Saturday, October 27, 2007

"If You Want to Make God Laugh, Tell Him Your Plans."

I barely caught that little throw-away line from the end of the trailer for Bella. Please visit their website.

We all need to go and see this movie when it hits our markets. From what I've read and heard, it could be one of the most important movies ever to have been made.

I have long thought that what we need to wipe out abortion in America is a work of art so culturally relevant and unexpectedly persuasive that it changes hearts and then minds that had had no intention of being changed. We need an Uncle Tom's Cabin for the pro-life movement. Uncle Tom's Cabin isn't even that great of a book, but it gave a voice to the abolition movement that was cloaked in entertainment and storytelling. Tell a good story, and people will listen. There was a book released in 2005 called Emily's Hope by Ellen Gable that was about, among other things, abortion, but it lacked something in wide-spread appeal -- it was, in my opinion, too Catholic to meet with a broad readership -- and too artless in its approach to the subject. I really appreciated the author's effort, but knew that it would not reach much further than Catholic readers and those who, like me, read reviews in Gilbert Magazine.

Bella, though, may be the turning of the tide. I pray that it will be. Again, I have not seen it, and it has not even opened in the Seattle market yet, but it looks like in all aspects it will reflect its name: Beautiful. It reads on paper as a simple story that is deceptively deep and touches those most veiled places in the conscience that know -- as I believe everyone knows in their hearts -- that life at all stages is something to respect and celebrate. This is film making with a purpose, and, yet, without any sacrifice of vision or integrity. And who would not want to read an interview like this with the star of every motion picture released?

Art can reach people who are unmoved by rhetoric, theology, or science. Art goes someplace within people that is the mysterious center that remembers the Creator. The more we learn to love the Creator, the larger the space within us that can be filled by art; but, no matter how small or how denied, that place is there. I do not care how much of an atheist you think you are, when you have been touched by a work of art, your soul has just acknowledged its Creator.

I was at a Chesterton Society meeting this past spring at Seattle Pacific University, and Jeffrey Overstreet from Christianity Today's movie site was the guest speaker. He has written an excellent book about finding spiritual relevance and reflections of holiness in even the most purportedly secular or even atheistic movies called Through a Screen Darkly. He spoke most entertainingly about the latest push by studios to capture the newly-discovered "Christian market," and then lamented that most of the offerings from these studios so far have been steeped in banality and oozing with saccharine sensibilities. He said that he "longed for the day when a movie with Christian themes would be made in which everything didn't turn out peachy keen for believers in the end,"* and yet would still be redemptive. I wonder what he will think of Bella. Above all, this movie simply looks real -- gritty, messy, tense, glowing, raw, beautiful, unexpected, brilliantly alive.

I can hardly wait to see this film -- a labor of love and a work of art.

*This is not an exact quote, but I think you get the gist.


vermonster said...

WOW! This is one to watch out for. Unfortunately, it falls in the "art film" or "independent film" category which means I wait for the OnDemand or dvd release.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention! Your like our own personal movie critic

sweetpea said...

Bella is an AMAZING life-changing movie that I pray will gain success as it sends a message that needs to be heard in today's society. Here is a link to theaters that are showing Bella now.