God's Got His Head In The Clouds

God's Got His Head In The Clouds


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This film looks amazing. It's genuinely, startlingly beautiful - lush, crisp, artfully black and white, like coffee-table photography given life. It sounds amazing, with an original score by Angelo Badalamenti. It could be amazing, a two-hander between a priest and a young girl who wishes to sue God. Sadly, it isn't.

Perhaps, perhaps it would feel more powerful for those from a more Catholic mileu, but one finds oneself reminded of decades-old Madonna videos and that film with Billy Connolly. Gianluca Sodaro's direction can't be faulted, with Ramunus Greicius' as director of photography they have made something that draws the eyes as much as it invites superlatives. The establishing exterior shots are stark, hypnotic, and Jurgita Gerdvilaite's production design seems spot on.

Copy picture

The script, however, is much less accomplished. Franco Pistoni's priest is stick-like and awkward in his cassock, a face made of expressions on top of a uniform. Silvia Sodaro gives a well-judged performance, the sing-song lilt of her lullaby of grievances a particular highlight. There's some neat subtitling work, some good reactions, but this is old ground here and it's badly navigated.

If we do it the credit of assuming it's deliberate, the repeated use of "who on Earth?" and "where on Earth?" and so forth, the occasional "blessed", they're all laborious and heavy handed. One might as well ring a bell to indicate thematic relevance. That's despite some lovely moments - "How on earth do you sue God?" "I sat down... and filled in the form", "I even signed [it]."

There's a shot that feels unnecessary - after taking such pains to locate us in the church, to acknowledge the world outside is jarring, clumsy. The ending too is blunt and stumbling, not a deus ex machina but no less forceful. What could be a striking moral moment, a single candle burning, seems almost immediately subsumed into what seems a continuity error. That said, it cannot be stressed highly enough how gorgeous, how inviting the skies and shades of grey are made - odd angles in the titles, the text of the credits agitated. This is a thing that is beautifully composed. Slow zooms, close shots, and that Angelo Badalamenti score - two pieces, God's Got His Head In The Clouds and Redlove, sitting in this film that feels in places like it's trying too hard to not go far enough. There's an "inspired by true events" in the end credits, which serves only to further stretch credulity.

If the intent is to serve us a work of art that is jaw-dropping in its intensity, brought about in service to a moral that's simplistic, repetitive, and trite, then there's some deep metatextual commentary going on. One suspects, however, that that's reaching - this is a cloud that has caught the light in a spectacular way, but there's no solidity.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2012
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A small girl challenges God over what she considers to be His dishonest behaviour.

Director: Gianluca Sodaro

Writer: Gianluca Sodaro

Starring: Franco Pistoni, Silvia Sodaro

Year: 2012

Runtime: 14 minutes

Country: Italy, Lithuania


EIFF 2012

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