Saturday, May 26, 2018

"First Reformed"

So very well done ... with minimal, but accurate and biting, commentary on the times in which we live, the state of religion, the influence of money, the loss of hope, the rise of despair.

Ethan Hawke is amazing, and portrays a minister more realistically than I've seen previously. His character's story story is sad, his integrity deep, his sense of the faith, embracing, his struggles profound and agonizing.

It's a dark story, for sure: St John of the Cross, "The Dark Night of the Soul," or Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of the Matter."

I was pulled into the story, mind, body and soul ... yet without sentiment (thankfully).

One profound moment of imagery, the cross (with Amanda Seyfried, whose portrait of a young mother-to-be is profoundly moving) and a quick ending, with "Leaning on the Everlasting
Arms" in the background. I'll not say more.

But see this film - not for entertainment, but for sobriety, and a reminder of God's grace incarnate, and some hints and bits about the goodness of God (but no Hallmark here).

Hats off to Paul Schrader for such a finely crafted film.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Train to Zakopane"

Profound story, true (the filmmaker's father), with tragic twists and turns ... originally done as a play, the film was mostly the play filmed ... simple sets, some scenic footage inserted, some inaccurate "details" as a 1928 setting - a train whistle, costumes, cigarettes (I'll not say more; you'll have to catch these yourself) ... and all dialogue, as with a play, but sometimes tedious as a film.

So, as a film, flawed ...

As a story, enlightening and sad: 1928, a train, across Poland ... a chance meeting, a successful Russian businessman, a nurse in the Polish army, and then hate, love, and always ignorance ...

Poland's "original" sin, if you will, anti-Semitism, and role of the Catholic Church in promoting and perpetuating anti-semitism ... and survival, but at what cost?

In light of the history that unfolded with Herr Hitler, and our own present struggles, this is a story that needs to be told, and a film that needs to be seen. Excellent for groups.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

"American Socialist: the Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs"

Thoughtfully done ... lots of information, good footage and stills ... informative and provocative ... Debs was a man of compassion, kindness, intelligence, determination, and faith. He understood history, and knew the heart of America, and cared for it, as few have done. He was willing, at all the turns of his time, to put himself on the line, and pay whatever price was demanded of him

This was a chance for America, but big money went to work, as it has always done, sullied the word "socialist," hounded and jailed men like Debs, violently broke strikes, and did everything that big money can do to alter perceptions and change the course of history, and that was that.

Dazzled by the glitter, America chose another path, and what a price the American People have paid.

A very discouraging docu for me ... just how stupid we are, with our silly self-reliance delusions, and our willingness to throw one another under the bus, along with our environment.

Believing that Big Money really cares about us.

While Big Money laughs all the way to the bank, because the wealthy will never allow anyone or anything to diminish their wealth.

If you want to be disturbed, in the best kind of way, check out this terrific documentary.

That God would grant us leaders like Debs.
Oh, LORD, I pray.