“I would not have been able to resist the temptation to intentionalize this violent, random act,” explains Canadian dramatist James O’Reilly about why he only finally chose to portray his first-hand experience of being struck by lightning 20 years later. In Jennifer Baichwal’s notable film, writer Paul Auster also tells of an experience from childhood when he witnessed the death of a friend. Was it chance or a sign? How should one cope with such an event? The Canadian documentarist seeks answers by investigating the metaphysical dimensions of the phenomenon of being struck by lightning. She has collected seven stories from different parts of the world, seven different reactions to this “act of God” or, conversely, to the “mechanics of reality.” On one side lies providence and the will of a higher power, something far from simple chance. On the other is the attempt at a scientific explanation with philosophical implications. The sky in all its unpredictable forms serves as the movie’s visual leitmotif, helping to create its bewitchingly hypnotic atmosphere.
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