphic design from start till end. One-dimensional. A film playing according to main stream American dramaturgy… what is it about, well it tells about some American soldiers, or rather it lets American soldiers tell what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Accompanied by the photos we have seen so often. But why Morris made the film, what his point is… is totally hidden by style and graphics and sound design.
I am off to Jihlava in Czech Republic. A long journey. It has been a pleasure to be here in Lisbon for a festival with a big audience, a well chosen film programme and a warm hospitality.