Saturday, March 06, 2010

Movies Where We Learn Something

A friend and I went to see The Last Station, a movie whose two leading actors are up for Oscars (like I care) but probably won't win because, as one website said, "Nobody saw The Last Station." Well, I did--and the handful of other people in the theatre on a very beautiful day in Chattanooga, so people should have been out walking rather than sitting in a dark theatre. Anyway, the movie was quite good and I learned something.
1. I have had a limited literary education despite my supposed degrees; I know Dostoeyvsky but only know Tolstoy through TV and movie versions of Ana Karenina.
2. I would rather not see women's boobs in a movie, really. But I don't like seeing men's rears either. It's just embarrassing. For some reason, it doesn't bother me in painting or sculpture, just movies.
3. I didn't know Tolstoy's religious and ethical contributions, that he was a hero of Dr. King and Gandhi, and a leader of a pacifist movement. The movie made the group out to be pretty cultic, and the paparazzi were hanging around his death bed like they did at NeverLand ranch after Michael Jackson's death, but as I say, I didn't know he was such a "big deal." Shame on me, I guess.

Of course, any movie is going to simplify for effect. At one point Christopher Plummer (who plays such a good bad guy, too) says as Tolstoy that he has learned that all the religions of the world are about one thing--Love. I beg to differ. Religions are about control, or attempts to control--sometimes control of self, which can be good, sometimes trying to control God (good luck with that), sometimes control of circumstance (through prayer or through more occult means), and very often about controlling others, either individuals or congregations or whole countries. Religion essentially means rules; look at the etymology, which shows it comes from a word to tie or fasten. Nothing wrong with rules, but that is not the same as love.

I don't want to get offensive, but it's clear some major religions are not about love. Of course, I don't want to think of Christianity as a "religion," as I believe it is true through and through in its radical, first century form, but unfortunately it has been tainted greatly by religion--rules, ties, bindings--as opposed to "faith working through love" (Paul's wonderful phrase in Galatians.)


Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

Barbara Tucker said...

Thanks, anonymous!

This might just change your life!