Category Archives: Movie

It’s April again

Every April, three movies appear on the viewing list:

Sometimes in April

Beyond the Gates (Shooting Dogs)

Hotel Rwanda

It is a time to remember the genocide in Rwanda; to realize that my knowledge of the horror is extremely limited; and to ponder the work that is needed today.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Movie

17 February 2019

Walk. Morningside Gardens.
Run, Run, Mourner Run – Sweet Honey in the Rock
Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations
Drift Away – Dobie Gray
Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin
Deep River – Paul Robeson
My Brother, My Brother – Aaron Neville
Mean Old Bedbug Blues – Bessie Smith
Airegin – Miles Davis
Give Me Your Love – Queen Latifah
You’re the Man – Pts. I & II – Marvin Gaye
Breathin – 2Pac
Heaven – John Legend
Why? (The King of Love Is Dead) – Nina Simone
Whisper You Love Me Boy – Diana Ross & The Supremes

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Filed under Exercise, Movie, New York, playlist

Grandma Cao

I watched The Apology tonight on PBS. It is a harrowing story of sexual violence and of official denial and the refusal of people to acknowledge and address past wrongs. It is a story endurance and perserverance in the face of such violence–physical, social, and psychological.

The documentary “follows three former “comfort women” who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Seventy years after their imprisonment, the survivors give their first-hand accounts of the truth for the record, seeking apology and the hope that this horrific chapter of history not be forgotten.”

I stand in awe of the grandmothers who tell their stories. Their courage and grace amazes me. I grieve for their experiences and for all the women who did not survive this violation. I am grateful for their willingness to share their stories and to filmaker Tiffany Hsiung and those who have captured and preserved their stories.

Grandma Cao, one of the women featured in the documentary, died on October 22.

Tiffany Hsiung has written a reflection on Grandma Cao, the grandmothers, and the realities of telling stories of sexual abuse and violence. The contemporary parallels are clear, painful, and instructive.

Here are some quotes:

It has been almost a decade since I first met Grandma Cao, and some other survivors of World War II. History might refer to them as “comfort women,” a euphemism given by the Japanese Imperial Army. But to me, they are “the grandmothers” and what started out as a journey to uncover these atrocities, soon turned into an exploration of one’s perseverance.

The grandmothers I interviewed told me that back in the old days — and even today — people will say things like, “Well, if it really happened then why didn’t you say something sooner?” Or, “The only reason you are saying this is because you want money and attention.” Sadly, this rhetoric is still often heard today as a defense when a woman publicly discloses her experience with sexual violence.

For many survivors, the decision to speak out is a daunting one. The thought of negative repercussions can be worse than burying it deep inside of you forever.

For victims of sexual violence, the biggest fear about speaking out is not being believed and, thereby, being re-victimized. Society has perpetuated a culture of shame that has resulted in decades, or even lifetimes, of silence for survivors of sexual violence. Something has to change.

Watch The Apology. Read Tiffany Hsiung’s article. Believe survivors. Break the culture of shame. Challenge rape culture. “Something has to change.”

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, Movie

The Until We Meet Again Tour – 22 July 2016 – birthday edition

The  Until We Meet Again Tour took an interesting turn on this birthday.

The plan had been to go to the office to do some more cleaning and packing for the move.

Yesterday afternoon, however, my colleagues in the organization Ecumenical Women found themselves without a facilitator for a retreat. Would I help them out, they asked. Of course I said yes. I thought I might go to Riverside Park for a bit after the retreat ended.

The retreat was held at 475 Riverside Drive, right around the corner from the Shire. It ended at 1:00 but conversation lasted until 4:30.

Walking back to the Shire, I realized how oppressive the heat was today, and may be the rest of the weekend.

I went to the gym around 6:00 as planned. After the workout, I decided I did not want to do the heat. I ordered dinner.

And then began watching The Lord of the Rings films. That’s usually a Christmas activity with Tricia and Eric, Sean passes, but we did not find time for it last Christmas.

With the city under a heat advisory most of the day tomorrow, this seemed like a moment when I might have time to watch all three. The Balrog just grabbed Gandalf. We’ll see where things end up.

And there was cake today as my colleagues celebrated my birthday, singing twice.

FullSizeRender (1)

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Family, Food, Friends, Movie, New York, Photo

Glory, Selma, tears

On Sunday, at the First Presbyterian Church of Far Rockaway, I quoted the song “Glory” by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma.

The young people of the congregation helped lead the service. Not too long after the sermon, the dance troupe provided a liturgical dance.

As the notes to their opening song sounded over the PA system, Darnell turned to me and said, “It’s your song. It’s ‘Glory’.”

The moment led me to the conclusion I had to see Selma. When my friend Hazel proposed tea; I counter proposed we go to the movie. She agreed. We did.

I do not offer a review here, simply three observations.

  • Selma is a powerful, profound movie about the struggle to end racism in the United States. Many of the issues addressed in the movie remain with us. Some have morphed. Some stay the same. We have work to do.
  • I have been to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I was in Greensboro, Alabama to help rebuild the Rising Star Baptist Church. It had been burned in an arson fire. The rains came. Work stopped. We went to Selma to visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. After viewing the exhibits, the group went to the bridge. Some walked quickly and easily on to the bridge. I paused for prayer and reflection before I joined them on that holy ground.
  • I wept as I viewed Selma. Several times. Interestingly enough, my tears did not come during the scenes of brutality and hate, racism and violence. Those moments made me wince and broke my heart. Painful as they were, they did not elicit tears. Tears came as I watched moments of unspeakable courage, unbreakable love, and astounding grace.

I give thanks for those who lived the story told in Selma. I give thanks for those who retold the story of Selma. I give thanks for those who give of themselves today to finish the work begun so long ago.

To those who worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church of Far Rockaway, I gave homework. Listen to “Glory.”

To anyone who has read this far, I give homework. If you have not done so, listen to “Glory” and go view Selma.

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Antiracism, Movie, Music

Bangarang

With thanks to Christine Hong

HookEach person who remembers Robin Williams will see scenes from his career tonight and for many nights to come. So many moments stand out. So many choices.

I carry a moment from Hook. In this film, Williams plays Peter Pan – Peter Pan who has grown up to become Peter Banning. Peter Pan who has forgotten his friends, forgotten how to play, forgotten Never-Land. He even has children now – although he is so immersed in the world of business that he no longer has time for his children or his wife. When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, Peter returns to Never-Land to rescue them. There he realizes that he cannot save his children on his own. Toobtain help, he turns to the Lost Boys.   And they have no idea who this grown-up is – particularly since he can no longer fly or use his imagination or play or crow. “I am Pan,” he insists. Finally one of the Lost Boys looks him directly in the face. He reaches out and touches Pan’s face, staring intently, manipulating it, studying it. “Peter, are you in there?” he asks.For me, it is an image of God moment.All of us, each of us, bears the image of God.No matter how life has worn on us, torn at us. No matter how we have abused and misused ourselves. No matter how our culture has denied and despised us. We bear the image of God.

When you see a mirror, look at your face. Look at the faces of those around you. Look at all the faces you meet. Look carefully, prayerfully, deeply. Look long. Look well. No matter how weathered and worn, battered and bruised, smudged and soiled . . . inside the faces . . . inside every face . . . inside your face . . . there God’s image resides. God give us grace to seek God’s image in one another and to treat one another as bearers of that image.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Movie

Celluloid connections

I always enjoy recognizing places I know in movies, particularly when it surprises me. It brings back memories and makes connections with people and places. A recently viewed movie became much more enjoyable when I spotted Pedernal in the background.

This morning, I finished watching The Quare Fellow, an adaptation of Brendan Behan‘s play. It presents a critique of thedeath penalty as it focuses on two pending execution.

The character subje ct to execution is not named or seen, except with a hood over his head at the hanging. The crime remains unnamed.

As a death penalty opponent, who has not been active enough lately, I appreciate that. My opposition is to the death penalty – to the state taking a life. My opposition depends neither on the person nor the certainty of guilt nor the crime for which the person is convicted, many of which are truly horrific. I grieve for those killed and violated in the crime. But executing the criminal demeans society. Execution is the issue.

Given such a topic, the movie is bleak and somber.

I recognized a filming location as Kilmainham Gaol. Kilmainham has a painful, tragic, troubling history. It is a place of defiance and resistance. All that washed over me this morning.

541970_10150941839146063_1422754043_nBut so did the memory of visiting Kilmainham with Tricia and Bruce and Nancy when we were in Dublin for the wedding of Joel and Roja. And the connections to my family and friends warmed me. (And yes, I realize celluloid is not used much anymore.)

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Family, Friends, Ireland, Movie