As humanity slouches toward the millennium, pride and shortsightedness often blind us to the imminent dangers of the future. The willful pollution of the Earth, the instability of politics, and indeed nature herself are all potentially destructive forces. The greatest enemy of human beings, however, is time. We rule this age, but like our saurian ancestors, we are doomed to extinction. Experimental filmmaker Betzy Bromberg’s <i>Divinity Gratis</i> explores our ultimately minor role within a treacherously vast and indifferent universe. The film is an opus to the evolution of
<i>Divinity Gratis</i> is a very effective time machine. Like H.G. Wells’s famous contraption, the film captures in a collage of exquisite and disturbing images key moments in earthly history. Neolithic ponies, a linguistic Tower of Babel, and eerie dioramas of the perfect camping trip linger in the imagination long after the final credits roll. From our first baby steps to the climax of the lunar landing, all of humanity’s folly and glory is unapologetically offered. Bromberg’s personal ending softens the brutal honesty of her film, and as it comes full circle like the rotation of some great celestial body, the message of the spirit emerges—even in our bleakest moment, there is always hope.
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