Stop the Pounding Heart Screen 9 articles

Stop the Pounding Heart

2013

Stop the Pounding Heart Poster
  • Mivervini evokes a quiet naturalness to match the unassuming beauty of his images by utilizing non-professional performers, such as teenagers Sara Carlson and Colby Trichell... Their characters, barely altered versions of themselves, are the two most prominent players in a love triangle that emerges in the rural backwoods of Waller, Texas, but Minervini's focus tilts toward bigger themes of femininity, theology, and domesticity rather than scintillation.

  • A film that creates a moody, alien-eyed fiction out of [Sara and Tim's] day-to-day lives as devout Christians on a Texas farm. They’re happy to distinguish between what’s documentary and what Minervini exaggerated or concocted, but only by way of illuminating a work of art they respect and seem to adore.

  • Viewers on guard for the sin of condescension will have their expectations dashed. Minervini has clearly earned his performers’ trust, and refrains from editorializing. If anything, his and cinematographer Diego Romero Suarez-Llanos’s HD camera is too in awe of the locals’ quotidian routines and the soggy environs of Waller, Texas. But with a delicate touch, Minervini is able to fashion his material into a quietly compelling narrative.

  • Reflecting his background in non-fiction filmmaking, Minervini focuses on what at first may seem like interstitial moments of youthful leisure, but in his respect for his characters’ inner lives and the histories of his chosen locale, he makes such fleeting passages feel like what they are: the foundation of a life lived as an individual.

  • A sociological portrait, with thick brushstrokes but finely delineated characters, Stop the Pounding Heart, particularly in the shots of Sara tending to goats, recalls Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)... Minervini employs Bressonian emotional distance, where acting is reduced to a minimum, enhancing the film’s naturalism, and contradictions are sustained, without a nod to dramatic resolution.

  • The spiritual style in cinema may strive toward this ineffable and invisible essence, but any claims on behalf of film or faith to transcend this are specious in nature. Like a good disciple, Minervini entreats humbly upon his material. More than the sum of its avowed influences, Stop the Pounding Heartevidences a supplicant style of filmmaking.

  • Like a significant portion of low-budget, serious-minded independent work taking place today, Stop the Pounding Heart falls squarely in the trend of on-location, non-actor-employing, process-oriented hybrid filmmaking. Thankfully, though, it bares no disingenuous traces of bandwagon-hopping... Minervini, whose name we’ll hopefully see more of, has fashioned a film rich in psychological mystery and ethnographic texture.

  • Italian filmmaker Minervini came to a rural-Texas dairy farm and cast young Sara Carlson and her devoutly religious family as versions of themselves, gave them some loosely-framed narrative scenes to work with and then proceeded to make something that feels like a Direct Cinema classic. Real and staged elements have never been more naturally compressed into a quietly powerful piece of cinema.

  • The ethics are complex - on the one hand it's unfair for the parents to be imposing this regime, esp. when they themselves grew up 'normal'; on the other, it's not like the girls are prisoners, and most of them plan to leave the farm when they're older - but the film is mostly hushed, intimate, technically stunning (in terms of non-pros as actors) and kind of remarkable. Might've added half a star if I could figure out what people are saying half the time.

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