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AletheiaRivers

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Guest billmc

I loved "Big Fish."

 

The crisis in the movie is the tension that exists between a father who is old and dying and his grown son who feels that his father has never told him a true story in his life. Everything that happened in the father's life seemed to be larger than life and of mythical proportions. He was a story-teller. And his son wanted the facts.

 

To me, this movie helped me understand how the early church probably made Jesus and his life "larger than life" in order to keep the story and influence of this great man alive for future generations. Great cast, good writing, and one of the few Tim Burton movies that I like. :)

Edited by billmc

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“The Help” qualifies as a PC film -- the kind that makes you ache for more social justice in the world. I had read the book and thought the movie was a sensitive adaptation with outstanding performances. On the one hand it was appalling to realize such intimately cruel domestic discrimination was going on in the deep south, that I had no clue about. Yet it was inspiring to see how the characters found the courage to tell their stories despite terrible risk, and reclaim their dignity.

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“The Help” qualifies as a PC film -- the kind that makes you ache for more social justice in the world. I had read the book and thought the movie was a sensitive adaptation with outstanding performances. On the one hand it was appalling to realize such intimately cruel domestic discrimination was going on in the deep south, that I had no clue about. Yet it was inspiring to see how the characters found the courage to tell their stories despite terrible risk, and reclaim their dignity.

Rivianna,

 

We saw the film last night and I concur with your recommendation. I grew up in the South in a similar social milieu (but a step down the social ladder - more middle class) and I can attest to the authenticity of the attitudes expressed in the film.

 

I have trouble today reconciling these attitudes with some of the otherwise decent, educated, intelligent people who held them. My family was racist (in today's terms), but had a more paternalistic attitude toward African Americans. They did not hate Blacks, but thought they were just not quite our equal.

 

I think these attitudes are testimony to the power of racism that is in us. Also, the profound progress that I have witnessed in my lifetime is testimony to human potential. I could never, as a child, have ever imagined the progress that has been made.

 

George

 

P.S. While I was never a crusader for justice that the main character in the movie was, I knew from very early on that something was wrong. In fact, I got in a little hot water from time to time for not practicing discriminatory behavior. So, I suspect we all have a seed in us that tells us what is right and wrong.

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Hi Karen and George,

 

Its seems to me there are no shortage of films these days related to social justice. There are a few tear-jerking movies i have recently watched on netflix concerning ethnic cleansing and orphan life and such. Hopefully they heighten our awareness of such things and move us to respond where possible rather than making us numb to them.

 

Joseph

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George, my own childhood memories of experiences of the social issues here in the south seem similar to your own..."colored people" were different, separate, no equal, but also not despised of the be treated disrespectfully. And, my family was mostly a lower working class that never had hired domestc help, and many had also lived through some hard times and poverty, had worked low prestige jobs, that included chopping and picking cotton, as well as a fair number of the women having themselves worked as domestics, house cleaning, taking in laundry, and the like, though these women were all white, not black or hispanic.

 

I've read "The Help" but not seen the movie. My one reservation about not only "The Help" but the image of this sort about the white/black social issues of the South is what I feel is a distortion that misses an important component...underyling the black/white is the power/subjegation pertaining to wealth and social class, in addition to, and apart from, racism.

 

The routine casual acceptance of the more wealthy, powerful, socially elite, commonly using and abusing those poor and less powerful, is not just a "Southern" issue, however. Without identifying their relationships to me out of respect for privacy for any touched by such incidents in the past, desperately poor women and even young minor girls were forced to tolerate often terrible abuse, inclding sexual abuse, rape, as a condition of their jobs. Even if willing to give up the job, they knew, or learned in hard ways, no one would believe them or take their part if they reported or protested the abuse. That is one part of what I know domestics suffered back then that I found missing from the book, "The Help", and that bothered me when I read it. Honestly, the women in "The Help" were treated with much more respect and decency than I know was common at the time. The attitudes of the whites are presented as being lack of respect, but in mostly petty ways, rather than the abusive disrespect that was unfortunately common at the time.

I am aware of multiple older women within just my own extended family that suffered such sexual abuse while workig as domestics, and that even gave birth to their abusers' babies..in most, and actually in all those I have personally learned of, the pregnancies were hidden, the babies surrendered for adoption at birth, and the whole nasty matter kept tightly sealed under secret. In one particularly difficult and painful occasion not all that many years ago, within my own family, such a child, by then a woman in her 50's, at last found the birth mother she had searched for so many years...she had romanticized illusions of finding her birth mother, discovering her conception and birth circumstances as the result of her mother's "young love" forbidden by old-fashioned parents...she was totally unprepared for the terrible wounds her sudden appearance would rip open. The birth mother had largely blocked the memory, and neither her husband nor her children had ever even suspected she had given birth to a child no one knew about. Or, that she was going to have to replace her romantic notions of her birth circumstances with the ugly truth, that she was the result of her young teen mother's sexual abuse by her wealthy employers, and not some socially unapproved young love affair.

 

"The Help" is a good book, and I do want to see the movie, but I do think it signficantly softens, prettys-up, a more nasty and harsh reality of the era it represents.

 

Jenell

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The Golden Compass is more anti-Christian than it is PC-themed, but I think the movie's anti-dogmatism and anti-fundamentalism themes can still be appreciated by many progressive Christians as long as you keep an open mind and aren't easily offended. Though the movie version waters down a lot of the more explicit anti-religious themes from the book, which may make it more accessible for open minded Christians but I highly recommend the book series too to finish the story since it seems they'll probably never finish making the rest of the movies. The movie Save Me is also an emotionally gripping look at the inside of the ex-gay movement from a gay Christian perspective. But unlike many movies that deal with the issue of homosexuality and religion, Save Me doesn't try to demonize the fundamentalists as being all evil hateful people but they try to take a more sympathetic but still highly critical approach and none of the characters in the film are portrayed as perfect or overly righteous.

Edited by Neon Genesis

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My one reservation about not only "The Help" but the image of this sort about the white/black social issues of the South is what I feel is a distortion that misses an important component...underyling the black/white is the power/subjegation pertaining to wealth and social class, in addition to, and apart from, racism.

 

The routine casual acceptance of the more wealthy, powerful, socially elite, commonly using and abusing those poor and less powerful, is not just a "Southern" issue . . .

Jenell,

 

Yes indeed, class discrimination with its power and abuse is not just a "Southern" issue. In fact, it has been in the headlines recently with the incident involving the man who most likely would have been the president of France, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

 

A not so dissimilar incident is reported in the Bible with the celebrated King David and Bathsheba. We also have the story of Hagar who ended up in the desert with only a little bread and water for her 'service.'

 

George

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George, yes....

For some reason, the story of Hagar and Ismael has always been one that touched me deeply, in ways not always compatable with the general religious thought around me...

Hagar was at the mercy of her slave masters, an obedient servant to Sarah....just as the women I mentioned in my post above, she was at their mercy, and had no choice in the matter of laying with Abram and concieving a child by him. It was at her mistresses' order....she dutifully bore Ishmael, son of Abraham.... and then suffered the jealousy and wrath of that same mistress whe circumstances having nothing to do with her or what she did, changed everything.

I have always felt such compassion for Hagar, thrown ouut into the wilderness, and her son Ishamel, rejected by the father he had loved and thought loved him...

But most powerful to me, about that, was that God had compassion for Hagar, showed mercy on her and her child, and most of all, in His mercy, promised her that her that He knew her faithful service, and promised to make of her son a great nation....

When I learned Hagar and Ishmael are traditionally the progentators of the Arab peoples, they too took on a special place in my estimation and my heart. Long before today's tumultous matters in the middle east, and the present prevailing hatred and despising of Arabic peoples, I read a bit about these nomadic peoples of the wilderness, their culture, their values, their ideas about God, called in the Arabic tongue, Allah, and came to feel respect and love for them. That has made events and culturaldevelopmennts of recent years difficult for me, a source of great conflict...

I still feel strongly different toward those peoples, and the place they may have in God's plan, even as set forth in the bible...what kind of God would have thought it merciful to spare Hagar and Ishmael, promise to make of them a great nation, only to have it end up with millions of members of that great nation doomed to damnation and hell? I cannot, will not, accept that. I am incliined to accept that Gd did indeed send to them "the Prophet", they were a nomadic culture basically rejected and cut out from the Jewish and Christian communities by merely their incompatable nomadic lifestyle. I cannot accept that God had no special provision for them as a people.

And it all began with the obedience of a simple slave girl that lat with her mistress's husband, for the purpose of bearing him a child, a matter she had no choice in, yet accepted, embracing and loving that child as a a devoted mother....I cannot but feel the deepest compassion,and respect, for such a woman.

Jenell

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It is strange how seemingly random events can shape any of our lives.....

As a child, I was a voracious reader, by the end of elementary school, I had a devoured pretty much everything i both the school and local public library, at least the sections they would allow a child into those days. I've always been one of those that even have to read the cereal box in it's entirety at breakfast..I read every volume of the sets of encyclopedias for recreational pastime, if it lands in front of me, I figure I'm supposed to read it....

 

At some point along in there, I discovered a dusty, musty old box of books buried under the stacks of baggage of my parent's lives to that point, in a garage storage closet....and worked my way through pretty much all of them more than once.... they were Time-Life collected works of John Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis, and Zane Gray. No wonder I turned out a little strange, and most definitely on the liberal social-justice bent......and no doubt my early introduction to Elmer Gantry had more than a minor influence on the directions my develpment of attitudes toward organized religion would take....

 

Jenell

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"Fiddler on the Roof" is one I would add, perhaps someone else has already mentioned it and I missed it....I am going too copy and save some of the lists and comments...

Espeically thanks to Rivanna for the resouce shared above, I went and glanced at it, its great!

 

Jenell

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Some notable films I've seen fairly recently -

 

“Martha Marcy May Marlene” –a young woman trying to leave a quasi-religious cult - scary

“A Separation” –moving, personal glimpses into Iranian society becoming increasingly fragmented - sad

“Beginners” – after his wife dies, a 75 yr old father reveals to his son that he is gay, and explores a new life – upbeat

 

“Tree of Life” – the story of a 1950’s Texas family, interwoven with evolutionary imagery that seems to tie the narrative to the origins of life, the history of the universe. The Classical music and visual effects are memorable, but to me the attempt at portraying an ‘everyfamily’ is misleading –three sons and no daughters, the wife is saintly and downtrodden, the husband devoted but domineering. Was intrigued by the bible allusions, and the statements about nature / grace.

Edited by rivanna

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Surely the Monty Python movies deserve a mention. A few years ahead of their time and extremely controversial in their day was The Life of Brian, and my personal favourite was the Quest for the Holy Grail. I believe they had a poke at organised religion once or twice in the Meaning of Life as well. Humour is good at getting people to think about serious issues isn't it?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVHhg67RVd4&feature=player_embedded

 

Regards

 

Paul

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Humor is good at getting people to think about serious issues, isn’t it?” yes, definitely!

 

I’m embarassed to admit I haven’t seen any Monty Python films, but know people who rave about them.

 

My all-time favorite for combining humor and spiritual transformation is “Groundhog Day” - great comedy, great message.

 

also remember enjoying these --

 

Keeping the Faith

Dogma

Bruce (and Evan) Almighty

Michael (John Travolta as the very down-to-earth angel)

Heaven can wait

Oh God!

 

others I’ve heard about in this category but haven’t seen--

 

Religulous

Wholly Moses

Saved!

Sister Act

The Gods Must Be Crazy

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Speaking of films that deliver light-hearted romantic comedy with an inspiring, almost visionary theme--

my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” Surprisingly good.

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Speaking of films that deliver light-hearted romantic comedy with an inspiring, almost visionary theme--

my husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” Surprisingly good.

 

We saw it last night and liked it as well. But, I have particularly fond feelings for Yemen and Yemenis. At least one scene was definitely filmed in Yemen (the initial visit in the village) and a number of others could well have been (the dam scenes).

 

However, I am not sure what constitutes a PC movie. Happy ending? Uplifting message? Great scenery? Great music?

 

George

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We saw it last night and liked it as well. But, I have particularly fond feelings for Yemen and Yemenis. At least one scene was definitely filmed in Yemen (the initial visit in the village) and a number of others could well have been (the dam scenes).

 

However, I am not sure what constitutes a PC movie. Happy ending? Uplifting message? Great scenery? Great music?

 

George

 

I think if a movie speaks to you personally in PC terms George, then it qualifies for you, whatever the movie. :)

 

Regards

 

Paul

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I have no objection to anyone recommending any film or music and I do support this section. I just found the title potentially restricting, but without definition. And, honestly, I don't think we need a formal definition. Most participants (at least the ones who stay around) generally exercise reasonable judgement.

 

Presumably, something like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" would not be appropriate by any reasonable measure. (So, I wasn't planning to recommend it although it may meet my personal aesthetic standard. :))

 

George

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Last week I saw an amazing Israeli film called “Footnote,” in Hebrew with subtitles, which has been highly acclaimed. The story revolves around a scholarly father and son, Eliezer and Uriel, both at the same university in Jerusalem, specializing in research on the Talmud. While there is a huge generation gap between the two men, they both share a passion for truth, their religion, and their families. It’s partly a satire on the stress of academic life, but more deeply, explores father / son tensions and rivalries-- echoing some ancient biblical characters. It made me curious about the Talmud. An extraordinary movie.

Edited by rivanna

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