The Cathedral

Year: 2021
Country: USA
Director: Ricky D'Ambrose
Cast: Brian d'Arcy James, Monica Barbaro, Mark Zeisler, Geraldine Singer, William Bednar-Carter
Genre: drama
Runtime: 87 min.
Age: 18+

An extensive family story in striking pictures

Jesse Damrosch was born in 1987, which we learn in the first words of the film. However, on screen we do not see little Jesse but the arm of his uncle Joseph, who died aged 38, two years before Jesse was born. Before the “main” character (largely the director’s alter ego) appears in shot, there are several minutes in which we learn quite a few details about the family life of two dynasties, those of Richard Damrosch and Lydia Orkin. Their marriage led to the appearance of Jesse, who was christened in the Catholic Church. Years later the boy would leaf through a book about the architecture of gothic cathedrals with great interest. This film-novel, which encompasses two decades of family life and the modern history of America, is constructed with the same zeal and the same airy lightness.
Ricky D’Ambrose, whose debut feature Notes on an Appearance was an immediate hit with cinephiles, is keen on almost photographically static and endlessly adjusted shots. He is a perfectionist who exhibits in his images and editing the meticulousness of a mathematician. But he is also a lyricist, a poet, and an impressionist author who fills the construction of The Cathedral with warmth, nostalgia, and humor. He recreates (and returns) the light he has remembered since childhood. His film is a book of pressed flowers, on the pages of which old photographs come to life. A slow kaleidoscope creating a pattern from memories, with inserts of authentic advertising and age-defining news reports. Producers include Graham Swon and David Lowery: the succession and cooperation of American independent directors is something wonderful. 

Awards & Festivals:

Venice Film Festival – HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) Special Prize
Film Independent Spirit Awards – John Cassavetes Award
Sundance Film Festival – participation
Jerusalem Film Festival – participation
Ghent International Film Festival – participation
São Paulo International Film Festival – participation