September 2004 Archives

Thoughts before the Debates

When I was in Spain and Germany, it was bolstering to my convictions when I saw US politics from across the ocean. Most with whom I spoke fear the US greatly. Others find it is a sign of a lack of morality in the American people that Bush could possibly be re-elected.

We have to keep working, getting one vote at a time, in order to strenghten democracy. A good sign for democracy is the overturn of that part of the the "Patriot" Act. that FBI uses to acquire info from telephone and Internet without telling us.

In true form, Ashcroft does not see infringement of our rights as dangerous to our society. "We believe the act to be completely consistent with the United States constitution," he told reporters at talks with European Union officials in the Netherlands.

Also good news, Eisenhower endorsing Kerry!


Children and Violence in Our World

It is interesting that the two Signis Prizes at the San Sebastian Film Festival are both awarded to stories about children who are defenseless in a hostile world. In both films the best in people is evoked by the children.

The Grand Prize was awarded to "Midwinter Night's Dream" about an autistic girl in post-war Serbia. The Future Talent Award, for work by a new director, was awarded to "El Cielito" about an Argentinian baby who is protected by a wandering young man in search of work. In both films, the endings are not rosy, but the future of the child is nevertheless hopeful without being naive.
It is hopeful that the community of filmmakers worldwide is making such beautiful films that actually propose solutions for our world.


Cielito and Midw inter Dream

Blogging is tough because connecting from my laptop is not easy here in San Sebastian. also, watching so many films keeps me running from one theatre to another.
I'm at the airport on the way to Dusseldorf and thankful that there is wireless here and there. Somehow, i am connecting without having to pay access fee. The connecton appeared on my laptop as a "wireless available" and I just logged on!

if you get a chance to see these films:
"El Cielito" is from Argentina and a first work. tears, tears, tears. but lots of smiles too. It explores machismo from a tender point of view, proposing alternative images of male heroism.

"Midwinter Night's Dream" stole my heart and had me crying and crying and hoping against hope that in a world full of violence and ignorance we place our life hopes in the strength of simply being a child of God, loving. This film is from Serbia-montenegro. Wonderful!

Both are outstanding and will be great for use in seminary courses that deal theology of hope. try them for different parish groups and in schools and universities, for they are an entry point to discussing options of action when facing unemployment, global poverty, ethnic strife.

'til later.

John Sayles Film

Am serving on the Signis Jury at the San Sebastian Film Festival and watching lots and lots of films. The week started off slowly with not much that interested me. Woody Allen did his world premiere of Melinda and Melinda. yawn.

Just now i saw John Sayles entry, "Silver City." I hope it gets wide distribution in the US. It is really sobering. An essay about the hopelessness, politically, that premeates the US because we keep heading dead-ends--and we keep hitting dead-ends because the coming together of money and prestige is so strong. The film is way too long, I think. But nevertheless, it is an important essay about our society. I hope it is released NOW, before the election.

Different Visually

It's 4:15 AM in Apeldoorn, Holland and I can't sleep due to my jetlag. I'll get up soon and go swim before starting my meetings here. I went quickly to two websites to collect some info and was struck at the difference viaually and programmatically of two websites of important US institutional church organizations.

The National Council of Churches is visually personal and takes you right to the actions for human rights and justice.

While the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is visually bureacratic and takes you to documents regarding anti-choice and indecency.

We inhabit different worlds in the same geographical space.

Questioning Religion

These days at the 4th Conference on Media, Religion and Culture have been full of exciting people from all over the world. Every minute of the day is full of either interesting workshops, papers and panels--or coffee/beers with friends and new acquaintances doing interesting research and making videos.

Yesterday afternoon I attended a panel on media and justice where Macky Alston screened a part of "Questioning Faith". I'm sorry I missed it when it showed on Canadian TV or when it won the freedom of expression award at the Sundance Festival because the only way i can even dream of seeing it is to be at one of the small screenings (the next one in NYC) or buy a video for -----US$ 350!!!

What is the problem here with wonderful films that we lowly folks who do not live in big cities will never be able to see? why can't we get them for, say, 25 bucks?
Something is very wrong here.

Also, met Jason who presented a well-reasoned and insightful paper about cyber weddings. Fun.

Media, Religion and Culture Conference

Am on my way to the 4th International Conference on Media, Religion and Culture. Louiseville, Kentucky is the site. The occasion is also the launch of a book co-edited by Peter Horsfield, Mary Hess and myself, "Belief In Media." The page for this book is under construction and will be finished soon (within days).


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