Category Archives: Movies

Armageddon? Must be something we want

My family and I went to the theatres to see “The Hobbit” today. (Decent movie…not faithful to the book, but still good. Thought the 3D was worth it.) If you have gone to the movies recently, you know you first have to be assaulted by 10-15 movie trailers for forthcoming movies.

And what is coming soon to a theatre near you? The apocalypse. Armageddon. Zombies. Alien destruction of the world. Post-apocalypse. I kept waiting for a love story. The only one that would qualify was a “zombie falls in love with a girl” flick…and then they try to stop the mass destruction of zombies before said zombies kill remaining humans. Even the kids’ cartoon movie is about alien destruction.

What is the big deal with the “end of the world as we know it” motif? Does it have anything to do with our political mess of the “fiscal cliff” or “debt ceiling”? Or the recent fascination with “end of the world” predictions (whether by Mayan prediction or by stories about close-calls with asteroids)?

As I see it, there are a couple of possibilities for the increase in disaster/Armageddon fascination:

  1. We are trying to work out our sense that the world doesn’t work well anymore (or we just have more evidence available to us absent from previous eras)
  2. We (humanity) recognize there will be an end and this is our way to trivialize our fears (much like we do with a movie like Jaws)
  3. Someone has figured out there is a lot of money to be made with this genre and so we are flooded…next year it might be riches to rags movies.

What reasons can you think of for this fascination with the end of the world?


Filed under Cultural Anthropology, Movies

Animated Short Movie About Trafficking

For those interested in anti-trafficking media, you might check out this almost 4 minute animated movie about woman in Africa lured into a sex trafficking trap.

Warning: while it contains no graphic visual material, the content of the video may still be triggering for some.

UPDATE: I believe this link contains the full 6 minute movie:

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Filed under Abuse, Africa, Movies

Rwanda’s Gacaca (truth and justice) courts

Am reading Romeo Dallaire’s memoir, Shake Hands with the Devil, of his time as UN commander in Rwanda before and during the 1994 genocide. It is amazing that this man isn’t in a psychiatric ward given his position as “observer” of the genocide and no power to do much of anything, even protect his own troops.

But last night I watched the documentary, In the Tall Grass, the story of a woman seeking justice in the village court (aka gacaca courts). The village turns out to hear her complaint that her neighbor killed her husband and children for being Tutsis. The villagers are asked what they saw and only one or two admit to seeing anything though it is assumed most know. The accused man admits to being present and “participating” in the killings but denies he struck the fatal blows. (They remain neighbors). His story is inconsistent. She claims she will forgive him if he confesses fully. He sticks to his story as being a witness to the events. But one woman stands up and tells the crowd how the children were murdered and where they are buried (the mother did not know this). So, the village goes and digs many holes in the area in order to find the children’s bodies–now 10 years later. They find them and several undertake, on film, to wash the bones and prepare them for proper burial. The accused participates in the washing and this woman watches it all.

I cannot fathom the experiences of 1994, of living next door to those who murdered your family, nor that of watching someone tenderly wash your child’s skull, rib-bones, etc.

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Filed under book reviews, conflicts, Cultural Anthropology, Forgiveness, Historical events, Movies, Rwanda

Viewing the Nativity

Saw The Nativity with friends and family on Sunday. For Hollywood, I was impressed by their lack of taking liberties with the story. I would recommend seeing it. The actors portraying Herod and Joseph did fine jobs. You really see Herod’s paranoia and Joseph’s struggle. Mary is well portrayed. I left thinking about how old Mary was. Likely young. Imagine explaining to your husband-to-be and family that the Holy Spirit impregnated her. Yeah, right, Mary, tell us another one. Mary’s father does his best to make it acceptable by trying to get her to admit it was Herod’s soldiers. How did she not get stoned? Throughout the story, the magi add some comic relief to an otherwise grim story.  

The birth takes place in a cave, another likelihood given the geography of the area. What bothered my kids the most (6 and 8 years old)? Not Herod’s soldiers getting ready to kill the boys but the birth scenes. Elizabeth and Mary groan and struggle briefly. Their pain bothered them. As a bonus the ride home offered the opportunity to have a little conversation about sex and how babies are born.

Two things were out of place. First, Mary’s teeth are snow white, flashing every time she talked. Not likely. Though I was happy to see they used a middle-eastern looking cast. Lots of lovely brown skin and eyes everywhere. Second, the scenes of the trip to Jerusalem and then on to Egypt were portrayed like Sahara Desert dunes. The Israeli wilderness is a beautiful but not commonly dunes.

Still a worthwhile movie and one that makes the Christmas story come to life.  And another reminder that Herod belongs  in our nativity scenes (thanks Erik Larsen for pointing that out).


Filed under Movies