Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Winter Light (1962)

Ingmar Bergman’s study of a pastors crises of faith is brilliant. I have watched this movie three times in the week since it arrived via Netflix, and I continue to get something more out of it each time. It is a complicated, layered, even ambiguous film, and intentionally so. The performances of the actors and interrelations of the characters are complex and deeply human. The snowy setting in the north of Sweden, in the winter time no-less, adds to the strained and alienated subtext of the characters. The cinematography distant, the dialog often sparse, but an intensity permeates throughout. This is the first Bergman film I’ve seen with a contemporary setting, and I felt that helped me relate to it more directly then The Seventh Sign or The Virgin Spring; yet Winter Light must be called timeless as well. I could talk about this film for a long time with you in conversation, but I find that writing about it almost seems futile at this point. You need to see this film to appreciate it. I appreciated it so much that I’ve orderd up the two other chapters of Bergmans ‘Faith Trilogy’, Through a glass Darkly , and The Silence, and shall see those both real soon. I may write a longer post about all three films in the future. Again, I love this movie. Five out of Five.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sheen Gems: The Best of Fulton J. Sheen (2005), His Irish Wit and Wisdom: Fulton Sheen (2006)

Respectively highlights from, and three complete episodes of, the long running television programs of Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979). A Bishop in the Roman Catholic Church, Illinois native Sheen was a philosophy professor and the author of 73 books. Bountifully blessed as a communicator, Sheen was a broadcasting natural, possessed of a rare magnetism that draws the viewer in, as well as a slight penchant for theatricality (watch how he uses his robe). I myself was utterly captivated by the man with in minutes, of course I was a communications major so I’m perhaps extra appreciative of fine speechmanship. Sheen seemed a kindly and warm hearted man, with a mischievous smile and excellent mental recall, yet when aroused by some moral issue he could speedily transform his soothing vocal into a thundering roar of conviction and moral indignation. In short a very dynamic, and fascinating gentleman, who had he pursued another course in life could have been a great politician, news, or entertainment personality (and no doubt he was all of those to some extent in his life). Bishop Sheen is currently being considered by the Catholic Church as a candidate for Sainthood. So if you know little or nothing about this man, I recommend you check out some of his material, you should be dully impressed by his performance and deliver if nothing else (though his messages are largely non-denominational). 4 and 3 out of 5 respectively.

Here's an example: Bishop Sheen Condemns Communists

Trivia: The actor Martin Sheen adopted his current last name in honor of the good Bishop.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What you will find when you step inside a Mormon Chapel- I thought this would be an apropos companion piece to my last entry.