STRANGE BEDFELLOWS.Mixing the spiritual and the cinematic.
It had the marks of a standard Hollywood gala: People jostling glasses of white wine as they elbowed through the crowd, hors d'oeuvre trays bulging with cheese and colorful slices of fruit.
But then the voice of Richard Mouw Richard J. Mouw is currently President at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also holds the post of Professor of Christian Philosophy. Education and Career
Mouw was educated at Houghton College from which he received the B.A. degree. He then studied for the M. , president of Fuller Theological Seminary Through its three schools, Theology, Psychology, Intercultural Studies, and the Horner Center for Lifelong Learning, the seminary offers university-style education leading to 13 different degrees accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Western , sounded over the gathering as he welcomed guests who had come not to laud the entertainment industry's latest box-office triumph, but to ask how film can help Christians understand "the story we have to tell."
Fuller is one of the key sponsors of the six-year-old City of the Angels Film Festival, which was held in Los Angeles in November. With the appropriately titled theme "Embracing Apocalypse: Visions of Faith and Fear," the event showcased eight feature films and screened eight shorts and documentaries. Other sponsors included Catholics in Media Associates, Showtime, and the Odyssey Television Network.
By bringing together theologians and media professionals who "see the arts as a way to communicate our most transcendent longings," said festival chair and independent television producer Cecilia Gonzalez, organizers want to promote dialogue about cinema's power to inspire spiritual and social reflection. "Great films deal with great questions," she said.
The festival opened with director Frank Capra's 1937 classic Lost Horizon, which probes the nature and possibility of an ideal society through the story of crash survivors in the Himalayas who take refuge in the paradisiacal "Shangri-La."
After three days of screenings, the festival wrapped up with Stanley Kubrick's 1964 Dr. Strangelove, the unnerving un·nerve
tr.v. un·nerved, un·nerv·ing, un·nerves
1. To deprive of fortitude, strength, or firmness of purpose.
2. To make nervous or upset. and darkly comic vision of a wildcard See wild cards and wildcard mask. U.S. Air Force general who single-handedly initiates an American nuclear attack and sets in motion an irreversible Soviet "doomsday" machine.
Sandwiched between Capra and Kubrick were films ranging from the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still to Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 The Birds and Wim Wender's 1997 The End of Violence. Additional offerings included Woody Allen's Sleeper (1973), Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985), and Lamerica, a 1994 film by Italian director Gianni Amelio about the disastrous flight of Albanians after the fall of the Hoxha regime. Though widely divergent in time and setting, the films ask similar questions about how people of faith should live and shape society in light of their own finitude fin·i·tude
The quality or condition of being finite.
Noun 1. finitude - the quality of being finite
boundedness, finiteness .
THE PORTRAYAL OF political apocalypse in Lamerica skillfully intertwines the personal and social dimensions of cataclysm.
The film tells the story of a young Italian entrepreneur, Gino (Enrico Lo Verso Enrico Lo Verso (born January 18 1964 in Palermo) is an Italian actor.
He studied acting at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and INDA|Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico. ), who joins with a senior partner to exploit post-communist Albania. The team sets up a phony shoe factory, then searches for an easily controlled Albanian to manage the company. When the figurehead figurehead, carved decoration usually representing a head or figure placed under the bowsprit of a ship. The art is of extreme antiquity. Ancient galleys and triremes carried rostrums, or beaks, on the bow to ram enemy vessels. executive, a seemingly irrational prisoner named Spiro (Carmelo di Mazzarelli), escapes, Gino pursues him.
Eventually forsaken for·sake
tr.v. for·sook , for·sak·en , for·sak·ing, for·sakes
1. To give up (something formerly held dear); renounce: forsook liquor.
2. by his business partner, Gino himself winds up in prison. Released from jail but with his papers confiscated con·fis·cate
tr.v. con·fis·cat·ed, con·fis·cat·ing, con·fis·cates
1. To seize (private property) for the public treasury.
2. To seize by or as if by authority. See Synonyms at appropriate.
adj. , he joins the masses desperately fleeing Albania's economic and political chaos. Gino encounters Spiro again aboard Lamerica, a ship bound, Spiro thinks, for America. The audience knows the destination is Italy, where the door will slam shut to the refugees and, presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. , Gino and Spiro.
During the panel discussion after the film, Rabbi Susan Laemmle commented on the movie's portrayal of the "individual" at dangerous odds with "the social order." As an audience member pointed out, the proud capitalist Gino "enters a social apocalpyse and goes through a personal apocalypse."
With its unusual blend of the cinematic and the spiritual, the City of the Angels festival sparked conversation about the fragility of life and the necessity of redemption even at the dawn of a new age.
Most of the films screened at the 1999 festival are available in video or DVD DVD: see digital versatile disc.
in full digital video disc or digital versatile disc
Type of optical disc. The DVD represents the second generation of compact-disc (CD) technology. . After its theatrical debut in 1995, Lamerica was released in VHS (Video Home System) A half-inch, analog videocassette recorder (VCR) format introduced by JVC in 1976 to compete with Sony's Betamax, introduced a year earlier. in February 1998. Of the other films, The Day the Earth Stood Still and Sleeper are available in VHS, and Lost Horizon, The Birds, Dr. Strangelove, and Brazil in VHS and DVD. Facets Video in Chicago (wwwfacets.org) offers The End of Violence, available in VHS and DVD.
TED PARKS is associate professor of Spanish at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. For more information, visit www.cityofangelsfilmfest.org.