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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bella: I'm in love

I saw the movie "Bella" on Friday night, to a packed house, and can I just say - sorry, Barb. I love what you're doing out there in la-la-land, and I agree with you 95% of the time, but not this time. At least not regarding the movie itself, on its own merits. I suppose it remains to be seen what's up with the marketing/distribution issues.

For me to explain this movie and why I like it is difficult.

It's not that it gave me "warm fuzzies" like Barb insinuated would happen (it didn't really, though I did leave the theater happier than when I came).

It's not that the actors were "amazing...astonishing...magnificent" (though they were really really good).

It's not that the script was the "best ever" or that it had a lot of quotable "wow" lines (it was good, don't get me wrong, but as a whole - not a lot of zingers).

It's not that it was a "pro-life" movie, because it wasn't. At least, not in the way that some may think pro-life could or should be (rather, I'd say that it is a LIFE movie, one that challenges you to make your own conclusion that life, all life, is bella - beautiful).

It's not that it was a Christian movie, heck, God was only mentioned by His name once - in writing (though there was other "touches" around, like a crucifix pendent, and Catholic art in the parents' home).

It's not because Eduardo is so incredibly handsome to us ladies (but, well, he is - I consider it a bonus!).

So... why do I love "Bella"?

Oddly, I think the best way to describe my love is to appeal to another movie you might have seen: "Crash". Those of you who have seen "Crash" may be thinking, "huh?" right now. Stay with me. What's "Crash" about? How every action in each of our lives connects us to each other and impacts all of us. More implicitly, "Crash" also splendidly shows us how Providence is at work in all things, to help us and guide us and, above all, SAVE us. From ourselves and our own petty selfishness and sinful behavior. At the heart of "Crash" is a tale of relationship, love, sin and culminating in redemption. All wrapped up in a package that leads you step by step to this realization, not all at once. Like life.

Where "Crash" uses a variety of different people, and a variety of different mini-stories, even vignettes, to weave its vision of the unity of our existence, "Bella" uses just a few people and one story composed of many underlying facets. But it has the same result - it demonstrates to you how life, all life, is both precious and important. Every life. It demonstrates the real actions of our lives, and the unity of the global and historical community that we are a part of, whether we know it or not, want it or not. Best of all, it guides us to this realization, as "Crash" did, without forcing us or dragging us into some sort of ideological agenda. It respects our intelligence.

Sidenote: One of Barb's major criticisms of "Bella", if I remember correctly, was that she thought it was choppy and badly edited. It is true, it is a choppy film compared to most, and likely some of this is due to bad editing. There are a few parts especially that I think are unclear and remain unclear - the clinic "vision" and the time transition at the end of the film in particular - though perhaps these do not need to be "resolved" and tidily wrapped up with a bow to be any more effective. However, I would ask Barb and others to consider more the correspondence that I've noticed between "Bella" and "Crash", and see if that doesn't help to explain a little more the fittingness behind the piece-by-piece presentation of information... I think it does.

Bottom line: See "Bella"! If you go to "Bella", you will come out a better person, with a deeper respect for the gift of all of our lives. Not many movies do that!

(Families - I would say that this film is appropriate for most children 13 or over, and in fact I would say that it would be a VERY GOOD thing for all our teens to see this film - to see how "true love goes beyond romance")


Blogger Clayton said...

I liked the film. Not a great film, but a good one, IMO. The marketing campaign? Another matter. Not terribly fond of the tactics.

November 12, 2007 1:15 AM  

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