Serena, Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Directed by Susanne Bier

Second SightA very interesting film from 2929 Productions, distributed by Magnolia Pictures, which follows a certain line of endeavor by this group of artists and business people: unmitigated commitment to the deep.

This is a difficult story, of plainer less glamorous Americans, facing hard times and the psychological hardships of inner turmoil, not bandaged by easy therapeutic modalities. No they don’t sparkle with the usual heroic gymnastics of American studio made films. Not all problems are overcome in bright light, at the last moment, for the betterment of humanity.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star. You get to see the growth of good actors working out characters of depth and complexity, and in this case, self degradation.

The second theme consistent with the interests of this group of film makers, is that intuitive knowledge is the feared but firm bedrock of the American soul.

One of the characters has visions, knows things, but instead of being tutored in the arts and boundaries which would allow him to keep both himself and others safe, he lowers his knowing into a form of murderous protection. He kills. Without spoiling anything, he also comes to a tumultuous reckoning for his actions.

We as Americans have yet to be able to address intuitive knowledge without resorting to hysterics about witchcraft, or diminishment through humor. This time it is the old man in the woods who knows things, and is punished for it. Yet you get to see what fear and ignorance does with this power.

I am watching the growth of Magnolia, 2929 and Bier, in their unwavering commitment to difficult subjects, done slow, with a new form of American insight and artistry, that enters the dark.

These stories harken back to our grandparents and further ancestral lives. We are given the opportunity to see American concerns, prior to our own times. What seems obvious to us now in this film, includes arguments on ecology, wildlife, working protections, colonialism, and even unwed mothers, all at their origins.

The gigantic panther that the main character hunts, is an image for that desire to control and kill something beautiful, wild and powerful. What refuge do humans have against this outer prey, when they have not tamed themselves?

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