Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Zelary: An insight into Eastern European thinking

My wife and I watched, Zelary last night, a Czechoslovakian film about the life of a woman who worked in the resistance during WWII. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that a series of circumstances force her to move from Prague to the mountains where, in order to save herself, she must blend in and adapt to rural customs and mores.

I’ll warn you that there’s some violence (too much for some people I know), but I’ll also say that, if you want to understand why Europeans are more skeptical about hawkish military doctrines, this is a good movie to watch. As I travel through Europe, I’ve had the privilege of developing good relationships with local people in several places, and have heard their stories. If it’s true that everybody has a story to tell, it seems that, still at this late date, every European has a story to tell about 'the war' that is not only personal but geographical, because of course, this was a war that was fought, largely, on their real estate. For many Europeans it’s not a question of pacifism – they’ve seen too much to embrace that kind of ideal. Instead, it’s a question of propriety: Having fought a war on their own soil, and having stories of loss that include not only soldiers, but mothers and infants, they are more hesitant to jump in to war. It’s vital, at the very least, to see how the kinds of experiences shown in this movie have shaped the European world-view.

But this film also functioned as a reminder to me that, even in the darkest of times, there are moments of beauty and grace, for those who have eyes to see, and hearts to live with humility, gratitude, and simplicity. The horrors of war are juxtaposed against the beauty of nature, the love of the land, and the mysteries of how a man and woman grow to trust and love each other. Seeing this glory and living this glory in the midst of a world reeling from the results of the fall is our calling, not just in war time, but every time; every day, and hour, and minute.


At 24/6/05 10:25, Anonymous Meredith said...

Hey - Jon and I saw Zelary while we were in NZ at this sort of bizarre theatre (story for another time!). Anyway, it's one of those movies that stays with you for a variety of reasons (sceanery, emotions, violence, topic, etc.). It and other movies (Empire of the Sun comes to mind)have often made me wonder how our U.S. culture would be different today if war had come to our land in the recent past in a long-term way (not to discount Pearl Harbor and 9/11). It makes me wonder why after 9/11, many were quick to enter war with Iraq. I know there are a variety of reasons, but after our own experience with a large attack resulting in civilian deaths...well, why?


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