Saturday, December 20, 2014


I discovered this video by accident the other day (are there any accidents on You Tube?  They know my search history, so a channel dedicated to all things Anglo is not a stretch).  If you are a Lewis fan you too are probably an Anglophile, so do watch her other videos.  They are smashing.  Click the play button above, and Bob's your uncle! (Did I use that correctly?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Next movie: To End All Wars, 2001 film, I am not sure it ever made it to a movie theater in our area. I go to this movie, from my personal library, because all the lists I have found for movies dealing with the problem of evil/pain include the movies I have already mentioned in previous posts and others I have not heard of and/or am unable to find at my local library or the DVD rental box at the grocery store.  They might be available on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but I am not a member.  To see those titles, just search the internet for movies dealing with the problem of evil.

To End All Wars, is based on Ernest Gordon's book by the same title, though earlier titles for the book include Through the Valley of the Kwai and Miracle on the River Kwai.  I read the book as well and recommend it.  Ernest Gordon was a POW in a Japanese camp during WWII and this is his story.

The POWs have to endure inhuman treatment at the camp, with a high death rate and a lack of hope in the face of despair, the prisoners begin a Jungle University, studying philosophy, Shakespeare, the Bible, art classes, they make instruments and even have a graduation ceremony with music and a play.  The hope comes from beauty and truth in spite of the conditions.  There are too many examples of the answer to the problem of evil, but ultimately it is self-sacrificial love, culminating in the self-sacrifice of one prisoner for another who is to be executed for a small uprising attempt.  This prisoner is crucified and his faith mocked by the camp commander.  The answer: redemption through suffering.  The same answer we are in the midst of celebrating during the Christmas season.  While the Holy Family and the creche can be seen as a nice Christmas card or stamp, the violent truth is redemption through suffering, evil being answered by the self-sacrifice of God Himself on behalf of humanity.

From To End All Wars

Saturday, December 13, 2014



Next up for movies dealing with the problem of evil/pain - Shadowlands.  I found the movies I have been posting by searching the internet, finding various lists, and it just happens this movie is sort of our theme for the year.  We read the Joy Davidman biography in October, and we will be looking at The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed, starting in January.  We read the book by Brian Sibley, Shadowlands was basically based on his work, and watched the BBC version a few years ago.  Anyone reading this blog probably knows these two movies.  Also, to continue the coincidental links going, Claire Bloom plays Joy in the BBC version of Shadowlands and she also played the wife of Judah in the last movie Crimes and Misdemeanors.  

First, a confession:  I have always said I prefer the BBC version over the Richard Attenborough version.  I always thought Joss Ackland was a better Lewis than Anthony Hopkins, though I have always preferred Debra Winger to Claire Bloom.  With both films I have always had a burr in my saddle over the historical mishmash of events and quotes and mis-characterization of Lewis in general.   Problems anyone involved with a Lewis Society probably share.  The other night I watched both, back to back, BBC first, a break, and then the Attenborough.  I approached my viewing with an open mind and attempted to see the problem and answer given for pain/death.  I now confess that I enjoyed the Attenborough version so much so that I am switching my preference.  Anthony Hopkins is not a good CS Lewis, but he is very good  for the story that is being told.  For the first time I watched to enjoy and not compare my Lewis knowledge with the film, and it was a success.

The problem of pain and suffering, first becomes a problem when we open up to love.  A point the real Lewis stressed in The Four Loves

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.  The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

With the death of Joy, Lewis, in the film, sums up the problem of pain, that it is a "Bloody awful mess and that is all there is to it."  With time for healing and reflection the movie ends with Lewis restating what Joy said earlier, that "Pain is part of the happiness, that is the deal."

Come to the January 26th meeting to see what the real Lewis thought about these things.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Next up, Crimes and Misdemeanors by Woody Allen, 1989, with Martin Landau's character, Judah, having to deal with infidelity, personal integrity, murder, shame, guilt, and more.  Judah was raised by a very religious family, with his father's dictum "the Eyes of God are on us always."  Judah's brother is basically a mobster and lives in the "real word" and offers to get rid of Judah's problem - a blackmailing mistress.  The deed done Judah's conscience and moral upbringing haunts him.

The voice of the philosopher plays throughout in a professor Woody Allen's character, Cliff, is documenting in a film he is working on.  Professor Levy, through the film footage Cliff has shot, says much, at the end of the movie he says "It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe." Tragically, or comically, the professor kills himself, thwarting Cliff's possible career break to have a movie/documentary worth watching.

The movie ends with Judah and Cliff talking at a wedding (pictured above), with Judah retelling his story to Cliff as a possible movie.  The moral, there is no punishment from on high, live each day in the real world and not with some abstract philosophical conundrum.  Again, Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


The next movie dealing with the problem of evil is Hannah and Her Sisters.  Woody Allen's 1986 movie about?  Well, Woody Allen stuff - love, sex, lust, marriage, commitment, New York, ... I am not a "Woody Allen is a genius" fan, but I have enjoyed his movies, the ones I've seen.  This was my first viewing of Hannah and Her Sisters.  First, a connection to the first two films - Max von Sydow.  An older Max also happened to be in this movie, a pleasant surprise.  The only real dealing with the problem of evil is found in Woody Allen's character, Mickey, and his search for meaning brought on by his possible brain tumor and mortality.  In the end the answer is basically Eat, Drink, and be Merry.  Mickey ends by saying, "I'm thinking to myself, jeez, I should stop ruining my life searching for answers I'm never going to get and just enjoy it while it lasts."  This is not the best movie dealing with the problem of evil, it is mentioned philosophically, and is funny in its presentation.  It was on the list, so I watched it. 

An answer for the presence of evil?  Who knows!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


The second movie dealing with the problem of evil is The Virgin Spring by Ingmar Bergman.  Another movie I watched years ago because I wanted to say I watched a Bergman film.  This viewing brought back memory of the first viewing.  I suppose the reason I remembered The Virgin Spring and did not remember The Seventh Seal as much is the blunt force of The Virgin Spring.  Where The Seventh Seal has plenty of philosophical dialogue The Virgin Spring is action and silence.  Not many lines to memorize (not scientific, just my feeling).  The answer given to the problem of an innocent child being raped and murdered is more violence (justice?) and questions, or the question - WHY?  The end showing Max von Sydow crying out to God, saying "You saw it . . . You allowed it to happen. . . I don't understand you."  Max von Sydow then vows to build a church on the site of his child's rape and murder, a church made with brick and mortar (no expense spared) and built with his own hands.  This vow is a penance for the murder von Sydow carried out on the two responsible for the tragedy and the young boy who was unfortunately with the other two herdsmen.  The miracle of the spring may provide an answer that good can come out of evil in the building of a church, maybe a pilgrimage site, a place of healing.  While this may be true, it is not really an answer to the problem of evil and The Virgin Spring does more presenting of the problem than answering.  A gut wrenching film, but worth the time.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


It is that time of year, time to get my Hobbit shirt out and ready to wear to the movie theater.  The first movie I posted much concerning the movie and we read The Hobbit and discussed.  I enjoyed that year as we also read and discussed The Lord of the Rings.  Last year I almost neglected to post anything concerning the second movie.  I was in the theater opening weekend, but my excitement was down.  Now, we are in year three and I am beginning to see the commercials, so I got my t-shirt out and am as ready as I can be.  Again, I am not excited, but I do want to see the final installment and one day watch all Hobbits and Lord of the Rings in one sitting.  After I see the movie I will post anything worth posting.  I am seeing December 17th as the release date.  I am also seeing opportunities to see it on the 15th and 16th with marathon showings, watching all three in one day!