Saturday, September 10, 2005

Short Cuts: September '05
Gates of Heaven
d. Errol Morris, 1978

What begins as an honest look at the Pet Cemetery business turns into an irreverent glance at the people behind the business (entrepreneurs and pet owners alike) and finally a becomes a serious gaze at life, love, and loss. The unifying aspect among Morris' subjects is a sense of belonging on account of their pets. (For the businessmen - and I do mean men, not a woman is found amidst - the unifier is chasing money and spirituality both, through what seems to be, at least for them, a venture combination of capitalism and spirituality.) Against Morris: his subjects aren't as compelling as he would like us to believe and the half tongue-in-cheek half solemn documentarian stance grows tiresome. On the whole, though, Gates of Heaven is a good film, and one that finds broad themes pertaining to all humanity where you wouldn't necessarily expect to find them.