Event Information
Narrative Feature
Sunday, Oct 19, 2014 8:15 PM
72 min
Ben Hardin, a middle-aged scholar, returns home to care for his ill mother during his scheduled writing sabbatical. While home, faced with the remnants of a life he left behind, Ben's relationships with estranged friends and family—his mother, his brother, his ex-wife, and his childhood friend—are tested. Routine becomes reenactment, as past traumas are refreshed and agitated.
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Ben Hardin, a middle-aged scholar, returns home to care for his ill mother during his scheduled writing sabbatical. While home, faced with the remnants of a life he left behind, Ben's relationships with estranged friends and family—his mother, his brother, his ex-wife, and his childhood friend—are tested. Routine becomes reenactment, as past traumas are refreshed and agitated. Ben’s aloof, impassive demeanor slowly crumbles in the wake of sexual, emotional, and filial failure. He experiences what may be the nadir of his life—rejected, alienated, and betrayed. Ben is left to choose whether he will forgive and mend or continue living in cloistered detachment. On a formal level, Sabbatical is constructed to evoke the melancholy mood of returning home—not the glowing warmth of nostalgia or the restful ease of vacation-like escape, but the evacuated feeling that sets in beyond those initial sensations. The visual structure of the film, then, is founded upon repetition, punctured stasis, and rigid framings in which processes slowly unfold. The images are inextricable from their duration, their duration inextricable from the mood of "home." Each of the film’s 60 shots is carefully rendered in pursuit of a fresh, even radical, style. The short film (After) She Left directed by Sarah Friedland will precede this screening.