Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ida, Night and Christian Martyrs

Spoiler Alert.

The annual Academy awards brought interest in the foreign film Ida. I must admit that the movie had been sitting in our Netflix queue for awhile before we finally felt a push to watch it.

It has been my experience that European movies with Catholic themes have not treated Catholicism with much reverence or respect. Maybe it is the culture, but I have found that a movie such as the one on Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Vision, offended my sensibilities. An example is the common occurrence of men and and women, more specifically, nuns and priests, kissing each other full on the mouth. Therefore, before watching Ida, I checked out Steven D. Greydanus' review. You can watch the quick review here.

Short summary, this movie is about a young sister about to take her vows.  She contacts her only living relative, an aunt and soon learns that she was in fact a Jewish girl.  She and her very promiscuous aunt, a Communist prosecutor, go on a journey to find out what happened to Ida's family.

They find out the very horrific fact that her family had been murdered.  She alone survived the killing. The aunt finds out her son had also been murdered.  And, the movie continued.

The movie itself was very interesting from the beginning.  Based on what I could find by Catholic reviews, I trusted that the movie would not offend.  But offend it did.   I could understand why the aunt went to men for comfort or why she drank.  It wasn't surprising that she ended up taking her own life.  But what I really had trouble with was that this young nun, sheltered practically her whole life in a convent, leaves the convent as she is about to take her vows and starts experiencing life.  She dresses in her dead aunt's high heels and tight dress, she goes to a nightclub and she ends up losing her virginity to an admirer.  At the end, she leaves the man, puts her habit back on and apparently goes back to the convent.

I am not sure why I chose to read Elie Wiesel's Night during Lent.  It is a difficult and dark book to read.  What it very troubling is the loss of faith and the loss of hope by the writer.  He was a young and self-described devout Jewish teen when his family was forced from their home and taken to the concentrations camps.

It is the lack of courage by the Jews, the trust they have in the tormentors, they way they turn on each other, and Wiesel's anger with God that makes this book a poor read.  I was hoping that in the middle of their suffering and persecution, he would have held on to hope.  But the anger, the rebellion towards God was just too much.  I am not through with the book yet (almost done) so I hope by the end of the book, I would have been wrong about Wiesel.

Finally, there is the almost daily reporting of Christians being killed simply for professing a faith in Jesus Christ.  They die with Jesus on their lips.  They give me hope.