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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird but wonderful
I had read 'Rings of Saturn' and I come from East Anglia so I was bound to go for a film based on Sebald's book. Will this make sense without a review of the book too? I'm not sure. I won't go into it here, but the book is weird, very personal, goes off in many different directions but is totally fascinating. The film has the same sort of free-ranging weirdness and...
Published on 25 May 2012 by Robin Shipp

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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Patience? You May Need It
Following in the footsteps of the narrator of W G Sebald's extraordinary work The Rings of Saturn sadly makes for a most pedestrian experience.
The film is disappointing on so many levels that it left me, as an admirer of Sebald's books, angered and profoundly depressed but, sad to say, not really surprised, given the British tendency to reduce all forms of cultural...
Published on 3 July 2012 by thevulturespeaks


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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Patience? You May Need It, 3 July 2012
This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
Following in the footsteps of the narrator of W G Sebald's extraordinary work The Rings of Saturn sadly makes for a most pedestrian experience.
The film is disappointing on so many levels that it left me, as an admirer of Sebald's books, angered and profoundly depressed but, sad to say, not really surprised, given the British tendency to reduce all forms of cultural enterprise to the level of a National Trust magazine feature. One wonders whether director Grant Gee thought at all about the medium he was using or what 'a documentary film' actually means; surely the opportunity was there to explore in a Sebaldian way - allusively, tangentially, playfully - Sebald's extraordinary text and its impact on a generation of artists. Instead, we have a film which is earnest but wearisome; leaden-footed, and deeply unimaginative. Why, for example, are all the people interviewed either British or American? Given that Sebald was German, and wrote in German, achieved literary fame first in Germany and given that his subject, by and large, was the 'tacit conspiracy' of silence in post-war Germany, would it not have been worthwhile to talk to some Germans? It says something about the film's cosily insular outlook - something Sebald repeatedly and pointedly pokes fun at - that even though much is made of his European sensibility, and his work's Nobel Prize-worthy international resonance, the only German accent we hear belongs to Sebald himself. And even though Sebald's highly distinctive and exciting way of creating meaning and of questioning the value of documentary 'evidence' is exactly what all the people in the film are talking about, Gee seems to imagine that a series of images of the places Sebald mentions (rendered somehow more 'meaningful' or 'poetic' by being in black and white, or blurry, or wobbly, or all three) and some close-ups of the pages of the book, somehow magically add up to a worthwhile enterprise. They don't. They add up to some rather dull pictures to go with some rather dull talking and some rather dull music. The people interviewed have, with a few honourable exceptions, very little interesting or perceptive to say about the book, being largely content to try to explain how it works (as if we, as readers, had somehow missed this) how good it is (ditto) or, even more boringly, 'what it meant to them'. The film would probably be so boring for someone who has not already read The Rings of Saturn to sit through that it would put them off Sebald for life, and for those who have read the book it adds absolutely nothing to the experience beyond, perhaps, a sense of wonder that such a magical work can be made to seem so dull. Bewilderingly, Gee even gives space to some deluded individuals who think that by 'mapping' the places Sebald mentions they are doing something other than vapidly parasitizing his work. But their contribution seems positively scintillating in comparison with a final sequence discussing Sebald's untimely death which is as tasteless as it is pretentious.The absence of any adequate critical or artistic engagement with Sebald's work on the part of either the contributors or the film-maker is, given the intellectual generosity and fertility of its subject, profoundly dispiriting.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird but wonderful, 25 May 2012
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Robin Shipp (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
I had read 'Rings of Saturn' and I come from East Anglia so I was bound to go for a film based on Sebald's book. Will this make sense without a review of the book too? I'm not sure. I won't go into it here, but the book is weird, very personal, goes off in many different directions but is totally fascinating. The film has the same sort of free-ranging weirdness and includes interesting insights into Sebald from writers and friends.
If you have read the book then, in my estimation, the film will hugely complement it. If you see the film first it will probably make you want to read the book but it might just put you off.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncanny film of The Rings of Saturn, 2 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
Patience (After Sebald) is a highly evocative film which captures the quiet, uncanny melancholy of Sebalds's book, The Rings of Saturn. Some of the text of the book is read as a voice-over as the camera scans scenes described by Sebald in his pilgrimage across the coastal plains of Suffolk. Sebald's own voice is also occasionally heard as he talks about his own work. Poets and artists also describe the techniques that he uses to produce the effects that the book evokes. The film ends with a rather strange photographic transformation at the place of Sebald's sudden death where smoke from a firework gradually transforms into an image of his doleful face, heavy with eyebrows.

Sebald is one of the most interesting German writers to emerge since the Second World War. He supervised the translations of his work into English himself so, although his work is German in origin, the English versions have the same authority as the original German. His work owes a great deal to writers in the German tradition such as Kafka and Walter Benjamin but also to Freud's psychological insights into aesthetics and to the phenomenological tradition that featured at the University of Freiburg when Sebald was a student there in the 1960's.

Anybody who has been fascinated and captivated by Sebald's writing, particularly The Rings of Saturn will find this DVD a satisfying supplement to their of Sebald's books - which, because of his untimely death in 2001, will remain forever sparse.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointingly dull and boring film about an amazing writer's love of East Anglia, 3 July 2013
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
Lovers of W.G.Sebald's novels and essays will find this tiresome plodding and meandering film without much point to it unless you have recently graduated from some provincial art school with a third in film making. On the rare occasions when you actually hear the late author's beautiful voice (speaking in English with a mild German intonation) you are reminded that this is a film ostensibly about a truly talented and gifted writer, that it purports in part to be a hommage and a poetic eulogy to his metaphysical journeying. At least this is what I thought it would be when I purchased the film. Instead, it is overly long and incredibly boring with long pseudo experimental split screen techniques overlaid with some odious old luvvie reading chunks of Sebald's work. To label the film a triumph of style over content would be highly accurate as it lumbers ponderously on and on with many the introduction of many BBC lilting thespian voices reading and muttering text overlaid with slow panning shots of the moody East Anglian countryside and coastline shot in attractive chiaroscuro. Invariably, the film lacks any cohesion or intellectual gravitas, and the ability to hold its viewers attention is diminshed by its reliance on split/mutliple screen images to evoke something like meaning. Sadly it cannibalises itself as it becomes immersed in long and drawn out experimental editing and post production gimmicks no doubt, to compensate for its own appalling lack of originality. It is excruciatingly dull and not a tribute to a highly original writer but a pastiche of egomaniacal pretension that comes close to onanism on screen.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the job, 9 July 2012
This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
There's a damning moment in this disappointing film when Iain Sinclair points out how crass it would be to recreate the journey of _The Rings of Saturn_. Clearly, this remark was made late in the production process, because it retrospectively demolishes Grant's whole project. As thevulturespeaks says, the last ten minutes are particularly poor: Jeremy Millar's naff 'Fireworks for Sebald' is tastelessly intercut with an image of Sebald, implying that Millar's final image manifests the ghostly likeness of Sebald. It's a knee-weakeningly risible moment, which must have horrified some of the participants. Read MacFarlane, Sinclair, Dean and even Moody on Sebald, and give this well-meaning but intellectually inadequate film a wide berth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, 4 Dec. 2013
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S. Lacey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
This is captivating. If you love reading Sebald this film captures his writing to perfection.
Fabulous journey with an atmosphere you will never forget.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreary and not very competent, 4 May 2013
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
This film takes itself seriously (too seriously?): some Sebald fans will no doubt be glad of it, in a completist sense. I love Sebald's writing yet still hated the pretensions of this film about him and his work. The film-makers are the kind who hide behind the cover of saying they aren't making films but are making "art", an excuse for not having much skill imho. I'd prefer a well-made traditional BBC doc on Sebald rather than this "piece" that has taken state subsidy (ie my money) to get finished. Only didn't give it one star because one respects the ambition.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars he's lost control..., 7 Feb. 2014
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W. Stone "buriedinabook" (france) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
An excruciating experience...rarely have i seen such a line up of people who together possess the startling ability to reveal absolutely no insight whatsoever about their subject, the only exceptions being occasionally the loyal Robert Macfarlane, though there is little too much of him, and the writer Marina Warner, who must surely regret she ever appeared. Bill Swainson and Christopher Maclehose are honorable men and can be forgiven since they are editors or publishers and are bound to be summoned. But as for the remainder of those included, the sheer vacuity of much of their musing was patently embarassing, more like a self help group suddenly coralled to muse publically on their own suppressed fantasies. The ending with the smoke trick at the site of Sebald's violent death was lamentable, a sort of Munch the scream T shirt or Kafka mug moment for Sebald. The inevitable black and white grainy film worked best in Rendelsham forest because of the scotch pines lending themselves so earnestly to melancholy and superimposing the dead herrings on the corpses...but shots through the windscreen of driving through Saxmundham high street and Yoxford where i myself live seemed just fillers and i can see this dull view every time i drive my own car down the road...The film should have had far less people in it for a start, most of whom had nothing to say that was moving or memroable, the reason being that none of them were in a position intellectually to respond authentically, especially those annoying 'sort of' 'kind of' 'like you know' yawn yabber Americans with their daft origami theories. The only thing about the film which touched my soul was hearing Sebald himself speak, as if to get a word in edgeways before the next lump of over solemn self aware guff and also the narration of his works which I believe was sensitively rendered. Yet again then we see an opportunity missed, the wrong people in control and the wrong people interviewed...where were the local people in Suffolk and Norfolk who really knew Sebald, his friends and those who genuinely cared when he died? Anne Beresford, Stephen Watts, Clive Scott, Anthony Vivis ... Plus ca change, tant pis.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
perfect
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor and boring style, 4 Jun. 2014
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L. Buongiorno "Lilla" (Italie) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] (DVD)
Sebald's fascinating style doesn't find a visualization up to it in this film. Alphabet letters do not translate a great writer...
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Patience (After Sebald) [DVD]
Patience (After Sebald) [DVD] by Grant Gee (DVD - 2012)
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