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EDITORIAL: 18/9/2008 - Movies & morals after Sunday mass

From the Editor, Andrew L. Urban:
Movies often explore moral, psychological and social issues of various kinds, but we were surprised this week to get a request from the Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago to let their webmaster link to some of our movie reviews. Happy to consent but curious as to how a church would use movie reviews, we soon discovered that it is about to launch a series of seven Mass & A Movie events, one Sunday a month from October 2008 to April 2009.

“Watch a thought-provoking film that offers an insight into a contemporary moral, psychological, or social issue of particular relevance to people of faith. Then take part in a 30 minute guided discussion about the film,” says the website, and lists the movies, with four of the seven linking to our reviews.

The movies and the themes of the discussion are listed; for example –
Blood Diamond,
“The film invites discussion on the continuing exploitation of Africa’s resources by our consumer society.”

Notes on a Scandal,
“The discussion will focus on the traits of a healthy relationship and on our human capacity for self-deception and manipulation.”

“The discussion will centre on the healing of memories and the importance of family.”

Away From Her
“The discussion will focus on the effects of Alzheimer’s on families and how the aged are treated in our culture.”

The complexity of the human condition makes for fascinating study on screen;
Films like Oscar winning The Counterfeiters, for example, in which the tough moral dilemma facing the central characters becomes part of the film’s extraordinary power to engage. What would you or I do?

Or the extraordinary and confronting In The Company of Men, from Neil LaBute. What would you or I do if aware of something like this happening at our workplace?

Some movies are indeed ‘just a movie’ but some can be life or attitude changing; I’ll never forget the story of an apartheid era security officer talking about the impact that Alan Parker’s movie, Mississippi Burning had on him. That film is based on the tragic events in which three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964 by Ku Klux Klan members. He said after seeing that film he realised his responsibility was to work for justice. In the context of apartheid, that’s a giant moral leap for one man, and an example of how movies can make a difference.


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Andrew L. Urban

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Notes on a Scandal

Blood Diamond


Away From Her

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