I saw this movie for the first time tonight, and I am completely blown away. I had it on while I was doing other things so missed bits of it, but it gradually wound its way into my consciousness and I sat, transfixed, through the remainder, and I *will* be getting this for my collection.
I don't know directors. I don't know cinematography. I'd never heard of this film before tonight, but what I do know is that this is a masterpiece. It was as powerful and touching as it was brutal and raw.
Bess' conversations with God are believable in a way that I would never have credited. Her fragility and unwavering goodness and devotion to both God and her husband worked so well that I can't even begin to describe it. Someone said that it had a disappointing ending, but I can only think that they either missed the point or left before it was finished.
While the elders of the church and village are consigning Bess to eternal damnation and hell, the heavens ring out their approval of Bess and their acceptance of her sacrifices, of her love, and a miracle is born.
This film is, in itself, a miracle. The acting was superb throughout. The method of filming added to the power of the story. It is not a pleasant film. It will definitely not be for everyone. It's a love story that batters you to exhaustion, and when it finally releases you, you are grateful for the battering, for the opportunity to have experienced Bess in all her beauty and innocence and certainty.
The only films I can think of that even come close to the brilliance and brutality of this one are Pulp Fiction and Snatch, but this one goes further; it lacks the slickness of Hollywood. That isn't a criticism, either... it's a benefit.
I can't recommend it highly enough, but you will need guts to watch it.