Not much to is. This is one larger film and a series of shorter ones (though they are all of a piece) extolling the virtues of contemplative prayer, which, it appears, consists in sitting quietly and listening to God, rather than speaking yourself. The whole thing drips in every “inspirational” cliché you can imagine (lots of shots of parks, clouds, sunsets, gentle spring rains, and so forth). Oddly, for a piece that’s supposed to help viewers practice being quiet, some of the speakers here …re hardly advertisements for that fact. Priscilla Shirer, in particular, speaks in a Camille Paglia-style torrent of words, making one extremely doubtful that she has ever had a quiet moment in her life. But whatever. Those who like this sort of thing will surely like this sort of thing. Obviously, I’m utterly outside the demographic for this thing. For a chuckle, check out the consumer review on Amazon to see how this bit of flotsam can generate hugely polarized viewpoints. Hilarious.
Picture and audio are not particularly relevant with this disc, but what the heck. All the talking heads are perfectly clear, with no distortion of their voices. The environmental effects, when called for (such as the “chaos of modern life” scenes and the pastoral sequences) are good, and the music, when it shows up, is well served by the mix as well.
The fullscreen picture is at its best when in interview format. At such times, the colours are strong and natural, the flesh tones are good, the contrasts are warm, and the image is very sharp. All to the good. When the scene moves to the aforementioned chaos and sequences of family life and the like, the picture quality degrades noticeably, with pretty bad pixelation.
For the most part, these aren’t so much extras as the main work carved up into smaller ones. The main piece is “Contemplative Prayer.” Then there is “Cloud of Witnesses” (wherein are experts talk about contemplatives through history), “Being Still” (which is essentially a how-to, complete with groaner humour), “Small Groups” (Be Quiet Together! Yay!), and “Alone with the Lord” (more on how to be still). “The Sound of Stillness” is more of an extra. First, Shirer talks about using music, then there is a video: “Be Still, My Soul” by Ginny Owens (who makes Enya sound like Courtney Love), and an interview with Owens. Finally, there are some contemplative verses for ya. The menu is basic.
Obviously, the value of this disc was lost on me. You’re welcome to it.
Special Features List
- Contemplative Verses
- “Be Still, My Soul” Music Video