Tag Archives: film

Monsieur Vincent

monsieur_vincent_4

Vincent tries to get someone to adopt this orphan

When Monsieur Vincent opens, we see Vincent Depaul entering a deserted town. Whenever he knocks on a door, someone throws rocks at him from the second floor. Finally, Vincent who’s the new priest in town gets let inside. He discovers that the aristocrats inside are hiding hoping to avoid the plague. They’re in the midst of a wild party just in case they don’t escape the plague.

As the new priest, and one that lives the gospel, Vincent tries to convince the nobles to take in a girl whose mother has just died. They’re all to scared. He winds up taking her in a very modest room he’s rented.

Monsieur-Vincent-1947-1

Vincent’s wisdom is revered by the rich. He’s soon the mentor and spiritual guide for a wealthy couple, but he wants to help the poor. When he tells his patrons that he plans to leave they keep him near by supporting his charity efforts more. This works for a while, but eventually Vincent goes to Paris where he begins a charity for the poorest of the poor.

Throughout his work with the poor, Vincent recruited wealthy women to help him and found great frustration when they didn’t agree with his ideas of expanding and expanding their charity programs. Eventually, realizing that people who understand the poor may be better to work with, he taps a poor girl to become one of his first nuns. Actually, she came to him and the light bulb went off.

I went to a high school named after Louise de Marillac, a wealthy woman, who became key to Vincent’s outreach to the poor. In the film, she’s just in a couple scenes. You can see that she’s a peer of the wealthy women, so Vincent wants her to lead them, though it’s tough to convince these opinionated women to trust Vincent. (St. Louise de Marillac wound up leading the Daughters of Charity, an order of nuns that serves the poor.)

This bio pic was interesting and well done. I was surprised that so much of the time Vincent Depaul dealt with administrative issues and trying to persuade the aristocracy to help him more. I thought he was more “hands on.” In any event, the film moved along well and introduces people to this 17th century saint.

In French with subtitles.

Advertisements

The Keys of the Kingdom

The_Keys_of_the_Kingdom_poster_149741

In Keys of the Kingdom, Gregory Peck plays Father Chisolm, a young, humble, authentic priest who is sent to China after a lack of success in his home of Scotland. His mentor, a bishop feels Fr. Chisolm will thrive in China.

The story’s told in flashback. It begins with an old Fr. Chisolm getting reprimanded and told his unorthodox teachings are forcing him to be removed from his hometown parish. The bishop who makes this threat is staying at Chisolm’s rectory. Before he goes to sleep, he picks up Fr. Chisolm’s memoirs and reads of his extraordinary life.

Chisolm’s father and mother were killed in a riot against Catholics. He’s brought up by and aunt and almost marries as a young adult but circumstances lead him to stick with his choice of the priesthood. As a young priest, his parishioners don’t appreciate his questioning and some of his theology. His mentor has a hunch that Fr. Chisolm would be right for a deserted mission in China.

When Fr. Chisolm arrives in rural China, every believer has left as they really only came for the free rice. The church is in ruins. Slowly, Fr. Chisolm rebuilds and stays true to his principles and beliefs even if it means losing the church or being treated like an inferior by a haughty former classmate.

I have such an appreciation for anyone who pulls up stakes and moved to Asia before the comforts and connections of our era. No internet, reliable heat or a/c, few books or letters from home must have taken ages.

At one point the political climate in China shifts and warlords threaten the mission.

I found the movie compelling and was better than average for avoiding the stereotypes so common in the 1940s. His performance is carries the film and I would never have guessed it was Peck’s second film. It seemed like a biography, but apparently it’s based on a novel, not a real life.

My only complaint is I wish they hadn’t skipped through the years of turmoil and war in China. They show early 20th century violence, but explain and show little of the revolution that erupted. The film jumps from one attack when Fr. Chisolm was probably in his late 30s to Chisolm as an old man. By weaving in Fr. Chisolm’s ecumenical beliefs and his strong friendship with an atheist, the film feels modern.


The Flowers of St. Francis, Film

flowers_1

I thought this would be a biopic, but it isn’t, or not traditionally so. Get Brother Sun, Sister Moon if you want to see how Francis became a Saint. Watch this to get a feel for his life, for his approach to prayer and spirituality. Directed by Robrito Rossellini, written by Federico Fellini, this gentle film about a great saint, The Flowers of St. Francis shows 12 vignettes of Francis and his followers. It’s gentle, serene, humbling and at times funny. Francis’ humility, and connection to God come through clearly. He’s so patient with his men, some of whom would make me tear my hair out like Br. Ginepro, who creates trouble by stealing a pig’s foot from a live pig. Ginepro was my second favorite character as he’s funny, but also so sincere. Ginepro just lacked wisdom at first, but his capture by barbaric rebels was probably the pinnacle of the film.

The Flowers of St. Francis is well worth anyone’s time.


Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

the-way-movie-poster-390x280

On Wednesdays, Judy, creator of an inspiring blog, A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings encouraged participants to list their blessings, to give thanks for the five things in the past week and then link to her blog. Judy has since stopped blogging, but giving thanks is a good spiritual practice so I’ll continue.

This week I am thankful for:

  1. The Way, a film with Martin Sheen about a grieving father who hikes along the Way of St. James in Spain.
  2. A safe and interesting trip to Champaign, Illinois for my Library Science orientation.
  3. Winter comfort food like chicken and dumplings or pot roast.
  4. My friend Mary, from high school. Though she’s moved far away we’re still on the same wavelength. She’s going through a tough time and I pray it doesn’t last much longer. She’s a dear person.
  5. Old priests. Where would we be without them? The priest who said mass Sunday was ordained in 1962 and one who came a few weeks before was in his late 80s. Still pretty lively.

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

 

On Wednesdays, Judy, creator of an inspiring blog, A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings encouraged participants to list their blessings, to give thanks for the five things in the past week and then link to her blog. Judy has since stopped blogging, but giving thanks is a good spiritual practice so I’ll continue

This week I am thankful for:

  1. The beautiful snow we got on Christmas and on the 25th, just enough to make everything pretty, but not make driving hazardous.
  2. The documentary film Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry. It’s a bracing film about an artist who sicks his neck out to make China more transparent and democratic.
  3. Christmas cookies. We still have loads and I’m glad God gave me some discipline so I’m not gobbling them all up.
  4. The afternoon tea I got to enjoy with my friend Theresa who’s in from out of town and Sheila. Tea is so civilized.
  5. All the men and women, police, military, firefighters, who sacrifice so that we’re safe.