Watching Liverpool at the Dryden

I went to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Liverpool and I was very impressed. Jim Healy introduced the film, emphasizing the lack of a complicated story but the beauty of light and humanity. I found the film to be at "human speed" rather than in "movie time". Most movies do away with unnecessary action: for instance, consider all the actions one takes when going from stopping a car in a driveway to sitting in the couch inside — in "movie time", it's done by showing the car stop, an shot of the exterior of the house with the car in the driveway, then the occupant is shown entering from the interior of the house. The ordinary actions of undoing a seatbelt, unlocking a door, or even buttoning up one's coat usually contribute only to making a film unnecessarily long. But at "human speed", we do these things whether we're conscious of it or not.

Liverpool celebrates human speed. At least far more-so than is typical — we are spared the 5 hour journey into port on a freighter, although the existence of that time is not ignored. The story, as Jim said, is remarkably simple: a man on a freighter visits his home, is not well liked, has been forgotten by his mother, and is really only acknowledged by his daughter. Then he leaves. That's the whole movie. But it's in the little moments that make it work. There's little dialog, but so much is offered in its place for the viewer to make their own story.

I had walked to the theater from Ali's house — about 30 minutes or so. I didn't contemplate the trip there, but on the way back, I was aware. I forgot how to understand lateness and hurry: I knew that I was at the right speed.

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