Tuesday, April 8

The Island...

Since the start of Great Lent, every Monday night (except the first one due to the Canon of Saint Andrew) has been Orthodox Movie Night at our church. Fr. John sets up a projector and projects a dvd onto one of the walls. the chairs are set up in a semi-circle and the church is instantly transformed into a movie theater. All we are ever missing is popcorn and soda!

We have seen a documentary on Ss. Peter and Paul, The Passion of the Christ (I skipped this because I didn't want our daughter to see any of it), The Return of the Icon, and most recently, Ostrov (The Island).

If you are Orthodox and have not seen The Island, then it is imperative that you get a copy! It is in Russian, but you can find dvds with English subtitles.

Here is a brief description of the movie from Wikipedia:

Ostrov (Russian: Остров, The Island) is a 2006 Russian biographical film about a fictional 20th century Eastern Orthodox monk. The film closed the 2006 Venice Film Festival.

The film is focused on father Anatoly's repentance of his sin (therefore the virtually continuous occurrence of the Jesus Prayer); but the transgressions of the depicted character (a fool for Christ) and their impact on the others are the means by which the actual plot develops. Thus, talking on character's self-awarness, film's director Pavel Lungin said he doesn't regard him as being clever or spiritual, but blessed "in the sense that he is an exposed nerve, which connects to the pains of this world. His absolute power is a reaction to the pain of those people who come to it;" while "typically, when the miracle happens, the lay people asking for a miracle are always dissatisfied" because "the world does not tolerate domestic miracles." Dmitry Sobolev, the scenarist, further explains: "When people ask for something from God, he is often wrong because God has a better understanding of what a person wants at that moment."[1] Pyotr Mamonov, who plays the lead character, formerly one of the few rock musicians in USSR, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in the 1990s and lives now in an isolated village. Pavel Lungin said about him that "to a large extent, he played himself." Mamonov received a blessing from his confessor for playing the character.[1]

The simplicity, the humbleness, the remoteness, the miracles converge into creating a timeless snapshot of the Orthodox spirituality, apart from the historical circumstances. Patriarch Alexei II of Russia praised Ostrov for its profound depiction of faith and monastic life, calling it a "vivid example of an effort to take a Christian approach to culture."[2]

The filming location was the city of Kem, in Karelia, on the shores of the White Sea.[1]

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

One of my very favorite movies! I assume the subtitles worked on the copy you watched? Do you know where it came from? They don't work on ours, and I'd love to be able to share this movie without having to translate.

(I just found your blog, and haven't really even looked around much yet. :-)

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