Sunday, 16 June 2013

Documentary Sunday - General Orders No. 9

Sunday's are lazy, so why not take the time to sit down, relax and open your mind to exciting new worlds of knowledge, intrigue and opinions.

Before you even start to watch the documentary, there is already a certain lever of intrigue based solely around the fact that the main image for this poetic/visual feast is a rather large rabbit smoking a pipe. It has nothing really to do with the film itself. Not literally anyway. "General Orders No. 9" feels like what would happen if the state of Georgia hired Terrence Malick to make a tourist film for them, only to let him get carried away with it.

The film is a love letter to the American Deep South, filled with a lyrical narration that slowly moves the film forwards. Each sentence, carefully worded and expertly pronounced, adds depth and meaning to the images on screen, but it feels more like a lecture than an explanation. It's not a long film but it can feel like it drags on at times.

Visually however, the film strikes every note. The scenes of nature, beautifully captured, haunt the screen. They aren't polished and the director didn't wait for the ideal day to shoot but instead they capture how a person would see it on an everyday basis and this makes the experience more personal. Animated maps chronicle the urban development; simple but very effective. In the end, the visuals and the prose amount for a rather unique experience that feels more like a dream.

Who Does it Appeal To?
The obvious answer here would be any residents of the deep south (or people with a strong connection to it) however anyone who is also a fan of Malick's strong, hypnotising visuals will find some very similar themes and techniques here too. This is not an easy documentary to watch, and it is likely to bore many, but to just sit back and listen and watch you may find a rather mesmorising journey awaits.

What to Take Away From It?
Modernisation can be as beautiful as it is devastating.
At least I think that was what it tried to imply...

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