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The Independent Critic

James Mannan, Alfred Eaker, Robert Webster
Alfred Eaker (Inspired by 1st Samuel)
17 Mins.

 "Requiem for the Relentless Fathers" Review 
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Created as part of his graduate studies at Indianapolis's Christian Theological Seminary, Alfred Eaker's Requiem for the Relentless Fathers began as a project for Dr. Marti Steussy's 1st & 2nd Samuel class yet is finding an extended life on the film festival circuit where its weaving together of ancient narrative and contemporary, universal themes will unquestionably resonate with anyone who has ever found themselves seeking a way to understand complex theological texts and concepts.

The film is largely inspired by 1st Samuel and the written commentaries of Dr. Steussy and Dr. David M. Gunn, the A.A. Bradford Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University. Requiem for the Relentless Fathers is, for anyone familiar with the cinematic works of Eaker, a surprisingly straight forward visual interpretation of a text that will likely be familiar for many Christians. While the interpretation is relatively straightforward, Eaker manages to infuse the production with a contemporary vibe and his always unique way of presenting both thought-provoking and richly felt stories and images.

Chronicling the rise and fall of Saul, the first king of Israel, Requiem for the Relentless Fathers opens with the Elders of Israel having grown distrustful of the theocratic rule of the last Judge, Samuel. Samuel relents and appoints a monarch, Saul. Saul attempts to rule the land under his own voice, but finds himself increasingly in conflict with Samuel. Eventually, Samuel rejects Saul and sends an evil spirit to torment him. Saul is killed in battle, an event that leads to the rise of King David.

At a mere 17 minutes in length, Requiem for the Relentless Fathers covers its ground rather quickly yet Eaker has constructed his film well and it easily stands on its own despite obviously emphasizing consistency with the thematic elements than necessarily chasing down every detail. In addition to writing and directing, Eaker appears in the film as King Saul with James Mannan as Samuel and Robert Webster as David.

Requiem for the Relentless Fathers isn't so much designed to entertain as it is, perhaps, to both make this text more accessible and to help draw out the text's relevance even today. While the film is obviously of a lower budget nature, it's visually appealing with a spot-on perfect original score that seems to tiptoe its way through classic Hollywood while bringing this ancient narrative alive in a vibrant and thought-provoking way.

For more information on Requiem for the Relentless Fathers, check out the Liberty or Death Productions website and be sure to watch for it on the festival circuit.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic