The Cathedral: Brilliant, Haunting and Heady

Deciding to shift down from the Thanksgiving/Birthday Go Go Go, I decided to take in an at home film nominated for the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards. After all, these are the folks that acknowledged Uncut Gems, Red Rocket and Zola.

The Cathedral, written and directed by Ricky D’Ambrose is a former winner at the Sarasota Film Fest for Notes on an Appearance back in 2018, before I became immersed in the local film culture.

Obviously, one of D’Ambrose’s influences has to be Chantal Ackerman, who poignantly and methodically presented the mundane, all with the undercurrent of tension and dread. Another possible influence is Largos Lanthimos with his ability to shock without warning. D’Ambrose is truly a genius film maker to watch.

Without spoiling anything, suffice to say The Cathedral is a Marriage Story mixed with Boyhood blended with Ice Storm, the life story of an only child. What’s special is D’Ambrose use of camera shots: bus boy vantage points, broken glasses on floors, inside looking out to a windy tree shadow. Braided to these images are advertisements from the 80’s (Montgomery Ward, Kodak film, Weight Watchers) and US political news clip happenings (Desert Storm, Reagan’s funeral, 911, Katrina, just to name a few). The icing on the cake is the narration by an intriguing female voice over.

The result is a haunting life portrait. The film’s nominations thus far are for The John Cassavetes Award, Best Editing and Best Supporting Performer Brian D’Arcy. I’d definitely vote for the middle listing, while the other two have too much competition. We shall see March 4th.

But I’ll be sure to back track and catch Notes on an Appearance when I carve out the time.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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