Gerry. That’s right. Fuckin’ Gerry.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Gerry is a film about two guys, both named Gerry, who get lost in a desert without food or water. The film literally follows them as they walk, and walk, and walk, and walk deeper into the desert and further away from sanctuary. This film was booed at Sundance, so is it any surprise that I love it?
Now, I’m a sucker for meditative ruminations on a theme, and Gerry is a master class in meditative rumination. The opening itself is simply five or so minutes of the camera following the two Gerrys as they drive towards their destination. Playing over this sequence is the beautiful Arvo Part composition, “Spiegel Im Spiegel”, one of two of Part’s minimalist orchestrations featured in the film.
It is with “Spiegel Im Spiegel” that we are provided our first invitation to consider the themes at play. Although we are not aware of it at this juncture, the film will ultimately reveal itself to be about death, and as all films about death, it is inevitably about life. The title is German for “Mirror in a Mirror” which hints at the infinite nature of life in the universe, as well as the duality that exists between these two characters. They are reflections of each other, and we watch as they walk falling in and out of sync with one another. The duality is even expressed in the instrumentation of the piece, as it is simply a viola (a cello in some recordings) accompanied by a piano playing simple but evocative triads. I am not ashamed to admit that it is one of very few musical pieces to inspire tears from my eyes.
The other Part piece is “Fur Alina”, and while it did not inspire such emotion, it is still an achingly beautiful composition that you need to listen to.
So, find a copy of Gerry sit back, relax, and just think about the nature of life, and the inscrutability of death. Is it a good film? Who cares? It is a good question.