Where to begin with a film like this? Well, for starters, this film single-handedly renewed our faith in the existence of a cinema of redemption, of the sort we had thought had long ago passed from this earth. The viewing of this film reveals a complex signification system constructed of layer upon layer upon layer of meaning-generating signs, symbols and referents and designed to address the core theme of communication and those inter-personal relations that most closely -- at least, in Schnabel's view -- inhere to it. These the film differentiates as inter-generational familial relations -- particularly the father-son relation -- along with its corallary, gender relations; the relation between self-interest and self-sacrifice, which can, in turn, be further parsed to the relation between self-expression and submission; which leads, finally, to the relationship between art and religion. These themes are explored to such a depth as to reveal their shared roots. At the end we discover that the essence of life is a struggle to communicate our being in the face of mortality, and that the cinema is -- when properly employed -- a powerful language in this struggle, one that is, in fact -- as powerfully demonstrated by this film -- capable of redeeming the life led in its service.