In Memory of Myself | Chicago Reader

In Memory of Myself

Saverio Costanzo's slow, somber religious drama caused a steady stream of walkouts when I saw it screened at the Toronto film festival, which seems ironic given the subject: a class of novice monks washing out one by one as they find the limits to their faith. The central character (Christo Jivkov) arrives at the Jesuit seminary on the Ventian island of San Giorgio Maggiore and embraces its severe regimen of silence and prayer. Yet the community's core values of obedience and humility begin to lose their luster as he gets to know his fellow novitiates; the brighter ones tend to leave, departing not in shame but with new and exciting insights into themselves. One can't become a lamb of God without being a sheep among men, Costanzo suggests, though in the end he comes back around to the principle of erasing one's ego in pursuit of spiritual transcendence. By that time, however, most of the audience may have transcended the theater. In Italian with subtitles. 115 min.

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