Sunday, September 4, 2011

Higher Ground

Higher Ground
dir. Vera Fermiga

It is hard enough to accept a faith based on suffering and redemption and events that you cannot see, feel or hear, but then once you have embraced this faith, to lose it, that is hard indeed. The world is so much starker. There is a feeling of betrayal, as if you had lived the life of a sucker and that potentially those who did not believe were laughing at you, knowing that the beliefs you had were preposterous in the face of real life.

You see life for the harsh reality it is, with unrelieved suffering, no afterlife, unjust tragedy, cruelty winning over goodness, etc. This is the subject of Vera Fermiga’s first film. I admire her ambition, and her clarity of vision in following a young woman through a life of belonging to a strict Christian faith complete with a community of caring souls, through her lapsing into a more intellectual state of mind that causes her to split from her husband, her faith, her community, and find a path that is her own. The movie keeps a tone of respect for those who are faithful and those who are not. The scenes with the more irreverent sister are especially good.

We care for the woman’s journey, and feel the pain of separation from a world that kept her close and safe. Still, I wish she hadn’t used so many people to play the main characters. It is a little distracting to be matching up characters with new faces.
Vera Fermiga

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