Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Chapel Perilous

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Chapel Perilous

Article excerpt

(On Saturday, January 25, 2014, the YouTube Audience Award was presented at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony to CHAPEL PERILOUS, a short film in competition that garnered the greatest number of views on YouTube between January 16 and 24, 2014.)

This is my kind of movie. I love movies that ask how things might be different, different from the way we think they are or were, or different from the way we expect them to be. Chapel Perilous* is a very clever movie that is also wonderfully funny. But it has a serious point to make.

Levi seems to be some kind of computer expert who works from home. While he is working, there is a knock on the door. It's Robin, a door to door salesman with nothing to sell. All Robin wants to do is to make a presentation that will give Levi information that he needs in order to understand himself. When Levi won't let him in the house, Robin asks to use the bathroom. Finally, Levi lets Robin in, but when he's done, Levi sends him on his way. Just as Robin is leaving, however, Levi is visited by his friend Dennis who, failing to understand the situation, sets it up so that he and Levi must listen to Robin's spiel.

Robin's spiel is that science does not know what to do with 97 percent of our DNA. Ninety-seven percent of our DNA is mystery or junk DNA. This suggests that DNA, the discovery of which is supposed to explain everything we need to know about ourselves as human beings, will do no such thing. Life, or at least most of life, remains a mystery that exists beyond science.

In this mystical realm, Robin suggests that Levi, because of his fascination with Charlton Heston as Moses, may be, in fact, Moses. This suggestion comes in a collection of scenes that includes Sun Araw, an American musician whose work is often experimental. Levi's friend, Dennis, is a big fan of Sun Araw. At the end of this strange experience, we see Levi sitting at his desk holding the sheep's horns that have now grown out of his head. …

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