Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten Film Series 2015

Restorative Cinema (formerly known as Franklinton Underground Cinema) will be partnering with Confluence Program Director Jed Dearing this year to curate the 2015 Lenten Film Series.  The series will return to St. John's Episcopal Church for five Sunday nights in March to screen five recent films from 2014 with the intent of exploring the spiritual discipline of lament that “not only allows us to see the depth of the world’s brokenness (including our own and the church’s complicity in it); but also shapes resurrection as a journey that involves grief, truth, conversion, and forgiveness.”  Each film follows a necessary path into an unknown - with a respect & hope that new life will emerge through the mysterious tension of pain & grace.  See brief descriptions of each film below.


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"Ida" (2014) - Pawel Pawlikowski 
Sunday March 1st Trailer

The series book-ends with two films about "alien" experiences, where the discovery of truth illuminates the power of seduction, the bitterness of the past, and the sometimes harsh reality of exploring the unknown.  Our first film, "Ida", is a classic Lenten film in the vein of Bergman & Dreyer. Ida is an orphan who has been raised in a convent - and is now a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, on the verge of taking her vows.  She is told by her prioress that she must first visit her aunt, "Red Wanda" (her only surviving relative), to learn about her family's history.  For Ida, this experience becomes a journey of unexpected initiation that will challenge her belief system, identity, and desired resistance.

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"Calvary" (2014) - John Michael McDonagh 
Sunday March 8th Trailer

The film begins in a Catholic confessional with Father James (Brendan Gleeson), whose life has been threatened (during confession) by an anonymous parishioner who intends on directing his retributive violence towards a "good priest", so that the Church might begin practicing the absorption of it's own sins.  The rest of the film is a process of discovering just how much sin one priest can absorb in a week's time.  With an ensemble cast of small town characters, we find ourselves embedded with them inside questions of integrity, self-defense, codependency, sexuality, truth & virtue - where we are eventually brought into a crescendo of life & death & meaning & mystery.

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"Locke" (2014) - Steven Knight 
Sunday, March 15th Trailer

The series centerpiece could just as well be understood as "Do The Right Thing" for upper-middle-class white people.  :) Satire aside, this film brilliantly opens up the conversation about what it means to be right or "good" when doing the right thing comes into direct conflict with other equally necessary responsibilities, obligations, and commitments.  We are witness to Ivan Locke's "crisis of limitation", and possibly the seeds of his own transformation.  Dramatized only by phone calls, the ever-incredible Tom Hardy is the only actor physically present in the whole film, carrying the weight of every emotion with subtlety, grace, and internal contradiction.

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"Snowpiercer" (2014) - Joon-Ho Bong
Sunday, March 22nd Trailer

Snowpiercer might be the first action genre film in the history of the Lenten Film Series, and deservedly so.  Like none that any of us have (likely) seen, this film deconstructs the White Male Saviour Complex by making a guerrilla revolutionary leader out of our own Captain America (Chris Evans).  A political film about the violence of inequality on the surface, we soon find that we are submerged into our own addictions, and that the answers we are looking for will require naked vulnerability rather than guilt-reducing sacrifice.

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"Under The Skin" (2014) - Jonathan Glazer
Sunday (Palm), March 29th Trailer

This film is the cinema-graphic child of Stanley Kubrick & David Lynch.  Power & Seduction & Desire & Loneliness & Abandonment & Powerlessness.  Not-Your-Typical alien narrative, we are in constant tension with the hidden internal & and the literal universal.  Mystery abounds as we experience disturbance & disconnection around each bend, but it's the moments of compassion and emotional exposure that keep us cultivating empathy, even as we confront our own elemental nature.

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