I screened ‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ in my basement (you can see my cousin’s lovely glass art and my inherited mission clock)

I screened ‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’ in my basement (you can see my cousin’s lovely glass art and my inherited mission clock)

‘… I couldn’t give up hope. I know the tides… I went around the point’

It is our weaknesses that overwhelm us with bitterness at times when going through trials and temptations, until they are overcome by the true sweetness of grace, which draws us closer to the ones we love and fills us with the capacity to love. It is the memory of the bitterness that equips us to help others and the memory of the sweetness that gives us the opportunity.

There hasn’t been anything better on screen since. I’d say most movies are different in kind, and only Marty and Silver Linings Playbook earnestly call on the same strengths to slightly lesser degrees.


The freedom of priorities revisited

I wrote about the freedom you feel when, like Kitty in Anna Karenina, you find what’s most important- what you would give everything for- and how that gets everything in line and gets you moving again. When you find that out, you can easily give up most things and you can have the courage to give up harder things when called upon. I think of the story of Aron Ralston in the movie 127 hours: that’s an intense version of what you would sacrifice to be able to move again and live! Here’s hoping that everyone finds what is most important in 2019!

I’ve read several reviews on Mudbound and I have something to add

I’ve read several reviews and I won’t try to express what these reviewers have already expressed eloquently and powerfully.

Still, I will add something that the major reviewers I’ve read have overlooked. The great hope in the end of the movie is acknowledgment of fatherhood. This is the power of the movie: that we need to take responsibility and atone for our sins is critical (and movingly conveyed throughout the movie), but the vital ending shows us how so many of us, through callousness or a lack of courage, also aren’t able to take responsibility for the beauty we’re a part of- further, when innocence is lost and evil has stolen your voice, it is that beauty that will speak for itself, if only we are, like Ronsel, faithful enough to acknowledge it!

The most inspired scene in Dunkirk- a triumph of good over evil in the heart of a man

The bad feelings welled up in me when the shell-shocked soldier, who struggling to flee more horror and death had mortally wounded a young man, later asked the dead man’s friend if the wounded man was ‘all right.’ The shell-shocked soldier didn’t know the young man was dead below deck. When the dead man’s friend pauses I felt his internal struggle and I lost it in my own mind- the struggle when evil starts to misguide your passions; when he replies ‘yeah’ it was a revelatory lighting bolt- the wisdom and the mercy of it. The dead man is all right if you have faith in heaven and grace, or even if you have faith in the rippling effects of sacrifice and heroism. More than that, by releasing the shell- shocked soldier from that burden, the soldier may live again.

I watched a really good Swedish movie and I think I know why the Scandinavians apparently have it better 

I watched A Man Called Ove and I really enjoyed it- but I think what’s stuck with me the most is the neighbourhood. There is a parking facility that looks like a bunch of storage units, and everyone walks from there to their homes (and Ove relentlessly and emphatically regulates this part- yelling at anyone who drives down the walking paths). 

It’s not the generous welfare state or the homogeneous society that makes Scandinavia by many measurements a better place to live than North America- it’s these neighbourhoods! Well on the aesthetic level (often connected to more important levels) the houses look so much better. I think many homes in North America look like storage units because the garage is the focal point of the building front and center. The areas out front of the houses are safer for children and pets to play because cars aren’t whizzing around. People have to walk from the communal garages and a walk is probably the best thing for your health, and then they’re walking in their community seeing their neighbours. I think the communal mailboxes in Canada have less of the same effect, though.