Showing posts from January, 2015

La Vita: È Dolce?

Toni Servillo. Photo courtesy of The Great Beauty press kit,
This weekend has given me three foreign films about life. Very apt for me at the moment. All three have given me pause to reflect.
The first was The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), a film by Paolo Sorrentino which won a gazillion awards, including a 2014 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. The soundtrack (available in Canada under the Italian title) includes wrenching music like Zbigniew Preisner's requiem and ArvoPärt's 'My Heart's in the Highlands'. Anyway, this is best described as something you'd see if Wes Anderson re-did La Dolce Vita. It's funny, pathetic and scathing (mostly about the Catholic Church but no one is safe from the writers: botox users, performance artists, mafia, strippers, wannabe actors). There are over-the-top parties where everyone dances to house music and 'Mueve La Colita' (think rude version of the 'Macarena'). There ar…

One Quarter

One of my favourite films is Jesus Christ Superstar. I can watch it over and over. I like a lot of Biblical movies. But The Gospel of John has me excited in a number of ways. If I told you it was performed in Aramaic with the entire gospel read overtop it, would you want to run for the hills? Don't. This is a beautiful film, and the narration goes by quickly. The Gospel of John is available with reading in Spanish or in English with either the NIV or the KJV text. The cinematography is very beautiful, and that, together with the score, makes it arresting to watch. Filmed in Morocco and just released in December, this is one of the connected four gospel versions to come out in 2014-2015. Unfortunately, I don't see the 2014 Matthew version on Netflix yet, where I found this, so I can't draw a comparison, but I can't wait: Matthew is my favourite account of the life of Jesus. So this film surprised me because I have always found John's a bit cerebral for me. Most interes…

The Shocking CBC

Forget Jian Ghomeshi. CBC Radio One has me reeling this weekend. Yesterday, Sook-Yin Lee was covering the topic of pilgrimage on Definitely Not the Opera, and today on Tapestry, they've crossed the predictable line and were talking about spirituality and film. (Finally. The best course instructor I had in my Masters taught film and theology--yes, you, Adelmo Dunghe, SJ!) You can hear the podcasts at DNTO and Tapestry. Lights, Camera, Religion!Photo Credit: Jessica Diamond Season 20: Episode 18 Can Saturday night at the movies remind you of Sunday morning at church or Friday night at temple? Sure thing, if you see Martin Scorcese's Raging Bull a passion play and the goofy comedy Groundhog Day as a deeply religious film. In this episode, we explore the movie theatre as a place of worship. When you go to the movies, are you tapping into some kind of religious experience? Our guests tackles that question. John Lyden is the editor of The Journal of Religion and FilmGeoff Pevere is a…

Review of a New Version of the Bible

I had been looking for an updated, both-testament version of a Bible I have had for years: the Thomas Nelson Word in Life Study Bible. Then I found one, but was quickly put off when I read a review on that said that The Modern Life Study Bible was just a repackaging of the earlier one. I took a leap of faith and bought it anyway because other reviewers were describing something much broader. It did not disappoint. Not only have the editors dispensed with the (frankly) lame line drawings of people and the simplistic maps, but the resources are myriad and excellent. Its themed sidebars are useful and current, the maps are topographical and clear, key verses are listed and summaries provided at the start of each book, and better and more biographies of relevant people are included. The preface also better addresses translation issues and editorial style choices used in this version. The appendices are expanded, and the typesetting and overall design is much cleaner. The editor…

A December Post That is for Every Month

I found this lovely posting that was both personally relevant and in fact timeless. How many times I have felt these things in church--and in fact in most public places! The problem of invisible disability is frustrating, to say the least. We don't want to bring it up because people feel they have the right to ask us personal questions and then offer up their own experiences of pain and worst of all their suggestions for cure or symptom management. I have given up sharing it with new acquaintances and play it down with old ones. It's just too painful to try to get understanding. I salute Kit Watson for her contribution: 22nd December - The chronically illCome to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 You probably know several people who have invisible dis…

The Charnel-House

~  From Bauhaus to Beinhaus

I tripped up on The Charnel-House through six degrees of social-media-postings-separation and was interested to see something so intellectually challenging in the blogosphere. Ross Wolfe is a post-grad student whose blog examines history, art, philosophy and architecture, amongst other things. To be honest, some of his posted art is a little macabre for my taste (and I love Kurelek's apocalyptic religious art!) and there is some political criticism that is not of interest to me, but I appreciated the breadth of his posts. I also found he was hearing, in his contact area, from people from very discrete backgrounds and was stimulating feedback that is not the usual blue and white thumbs up or expletive-loaded abuse hurled by some posts' readers. You can read more about him here and check out his posts here.

Macbeth for Graphic Readers

I talked about Gareth Hinds in another blog a few years ago, because I appreciated what his work was contributing to keeping kids interested in mythology and literature. Next month, he has another book coming out, Macbeth in a new adaptation of the text. It's his fourth Shakespearean release and you can read more about his work and the reviews here.  You can place orders here, Amazon and various other outlets. I wish Gareth continued success in his work.