Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review: Starz's Pillars of the Earth Miniseries

Haven't been able to be working in the studio much lately with all the traveling- but when I was I enjoyed the Starz miniseries-Pillars of the Earth about the logistics of building a Cathedral in the dark ages of England- about 1300 AD- when England was in utter turmoil and the Feudal system ruled. Unbelievably interesting time, when Class meant everything and peasants were hacked to death in the streets without much notice.
The miniseries stars two of my favorite British actors- love listening to them talk-

Rufus Sewell ( Tristan and Isolde) who has had many secondary roles in many movie, really shines in this one as the Master Builder- who declares to his two sons- that he will not, nor probably they- live to see the completion of such a great work as a Cathedral.

Another British actor I like- Matthew Mcfadyen ( Pride and Prejudice) is the priest trying to navigate the political and religious waters to get the church built- lines that were very very blurred at the time.

Eddie Redmayne, an up and coming actor with a wonderful voice- stars as the gifted and dangerous apprentice;

Have not read the book the movie was based on-many of my friends have and were recommending it to me, with my obsession of old churches and architecture.
I remember in Art History in college I had to memorize all the parts of a Cathedral and we studied different churches through the different movement- I am guessing Pillars would be in the Gothic era- someone can correct me. The inventions of Buttresses is fascinating- my children always giggle at anything with the word "butt" in it- but someday they will appreciated the mini architecture lesson on our road trips.
Whether in Medieval Europe or the badlands of the Southwest it was a regular practice to build a great church for the local masses to be in awe of- see my musing on touring San Xavier Del Bac near Tucson Arizona.
The psychology of walking into such a massive structure- the stain glass, the great reliefs on the massive doors, all more important that the masses were illiterate, the Priests the only means to the Word of God, the illustrated stories of the fresco panels played an even more important part.

Superstition played a large part of things also - if Pillars of the Earth is accurate- the why- behind the money and labor being there to build the great Cathedral- makes me want to go back and read up on the buildings of these great churches.

Pillars of the Earth
available on Netflix Downloads

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