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Convento is more than a film to watch. Convento is a film immersion. At the convergence of the rivers Oeiras and Guadiana, along what some believe to be a ley line possessing mystical energies, rises the four hundred year old monastery Sao Francisco. Its light earthen walls, marked by the sun and time, house a labyrinth of terraces, courtyards, gardens and fountains, all offering secret places to contemplate. An ancient irrigation system delivers water throughout, a silvery artery connecting all life. The monastery is surrounded by a surrealist storybook landscape, an amalgam of desert palms and cacti and a forest's darker, cooler life, within which animals of all kinds secretly contemplate. Originally built for an abbot and twelve monks, it is now a home, nature preserve, and artist's studio. -- (C) Official Site … More
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Critic Reviews for Convento
Against the sacred and time-tossed setting, the artist's creations cast an uncanny spell: Inanimate yet alive, abandoned as scrap or carrion, yet newly born.
An unusual, lightly surreal and unorthodox documentary by Jarred Alterman, Convento takes an unconventional approach that accentuates its subjects and never exploits them.
Every member of the three-person family has found aesthetic fulfillment uniquely suited to the ancient retreat, as does helmer Alterman, who revels in serene vistas teeming with hybrid creations.
Alterman's camerawork, panning and zooming about Christiaan's ants, rabbits, birds, and other assorted mecha creatures, conveys a sense of ominous religious awe.
Alterman's camera languidly soaks up the landscape, lingering long enough so that we can appreciate both the beauty of the setting and the surprising dialogue created between it and Christiaan's artwork.
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