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World Communications Day 2012

The Daughters of St Paul are a religious congregation with a particular mission to evanglising through the media. In the past, this has been typically the print media and then audio-visual media. Nowadays it includes the electronic media. One of their sisters in the United States has a blog which reflects their engagement with electronic media: Windows to the Soul Blog. I have in the past found it an interesting blog because of posts offering reviews of films or observations about how films, sometimes unexpected films, provide a way of exploring questions of a spiritual nature.

Another of their sisters has written a reflection on silence to mark the World Communications Day: The Sounding Silence. I was particularly taken by this paragraph, referring to Pope Benedict's message 2012 World Communications Day entitled Silence and Word: Path for Evangelisation:
The Pope wrote exclusively about silence as it relates to interpersonal communication and the sharing of “advice, ideas, infor…

"The Pianist:" Brutality and Beauty

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I'd forgotten all about the movie "The Pianist," which was released in 2002 and won the Palme D'Or until several of my freshman students began talking to me about it. They had seen the parts of this movie in eighth grade, during a quarter-long study of the Holocaust and were deeply moved by it. I'd never seen the movie and wanted to be able to talk with them about it.

This is a brutal, magnificent movie. It speaks of the human spirit and its struggle to survive. Based largely on the true story of classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, it gives witness to the life of  gifted Polish pianist, a Jew, who managed to survive in Warsaw during World War II while hundreds of thousands of Jews were exterminated in death camps. Szpilman is portrayed by actor Adrien Brody, then 29, who won an Academy Award for his work. Read more »

The Bicycle Thief, 1948: A Film for These Troubled Times

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By Allison Salerno Given that my husband is a major movie buff and has shown me so many wonderful classic films, it surprised me he's never seen Vittorio De Sica's neorealist masterpiece, The Bicycle Thief.  I'd never seen it either. So Saturday night, we sat down with a good friend in our family room to watch this masterpiece on cable TV. Even if you have seen this film before, rent it. Given the perilous state of the American economy, the film speaks to our hearts now as never before.

The movie's setting is post World War II Rome, when Italy was poor and politically unstable. The plot concerns a young father, Antonio, who is struggling against every odd to support his small family. Bruno, his 7-year-old son, accompanies him throughout most of the story and so we see the father's pain through the child's eyes. The theme: the price we pay for what matters most.
The story begins as Antonio lands a day job putting up movie posters throughout Rome. He …

"A Tale of Two Cities" and the Paradox of Sacrificial Love

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My sons and I returned home the other night from a long, wonderful day trip to New York State to see my parents, my brother and his family. My husband and I settled in to watch a movie: "A Tale of Two Cities," a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production from 1935. The film, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, is the story of men and women who become caught up in the bloody aftermath of the French Revolution.

If you are expecting instant payback for your time, this is not the movie for you. The film builds its characters and its suspenseful plot methodically. Be patient. By the end of the movie, I promise you will be on the edge of your sofas. The movie's sensibility is profoundly Christian and seeks to answer the question: What is one's purpose in life?


Read more here.

"Marty" and the Search for Beauty

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I came into the house Sunday afternoon after digging in the garden and my husband had the movie "Marty" on the TV. I'd never seen it before, but he's seen it dozens of times. I sat down and watched with him.

This gem tells a simple story about regular people. A 34-year-old bachelor named Marty Pilletti is hounded by his friends, his family, even the customers in the butcher shop where he works in the Bronx about why he is still single. It won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Picture and the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

It's not that Marty doesn't want to marry. But Marty, who lives with his widowed Italian mother, has had no luck even in dating.

Read more here.

Because Boys Need Heros: "Green Lantern"

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I grew up in a family with three girls and one boy and the atmosphere was weighted toward the feminine: my sisters and I played with Madame Alexander dolls, hosted singing "concerts" in our basement, wore Lanz of Salzburg nightgowns and, when we girls were teenagers, experimented with dozens of brands of shampoo.

Now, I'm raising two sons. The experience is filling out my understanding of childhood. Consider this. Read more here...

"The King's Speech" and the Power of Perseverance

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By Allison Salerno Okay, maybe the 50 or so folks at our local public library who watched "The King's Speech" tonight with my husband and me were the last people on the earth to see this Academy Award-winning film about King George VI's struggles to overcome his stammer.

But if you are among those who haven't seen this movie yet, do. Other than some foul language, spoken by the king himself as he struggles to find his voice, this movie is a great movie for families. It's an inspirational story,  a love letter to speech therapists everywhere, and its message is about how trust and perseverance can help us overcome many obstacles.