Screened at 2023 Sundance Film Festival: Divinity Bizarrely Hits All the Right Notes
Connor Pugh ‘24
Divinity screened at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival
Film Festivals and unique categories such as Sundance’s NEXT allow unconventional movies to have a moment in the spotlight, giving them chances to gain success and grow an audience to allow their creators to make better and more ambitious works in the future. However, these platforms for more experimental works can have the drawback of being extremely hit or miss – exacerbated by the fact that a single film can go for around $20 a piece. An integral part of the Film Festival experience is taking a shot in the dark and hoping you come out having seen a new cult classic instead of just wasting a couple hours of your time.
However, Divinity, directed by Eddie Alcazar and produced by Steven Soderbergh of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise fame, is difficult to categorize as either a waste of time or something appealing at all to many. Divinity explores the interesting themes of commodification of life and the human body itself, doing so through extremely unconventional storytelling and ample doses of sex and body horror, so much so it’s practically unrecognizable from traditional narrative structure in your movie theater film. To rattle off plot points and characters as a means of summarizing the story does a disservice to what Divinity is trying to communicate, as it quite simply doesn’t really care either. By discarding any semblance of a story, Divinity leans hard into the raw emotions of its images to communicate themes and ideas, making it more a film to be seen and experienced rather than just simply talked about.
While definitely a fascinating and unique approach to moviemaking, the disconnection of Divinity from any commonly accepted idea of reality can be alienating to many. The film had a specific audience in mind when it was created, destined to be watched only in the spheres of film festivals and in the libraries of hardcore film nerds. Nevertheless, if only to experience something truly unique and see the capabilities and untapped potential of the medium of film, a cautionary viewing is recommended.