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i finally finished the audio commentary for doubt... it was one of the few only-director commentaries i've listened to, and i liked hearing about the stylstic choices (especially those psycho dutch angles, dude!) and shanley's appreciation of the actors. it was nice. and, i come bearing quotes! (because, quite honestly, i'm rather in awe of john patrick shanley, and you should be too.)

"kids were younger then." he's talking about his childhood, back in the sixties. i was quite struck by it, especially because it's true.

(okay, i know that quote pales in comparison to the next one...)

i'm going to set this one up though. this starts at 1:27:38, near the end of the epic sister aloysius/father flynn deathmatch confrontation. it's in a bit of a lull at this point, and it's quite lovely how shanley's narration just drifts over what's going on. i'm getting a little ahead of myself, so here it goes.

"of course the character that's always in the room, and that you never see, is doubt itself. 'who do i believe? what is the truth of this moment or that moment? will i ever be able to judge these people? will i ever be able to put this to rest, with a verdict?' but of course life isn't like that. we can never know what's inside the heart or soul of another human being. we can have our assumptions, or theories, sometimes they may be very solid. but we can never know.

"an adult has to learn to live with that, to live with doubt as a natural part of the equation of life, to never give it up, and to recognize that it's an asset to leave a place in yourself open for further discussion, for further thought, for further conclusions.

"the last character in this film is the audience that has their own dialogue going on throughout it--answering and judging and thinking--all throughout the story about what their position is in relation to it. i try to leave the space for them to inhabit, so that when the walk out, they have more that they want to say rather than that they are finished.

"and i'm happy to report that i've heard back from many many people that they've had some of the best conversations they've had with other of their family members,, whether it was their wife or husband or their kids, about this story and about what their thoughts about it are, about good and evil and right and wrong, and less-easy to diagram pieces of terrain."

and then he goes back into talking about how many takes he had the actors do through each part of this scene. *flails* just fantastic. i really would like to know if shanley thinks flynn did it or if sister aloysius was right. i think i might have to surrender to the "mystery box" idea on this one. i realize that if i knew, it would take so much away from the beauty with which this story was crafted.

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alexandria_skye

December 2011

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