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Act of God (DVD Review)

20 Jan, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 1/26/10
Box Office $0.01 million
$29.99 DVD
Not rated.
Featuring Paul Auster, Dannion Brinkley, Fred Frith.

Usually I’d recommend not watching bonus material until after the movie, but for Act of God I think it might help to start with the interview with director Jennifer Baichwal. Doing so will help viewers understand the framework and context of a film that by design shies away from structure.

The documentary concerns itself with the human need to find significance in random events, and focuses on seven stories of people affected by lightning. Baichwal cites people being hit by lightning as the quintessential example of the paradox of being singled out by randomness.

In one story, five children were killed when lightning struck a cross around which they were praying. Others witnessed childhood friends killed by lightning and became writers to try to assign meaning to it.

Another man who survived a hit becomes a spiritual guru and devotes his life to helping those who are dying cross over.

As a bonus the DVD includes Paul Greenaway’s 1980 half-hour short film Lightning: Act of God, a collection of interviews with lightning strike survivors.   

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