The Wedding Video of Daniel and Lauren Ari

Shot by Gerald Fleischmann with Judy Fleischmann. Starring Lauren Kline and Daniel Ari.

My Rating:

Superb excerpts of a deeply moving ceremony narrated by the humorous, humanistic father of the groom.

In all fairness, subtract at least 1/4 of a star if you weren't part of the ceremony, another 1/4 if you don't appear in the video, and yet another 1/4 star if you don't know Daniel and/or Lauren personally.

Bitable Bytes:
"Scores high marks!"
"The special effects are...excellent!"

What to do while watching:
If you are the bride, the bride's parent or aunt, the groom, the groom's parent or aunt, or one of the couple's friends: sigh and cry.

If not, smile and doze.

What to eat while watching:
Stuff out of the fridge. Leftovers. Pieces of cold turkey. Humus. Maybe some cake.

Let me tell you, faithful readers, that Gooden Worsted is an assumed persona. This one time, I step out from behind the name (a name of Welsh origin, to answer one reader's question), to wave and say "hello." Know that in my non-Internet life, I am one Daniel Ari, the same man who only one honeymoon ago, tied the knot with Lauren AKA Mrs. Worsted. Thank you, dear reader, for respecting the front of my pseudonym and for any warm wishes you have extended toward my recent nuptials. And now, on with our video venture!

What are the elements that make a good home video? One: a good subject. Two: an appropriate style carried off well. Three: technical savvy and good technique. On each of these counts, Gerald Fleischmann's tape of the Ari wedding scores high marks.

The Ari wedding occurs on June 25, 2000, on the shore of Limantour Beach, a sunny, wind-swept, and wild terrain near Point Reyes, California. Before rolling dunes and rugged grasses, an assembly of about 150 people gathers in a ring. The rabbi sounds the shofar (a ram's horn blown like a bugle). Uncle Jonathan plays his violin. Then the bride and groom, dressed in blue tones complementing sea and sky, appear up the beach walking barefoot toward the circle.

The ceremony, long in real life, is excerpted on the video: the rabbi's words are highlighted, directed to the congregation to make the meanings and symbols accessible. The wine cup passes around the entire ring, allowing every single person to make a toast, say a word, or just smile. About 15 of these toasts, shot in full from different angles, allow the viewer to understand that every individual has put in her or his blessing.

Crowd laughter, crowd sighs, the bride and groom's ecstasy: all are apparent on this video.

The video actually begins two days beforehand with some footage of the road to Point Reyes, the other friends and relatives arriving, the family dinner, and the morning of the wedding. And there is good footage from the reception, dance, and even the clean up and the day after. But the emphasis stays on the ceremony and the party, with only enough build up and just enough dénouement.

The style of Gerald's narration allows him to be fully present, though he stands not only behind the camera, but also behind his characteristic one-liners. He conveys tenderness, captures his subjects on their best sides, and allows people the option to wave at the camera or to remain candid.

As for technical expertise, the video camera was a borrowed one, so the special effects are minimal. Nevertheless, Gerald works in titles, dates, and lighting variations to good, though sparse effect. As a photographer of many years, however, Gerald is able to carry his excellent sense of composition and improvisation to video. There are a few scenes were Gerald has clearly lowered the camera from his eye, trusting that he's capturing faces. In a few of these, we get to see a lot of people's midsections. But quirks like this must be forgiven, because he's my dad.

As a side note, the bride was not sure she wanted the ceremony taped-in fact, she requested it not be taped at all. Yet, even she shed tears as we watched and immediately made of list of people she wanted to send copies to.

An excellent home video for those of us at the Ari/Worsted home. If you would like to watch this rare film, you'll need to contact me directly to make arrangements to do so. In the meantime, may peace descend on you and your loved ones.

Want to share a happy story with Gooden?

Gooden's Honeymoon Reading

Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2 by Negativland

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