Friday, January 29, 2016

A Movie to Bolster Our Faith

Last night a few of us Sisters, Daughters of St. Paul from the Boston community went to the Cinema at Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass. to view a new movie: Risen. The wide theater screen certainly gave a "you are there" feeling of being in first century Palestine. The story's focus is on Clavius, a Roman Tribune, the commanding officer of all the troops in turbulent Judea. The film shows Pontius Pilate as a slippery sort of politician. The Tribune, played by Joseph Fiennes, is a master of military tactics. Although a pagan who worships Mars the god of war, he displays some feeling for his own fallen soldiers as well as a minimal respect for the Hebrew population. Pilate leaves the Tribune no peace as he calls on him continually to quell the rumors that Jesus has risen from the dead. Pilate wants to eliminate any mention of a risen King of the Jews. After making Clavius question "witnesses" at the tomb of Jesus, the Tribune is charged with producing the dead body of Jesus or face dire consequences. Clavius was too honest to lie. The film shows Clavius as being present at Jesus' death and witnessing the centurion Longinus' faith, as well as his own mighty efforts to seal Jesus' tomb. The film shows his trailing the Apostles to Galilee where he actually meets the Risen One. What happens next is for the reader to find out by going to see the film when it comes out February 19. Fiennes is an excellent actor. Some of you may remember him in the Constant Gardener, a film hard to watch but with a powerful social justice underpinning. I would recommend the film for teens on up. The opening scenes of Roman soldiers quelling rebels of the Jewish Zealot Party may be a bit too "real" for a younger audience. Fiennes plays his role very well. I am happy the film is coming out at the beginning of Lent. It is a good way to meditate on what Jesus endured for each of us.
Here is part of a conversation about the film quoting the main actor: Joseph Fiennes:
I think we got it right, and it seems there's an overwhelmingly positive reaction from theologians and Christian ministers from whom we sought council during filming and the editing process. I'm just a small component in that. It's like a detective story. Clavius goes on this mission, and on that mission, his conditioning and his understanding of the world as he knows it is undone, irrevocably. That was a big challenge, really, to get that believability to the character and also to remain true to Scripture and also to make it a great cinematic event.
Enjoy these last few days of January. God bless you and go to see Risen when it's in your neighborhood!

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