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Going to the movies, watching movies and talking about movies have become part and parcel of my life. I caught X-men 2 and Matrix Reloaded before most of my church members partly because my Monday’s are off so I’m more able to pop into a theater without the fuss of lining up for tickets (what a luxury!).
I asked myself, “Why do I enjoy Movies?” (Of course, there are loads of stuff I don’t enjoy as well!). Is it just the whole deal about special (or visual) effects in these blockbusters? Is it just the hype? Or I’m just so free on Mondays? well … bits and pieces of that, I suppose. But, deep down, I just enjoy a good story. And if the story is well presented, something in me gets sparked. Entertainment, yes, sure. Inspiration, at times. Disturbance, occassionally, especially after the movie “To End all Wars”. Movie Directors have become IMHO the Global Storytellers of today. yeah, no doubt, many make big bucks. But, some still do a pretty good job telling stories through the medium of film.
It’s like the fireplace of the ancient world is transported to the dim lights of the theater. The storytellers of old are now the Movie directors of today. Movies like Stories give us some windows to “meaning” and “significance”. The Stories-movies-medium is shaped by us (our context) and shapes us. The medium may have changed but it’s function remains.
Are the stories neutral? are the way of expressing the stories value free? I don’t think so. The local Malaysian censorship seems to be snipping scenes which they feel are “harmful” for Malaysian eyes. – they seem to have a preoccupation with certain elements that hails as their form of “discernment” which often makes no sense (e.g. like turning a R-rated film in USA to U-rated in Malaysia just by snipping some nudity, violence, and foul language is too surface). For me the true discernment comes from plugging myself into the “Christian Story” as found in “the Man from Galillee” and the “witness” of the ancient scriptures from Israel and the early church. The best of my own culture helps a bit (right now I’m seeing how Bruce Lee did it! hehe) and any goodies from foreign friends (not Ghosts – as the Chinese like to call foreigners!) The resources are plenty. And this morning, I’m reminded the Paraclete (Spirit of Truth) is here to guide as well. Plus, there are people around me I could talk with. Plus, we all have “stories” to tell and “movies” to show. And the story of human history hasn’t ended yet.