Well. I finally did it. On my third attempt, I finally sat from start to finish through Jungen and Linklater’s fifty-minute film “Modest Living.” Now. I may have dozed a couple of times for a couple of minutes. Here. There. And that may not sound like a ringing endorsement. But. It was actually a good film and I recommend it.
Modest Living has been playing at the Art Gallery of Ontario since October 23rd and continues until June 15th. On my first attempt, I was with a friend and yapped and got distracted. We left. On my second attempt, I was with a different friend. We yapped, got distracted, left. This time, I came alone.
Smart girl on day one of a nine-day Staycation in amazing Toronto.
Smart girl on day one of a nine-day Staycation in amazing Toronto after three glasses of wine with/after lunch.
Quasi-smart girl, then.
It’s a silent film full of beautiful shots of Canada’s native land and wilderness. In short, it’s pretty. Calming. Peaceful. Pure. Nostalgic and national, my fellow Canadian.
It documents the hunting trip of these two men. I’ve never hunted. But what I gather from this film is that, for the most part, nothing at all happens, just like in the film. You sit and watch for a long, long time. Looking for prey, waiting for something to transpire. Finally, at around minute thirty-eight or thirty-nine of said fifty-minute film, FINALLY, a dead animal. The apparently elusive Canadian moose. Shot. Dead. Lying there. In ambiguous, ubiquitous, serene, beautiful Canadian forest.
The last ten to twelve minutes of the film show the two hunters carving the enormous carcass; pelt, tendon, sinewy limb, the blood-stained snow our canvas. Not for the weak of heart but also not played up or unbearable.
Cut to birds in the sky shot.
Actually there were none.
But you understand.
The film was (finally) over.
I liked it. It was real. Authentic. Not made to be entertaining at the cost of sacrificing the authentic parallel of the long period of pursuit or the skilled hard work of cutting and carving necessary afterward. Made to convey something real. Hunting. Nothing happens. Then. For one millisecond – elation. The kill. Then mild gore. Anti-climactic.
Fait accompli. Film accompli.
Canada is beautiful and watching this film was both relaxing and sneakily informative. The cinematography was really well done. I even got inspired by one scene for a future sketch or painting. There were no great villains, no moral conflicts, no jolting shocking special effects. Just a snapshot of a simple life; a modest living.
And for those animal rights activists or vocal vegetarians who think there was a villain, the hunter, and a victim, the moose, I offer this simple quote in defense: “If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, why are they all made of meat?”
Saw that yesterday online on someone’s profile.
It’s a good film.
Easy breathing, baby.