REQUIEM FOR THE RELENTLESS FATHERS (2012): FILM & DIRECTOR’S STATMENT

 

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

Requiem For The Relentless Fathers (2012) is a short film I made for theology graduate school. “First and Second Samuel” was a class taught by Dr. Marti Steussy. Among Steussy’s assignments was an artistic presentation from the text.  requiem for the relentless fathers. saul (alfred eaker)  tormented by evil spirit of god (jen ring)  © alfred eaker 2012

Embedded theology oversimplifies the Samuel narrative: Samuel, the Judge of Israel, is the protagonist. Saul, the first King, disobeys God, and is therefore the antagonist. God consequently replaces Saul with the hero David, whom God loves. Even as a child I had issues with that elementary assessment. Regardless of what my Sunday school teachers taught, I found myself sympathizing with the antagonist. Perhaps it is in my nature. After all, I never could manage to find sympathy for any of the characters in Richard Wagner’s symbolist opera “Parsifal” except the alleged villain Klingsor. Still, having had a class with Dr. Steussy previously, I rightly concluded that she would supply fresh insight into the narrative.

Alfred Eaker Requiem for the Relentless Fathers  © alfred eaker 2012

 

Dr. Steussy discarded tradition. She inspired us to go directly and honestly to the text without preconceived notions. After knocking the dust off my Bible, I did exactly that. At the end of the semester a few fellow students, upon seeing the film, pointed out that they would not have been open to my interpretation if they had seen it at the beginning of the semester.

Requiem For the Relentless Fathers. Alfred Eaker as King Saul, James Mannan as the prophet Samuel.  © alfred eaker 2012

Since Requiem is a short, many details are naturally left out. The film is what the title says: It is a requiem for three complex, relentless fathers in an authentically strange Biblical narrative. Samuel and Saul are the primary focus. However, we tried to depict even the secondary character of David as embodying more than meets the eye in his initial introduction. (Perhaps someday, we will be able to do a follow-up film of the Davidic character). The historicity of Samuel was not our concern, which is why we placed it in a relatively contemporary setting.

Requiem For The Relentless Fathers. Alfred Eaker as Saul (the sacrifice)

Dr. Steussy proposed a question—“Why is it important how we judge Saul?”—followed by an answer—“It is important because it reflects how we are apt to judge one other.” Of equal importance is an honest approach to the text as an un-hallowed narrative, stripped of our over-familiarity. I found the story of Saul to be a fresh and surprising chronicle; often bizarre, adverse, and morally questionable.

%22Requiem For The Relentless Fathers.%22 James Mannan and Alfred Eaker as Samuel and Saul

The cast includes James Mannan as Samuel/God, myself as Saul, Robert Webster as David, Jordan Wheatley as Michal, Nate Saylor as Jonathan, Robbin Panet as the woman of Endor, and Jennifer Ring as the Evil Spirit of God. Director of photography: Robin Panet. Assistant Directors: Robbin Panet and James Mannan. Sets: John Claeyse. Music courtesy of Tahra Records. The script was inspired by 1 Samuel and the Samuel commentaries of Dr. Marti Steussy and Dr. David M. Gunn.

Requiem For the Relentless Fathers.Jordan Wheatley, Nate Saylor,  Alfred Eaker, Robin Panet.  © alfred eakerRequiem For the Relentless Fathers. Robert Webster, Jordan Wheatley.  © alfred eakerrequiem for the relentless fahters. Steve making Chris up  for the killing of the priest.  © alfred eaker 2012requiem  for the relentless fathers. Jen Ring being made-up as the evil spirit. © alfred eaker 2012

*originally published at 366 weird movies

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About Alfred Eaker

Alfred Eaker is fine arts painter, filmmaker, and has a masters degree in theology. He currently lives in Portland, oregon with his wife: Aja Rossman-Gray.
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