I noticed the poster for General Orders, No. 9 this morning on Apple, but delayed clicking on it until a few minutes ago. Had I known it was ostensibly a Koyaanisqatsi-like art film aimed at my home state, I might have loaded it up a bit quicker.
Coming from (first time) filmmaker Robert Persons, the film is a Southern journeyman’s scrapbook come to life as it turns photography into cinema, poetry into narration, and uses motion picture editing to create themes of the price of development and modernization. Malick is referenced in the pull-quotes in the trailer, and with Tree of Life currently making an impression on audiences, it’s hard to deny the connection. The film’s been playing festivals for over a year though, and is as much a documentary told through image, music, and poetry as anything else.
This hits me pretty hard- I enjoy this kind of cinema very much, and when it’s taking such a mournful look at the places I’ve spent my whole life, there’s no way I could miss it. I grew up in that suburban Atlanta sprawl, spent my weekends in the farther out Georgia woods, and went to film school in Savannah- a city that drips with civil war history and still seems to occasionally be covered in the smoke of confederate guns.
The title refers to General Robert E. Lee’s final message to confederate troops after South’s surrender. I’m the last person you’d hear waxing nostalgic for Confederate history, but I will say that even since I was young I detected the slightly mournful tone to Southern culture that this trailer explore- the bitterness of a region that had lost a war the rest of the country had not. The bizarre pride in some vague American simulacra, one in which different outcome to many a war and election were imagined. I live smack-dab in the middle of hipstery Atlanta now, so I don’t see that too much these days. It’s still out there though. Regardless, this should be a much more interesting trip through GA History than I took in 7th grade.
I’ll be interested to see how wide this goes on its June 24th release, and how well it plays- I’m eager to watch and discuss this one with some non-Southerners for sure.
(YT Embed via /Film)
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