Angelic and Destructive: “Consuming Spirits” as a Meditation on Beauty and Decay

581699_334661929988348_1994434140_nBecause I couldn’t take notes, and because I have no way of revisiting what I want so desperately to discuss, this cannot and will not be as extensive a write-up as I would like it to be. But I just want to encourage everyone who might stumble across this post to try to see the film Consuming Spirits if they ever get the chance. It’s currently traveling around with the filmmaker, and I have no idea when or if it will be released for purchase, so if you happen to hear that it’s playing near you, make sure you see it.

I had the enormous fortune of being able to see Consuming Spirits at the Brattle in Cambridge this past Tuesday, and I loved it as much as (if not more than) I thought I would based on the trailer (which I first saw two years ago and have been waiting with baited breath to see the full film ever since).

Chris Sullivan, the writer/director, made Consuming Spirits over the course of 15 years, and when you watch it you can tell. It’s so very clearly a labor not only of love, but of deep thoughtfulness, insight, and feeling as well.

3604_290373447750530_1995993915_nDuring the Q&A afterwards, Sullivan said that he believes we all have two tendencies inside of us, two integral parts: the angelic, and the destructive. Consuming Spirits is a breath-taking exploration and manifestation of the intersection of those two ineffable human forces. And it manages to be up to the task. Its visual style allows the story to be told not only through narrative-driven scenes, but through tiny abstracted moments broken open by the surreal cascading of objects through conversations, bodies through bannisters, voices and memories through time itself. It often feels more like a poem that’s been brought to life, or a grotesque dream that’s been wrung out of the ether and molded into recognizable form. It’s kind of hard to describe–but I’ll chalk that up to the fact that I don’t have any notes.

Updates on screenings of the film are being posted to its Facebook page here, and you can check out the trailer below.


About Adam Lauver

consider me a lesson deftly taught.
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