One of the things I intend to do with my blog in the future is to discuss the movies that I watch for Relevant Flix.
Relevant Flix began officially 4 years ago, but it has it's roots much further than that. Many years ago I watched the movie The Abyss. It was thriller set on the bottom of the ocean where aliens who manipulated water set to terrorizing the people in some underwater lab. I thought it was a good movie. Then I saw the director's cut and realized that it was a great movie. I also realized that this movie was making a point and that it had a message. I began to wonder if any other movies had similar motives.
Fast forward to after college. I was attending a Bible Study called Engage. The speakers were doing a series about finding God in unexpected places. Somewhere the tagline and concept of seeing the sacred in the secular came up. Also feeding into this was my drama director's desire to start a movie discussion group at his new church, and the multiple uses of movie segments I have seen in youth meetings, sermons, and other Bible studies. All used to provoke thought on a topic or to illustrate a point. I began to think that this would be a great idea for a small group. We could watch a popular movie and discuss it to see what the filmmaker's purpose was and how we can use this film to provoke discussion and thoughts towards God. There had to be some guidelines set:
1. Every form of media has a message. There is something that someone wanted to say and they chose this form to express it.
2. We must be aware that there is a message and be able to determine what that message is.
3. God's voice can be heard and His message can be found in all sorts of places. The things which are deemed as secular may contain a glimmer of the sacred, a sliver of truth. It is this on which we must focus and be able to use to tell others about the whole truth.
Thus Relevant Flix was created. It meets once a month usually the Second Saturday at 7:00pm
Hereafter. It was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. It gave us a glimpse of 3 people's lives who had some dealings with death.
First there was Marie, a french woman who was involved in a tsunami while on vacation. She was swept up in this massive wall of water where she died and was ethereally transported to another place of existence. In essence for a moment there she was dead. When she went back to France she was not the same. She was consumed with wondering what had happened to her and what happens after we die. She began to question and write a book about it.
Then there is a young boy named Marcus. His twin brother, who was the stronger and leader of the two, dies in a tragic accident. He feels his brother is still near him and does whatever he can to contact and connect with his lost brother. It is assumed that he is looking for closure and possibly needing to be complete and whole again.
Finally there is George. George is a man who can communicate with dead people who are connected to the living. He used to make money doing "readings" for people. However he began to be overburdened with them and consumed by them. He left that life and has tried to make interpersonal connections with living people without much success.
This movie is light on plot, and the message is vague. It asks the obvious question of what happens when we die? and offers little in the form of a substantial answer. According to this movie dead people become weightless and can be almost omnipresent. It is said they can be everywhere all at once. It also deals with the phonies and odd beliefs people have about communicating with the dead. The ones Eastwood deals with are strange, and I know he didn't scratch the surface of what is out there. It seems that this movie only deals with what the popular culture already knows.
I think that the movie Hereafter can be used to begin discussion about what happens after we die. It does give a descent overview of the popular notion of near-death experiences and communication with the dead, but it does not go into complete details. The discussion can be moved towards a Christian perspective of death and eternal life. We talked about being absent from the body and present with the Lord. Also the discussion of Heaven and Hell came up, as well as the notions of Paradise and Purgatory, Annihilation, and Sleeping. It can go as deep as you'd like and touch all the theologies and ideologies that you can. You will not get them from this movie, but it is a good starter.
There will be more reviews similar to this in the coming months. I will also work on my presentation of these. If there is anything you'd like to see me address leave a comment.
Hair (the Theolobster)