Sunday, January 31, 2010


This morning it was hard getting up. Probably the first morning where I had to consciously make the choice of getting up with a little coaxing. Breakfast was great though. A good start to the day. Brad got up and made breakfast for those who had a film at 930. On the menu were scrambled eggs in a bowl and fruit salad in a mug. It was so tasty.

Today was kinda a rough day just because one im was really tired from going to bed at four and then having to wake up just four hours later PLUS my shins have been hurting me for the past few days. The pain will start in my ankles and shoot up to my shins whenever I walk down slight hills. Yesterday ibuprofen didn’t work so im greatful that I didn’t have to walk down hills much today.

Headed out for the 930 screening of Lourdes which thankfully was in a theatre near the church so we didn’t have to walk along ways which translated into more sleep and shins hurting less. After the film was over I honestly had no idea what I thought about it. It left you with more questions then answers and gave you so much to think about. The story follows a woman named Christine who was paralyzed from the neck down and was on a pilgrimage with a big group to go to the healing baths in hopes of….obviously, being healed, though not a very pious or religious person herself.

The main story line in a nutshell: Christine gradually becomes healed over the course of the film and about her journey through the process of getting her mobility back and what to think and do with her supernatural experience. One thing that I found interesting was that the priest with the group took her to a medical office to “officialize” the supposed miracle. To make sure that it was a genuine miracle. It took me back that this obvious miraculous event would have to be solidified or confirmed by scientific methods. Why wouldn’t you just rejoice in the fact that she could walk and eat for herself?

One sub-story that was really powerful to me was one that dealt with a mother and her daughter who were separate from the main group, there on their own. Her daughter had some type of mental retardation that confined her to a wheelchair, having little or no response to things around her, unable to talk or express feeling, and drooling on herself constantly. You can plainly see that the mother is dedicated and a devout religious person and would do anything to have her daughter healed. She prays continuously and goes to all the sacred places fervently praying for her daughter. At one point, they are at a shrine of some sort where you light a candle and then lift up your prayers. Well, the mothers prayers were answered and her daughter Anne becomes aware of her surroundings, you see the glow in her face, and you know that she is with it and what looks like completely healed. At this point I was celebrating with the mother cause I could only imagine what it felt like to basically not have a coherent daughter because of an illness and I was happy that her prayers were answered. But, later on in the film [after Christine had been healed], we see the same mother and daughter looking on at Christine and you notice that the daughter is back to her state of mind before the healing. She was again mentally handicapped and unable of communication.

This tiny side part of the film I think was the biggest thing I took away at the end of the screening. Though, I don’t even know what exactly it is that I took away from it, I cant put words to it quite yet. If I do in the future – ill be sure to share them. It just hit me as sad, confusing and I kept asking, “Why didn’t see stay healed?”

One of the most prominent questions asked by the film or one that was evident as being a main point in the film [of course this is my opinion and how I interpreted the film as with all the other films seen and talked about on my blog] was the one of “Why me?” This question was presented within the two different stories of the mother/daughter and Christine. The mother, a very pious and religious person, her daughter was not healed for long while Christine’s healing lasted [that being assumed since the ending didn’t say what happens next]. Why did Christine, one who might be considered less worthy, get healed while the mother/daughter who were fervent and very religious not get a lasting healing? It kinda reminds me of Sympathy for Delicious in the fact that both Dean and Christine had something supernatural happen to them that they didn’t understand why it happened [Dean-healing touch and Christine-the healing] and happened to them of all people. In Lourdes one of the characters with the pilgrimage group asked the priest the very same question, “Why did Christine and not someone else get healed?” The priests answer was this, “God is free.” God can do whatever he wants and wills. The second part of the priests answer was, “….and thats life.” We may not understand why something happened to either someone we know or ourselves, but God is free and that’s life.

Another aspect of Lourdes that was throughout the entirety of it was that there were settings, shots and characters who would question the authenticity of passed and present miracles that had happened or were happening, showing the opposite view of the core principle of why Christine was there in the first place. The scene that I think showed it the clearest was the very, the very last shot. It was at the celebration for the end of the pilgrimage. Christine was slow dancing with a man when she fell. She went over to a wall to steady herself and take a break. An older lady comes over to her with her wheelchair she once depended on but Christine refuses it. After a long shot of just her and the older woman looking out onto the dance floor Christine sits back down in her wheelchair, the screen fades to black and the credits roll. I think this scene is so important to begin understanding what Christine believes about her own healing let alone of the mother/daughter or any of the other stories she had heard about the miraculous healings. Even though she feels the affects and sees the results first hand she still doubts the power of the miracle and if it will last for long. She is afraid of the possibility of becoming paralyzed again because of what she saw happen to the mother and daughter from before. She doubts if there is a god or not. I think this last sentence is the key theme or question of the film, asking if there is a God or not.

[After writing this blog I read over it and realized that I actually did know what I thought about it. Funny.]

After Lourdes, I decided to head back to the church to kinda chill out and sleep a bit to prepare for the long day ahead. Went to quiznos to get the amazing basil tomato soup again and this time I got two flatbreads and walked back to the church and sat down to eat my feast.

3oclock finally rolled around and people started coming in for class. Other people from the church started setting up stuff and re-arranging the room so I went outside and called Karyn Roe since I haven’t spoken to her in about a month since shes been in Prague. It was a nice chill conversation, one that made a good day better. Came back inside cause I was freezing out side and sat down on a bench….woke up about a hour later. At least I got a little nap right?

Today we had Jeffery Blitz come in and speak. He directed Lucky that screened here and also directed Rocket Science [great film] and Spellbound which I still need to see. He also directed a few episodes of The Office and worked on the Star Trek films [brownie points!]. his Sundance film Lucky is about people who have won the lottery and how their lives are drastically changed because of the amount of money that they won. It went through their issues that came out of it: family qualms, being looked at as a bank, and one guy’s brother had a hit out for him….crazy. Sadly I didn’t get to see this film but it was interesting to hear what the director had to say. I guess there was a quote by a character in the film named Buddy I believe and he put it perfectly, “The lottery is like putting Miracle Grow on a person’s defects.” We also had Ralph Winter come in a speak as well. He was the producer of the X-Men films and Fantastic Four along with MANY others. He is being honored this year with the Windrider Spirit Award and that was presented to him tonight. Ralph made some really cool comments about Sundance that really affirmed why I love independent films. He said that its not a controlled environment, its pure and has a certain purity in its passion for film and it brings you back to why you love making films….all that I wanna do with my future! He also said something that I have heard over and over again, “I don’t know how you can do this by yourself. I don’t know how you can do this alone.” This is one piece of advice that I will take away from this entire experience, that I cannot make a film by myself. I need the people around me to help me along the way to create a successful piece of art. Everyone should watch out for Ralph making Redeeming Love into a film and possibly a trilogy about King David that isn’t sugarcoated. He wants it to be gritty, bloody and true to the story. So keep a look out for those possible future projects from Ralph Winter!

We watched Jitensha [Japanese for “bicycle”] which was a short film that had won the Choice Award at the Heartland Film Festival. I really enjoyed this short. It followed a guy who worked at a go-nowhere job who never went out and seems to just live in a routine with no excitement and who also had just recently been beat to a pulp. We see his bike slowly disappearing piece by piece. Once the entire bike was gone he received notes from “god” telling him where to go to find the individual pieces. This short followed his journey not only to find his bike but to re-discover himself. I think the person who

Then we started watching another film called After the Storm which was a feature length documentary about three guys who wanted to do something for a small part of the New Orleans youth in the community. So they decided to put on a musical and hold try-outs for the show Once on This Island. It was really interesting but a few of us had to leave early sine we had tickets for the Grand Jury US Documentary winner screening. We had no idea what film it was so we were hoping it was one we hadn’t seen….it ended up being Restrepo. We turned around and headed to the Eccles Theatre to see if we could instead get into the Grand Jury Dramatic Narrative screening. Some of the group had tickets already so about five of us went into wait-listing and got numbers 103-108. After a long process of trying to buy tickets and being jipped by some girls next to us we finally all got in and met up with the other half of the group. We got great seats for coming in a bit late so I was happy. The film was Winter’s Bone which is great since I hadn’t seen it yet.

Winter’s Bones was an intriguing film to say the least. Its about a family who might loose their house because the father [an expert at creating and sustaining meth labs] put it up for his bond and if he doesn’t show for his court date then the law will take the house away from them. Well, of course he doesn’t show and the daughter Rae, who is basically the mother of the house [taking care of her sick mom and raises/feeds her two younger siblings], is determined to find her father so she can save the house and ultimately save her family. She calls it “huntin for dad.” Its quite gritty and raw. Later on as Rae asks around her extended family if they have seen her dad you found out that her dad isn’t too popular and that no one wants to really help her and she is warned to leave the subject be. But Rae being very stubborn/determined/and a very dominant personality she pushes on despite the warnings and so she gets the crap beaten out of her by her three aunts. Great family right? The story goes on and you end up with the fact that someone in Rae’s family killed her dad because he was gonna spill some beans about the family trade. Rae has the task now of proving that her dad is dead and one night her aunts show up on the porch and tell her they will take Rae to her dads body. Rae has to cut off both of her dads hands [well her aunt does it with a chain saw] as proof that he is indeed dead so the house wont be taken away. In Winter’s Bones the women are so freakin bad ass its terrifying to be quite honest. Im glad my aunts wouldn’t beat me to a pulp and my extended family wouldn’t kill my dad over family dirt. Those women have to be strong and you could tell that through Rae as well. She was going to join the army just so she could get the sign up cash to help her family, she took the brutal beating which knocked a tooth out, gave her a split lip and a bashed up eyebrow and jaw. I think a lot of the film dealt with the issue of survival and protection of the family you love.

Me and ryan gates then booked it over to another theatre to catch the midnight showing of Skateland at the Prospector Theatre. It too was a great film. Set in 1983 it was chalk full of fantastic 80’s music [which I am proud to saw that I knew the entire soundtrack minus one song], really short shorts….on guys, cassette tapes and record players, the Polaroid camera as the only camera, the good ole MTV made an appearance and then of course the skate rink as the cool hang out spot everyone went to. The basic jist of the film was this young guy who works at Skateland and its shutting down, he doesn’t know what he wants in life, his parents get divorced and one of his best friends dies in a car accident. Oh, and how could I forget, there is a little romance involved too. It was great to see the 80’s portrayed so well. Granted I wasn’t around then but from what I know it was done really well….plus an older guy in the Q&A applauded the set designer of the accuracy so ill take his word for it. My favorite quote was this [talking about everything wrong happening], “Like all things, it to will pass.”

Thankfully, me and ryan caught a bus that went almost right to our condos door so the walk wasn’t bad at all and it wasn’t too cold out in the first place. Got in, took off my boots, got changed, went to bed. Good night.

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