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About phlox

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    just passing through

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  1. Please Stand By

    This looks a little goofy, but could be fun – for Star Trek fans anyway - from Trekmovie.com Please Stand By is a character-based indie film about a young woman with autism, who goes on a journey to deliver her Star Trek script to a competition at Paramount Pictures. Written by Michael Golamco and based on his short play of the same name, it’s directed by Ben Lewin, starring Dakota Fanning, Alice Eve, and Toni Collette. The film will be released January 26 in theaters and on demand via Amazon Video and iTunes.
  2. 2018 Reading Journals

    Jesus was a Liberal by William McLennan (2009) Devotions: Selected poems by Mary Oliver (2017) Magdalene: Poems by Marie Howe (2017)
  3. Not to belabor this, but [spoilers] as you note, Vincent’s state of mind was quite optimistic shortly before his death. The film convinced me it was accidental homicide-- by the doctor’s testimony about the angle of the bullet, by the fact that someone trying to commit suicide would not shoot his stomach, and by the reports of the village boys harassing him, drinking and playing with guns. The pistol was never found. Saying he tried to kill himself protected the teenagers from punishment, and seems to fit his devotional character. Probably the film was influenced by the murder theory in the 2011 book Van Gogh: the Life, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory Smith.
  4. The Lord's Prayer

    Interesting…. I would say that Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer acknowledge that God does allow us to be tested, though not directly initiating it, as part of the freedom of choice given to humans. One could cite Moses as an example, and Job, maybe even the tree of knowledge in Genesis. Perhaps Jesus was alluding to his own experience in the desert: in Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Maybe the whole issue of temptation is addressed in Corinthians 10, “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
  5. Mr. Turner was another memorable artist film, though the character is not nearly as sympathetic as Van Gogh. [spoilers] It would have been interesting if Loving Vincent could have showed more of the artist’s Christian faith… as I recall it skimmed over his religious paintings, his desire to become a preacher like his father, his exhausting missionary work with the miners. The film’s focus was on the investigation… but Van Gogh taking the blame and covering for the teenage boys who very likely killed him accidentally, makes more sense when we see how compassionate and self-sacrificing he was all along.
  6. The Lord's Prayer

    Way out of my league in terms of biblical scholarship, but I’d have to agree about the NRSV translation-- ‘time of trial’ isn’t the best choice. From what I read, the Pope’s suggested rewording is “do not let us fall into temptation.” I can’t go along with his assertion that Satan is a person, but I find it significant that he calls attention to this verse at this particular time… when the authority of political leaders is being questioned, when it seems we are indeed being led astray.
  7. The Lord's Prayer

    Surprised to read that the Pope wants to change a line of the Lord’s Prayer. I understand his point that Satan (or evil personified), not God the loving Father, leads us into fear, anger, bitterness. The question is whether the word 'temptation' suggests being encouraged to do wrong, or being allowed to suffer to the point of losing faith. Most bibles have the word temptation; the translation I use is the NRSV, which has “And do not bring us to the time of trial…“ I’m no theologian, but I’ve always thought this line meant ‘please don’t let our faith be tested beyond endurance, don’t let affliction destroy our trust in You.’ I wonder how this suggested change in the prayer reflects on the Pope’s view of current events in the world.
  8. Star Trek 14

    Well, you clearly remembered more about that TNG episode than I did! Apparently there is a whole book about it, by Eric Stillwell, one of the script writers. The other episode Tarantino mentioned was from TOS-- “City on the edge of forever” -- to expand into a movie. So he’s definitely into the time travel theme. He also said the first Star Trek reboot was the best film of 2009.
  9. Star Trek 14

    Interesting, saw that report on Trekmovie.com….was surprised that Tarantino prefers Star Trek to Star Wars. A new Trek movie from Abrams teamed with the director known for the ”estheticization of violence” – ? doesn’t exactly lift my spirits (!). He said an episode like TNG “Yesterday’s Enterprise” could easily be adapted into a feature film –the one where the ship enters a time rift and the crew find themselves in a long doomed battle with the Klingons, that has spread to the entire quadrant. Seems like Trek scripts keep getting more firmly entrenched in the genre of action flicks. What I’d like to see is a film that “boldly goes” into the period after the arrival of the Vulcans in 2063 and before the United Federation of Planets in 2161…the never-explored transition beyond tribal conflict, that somehow ends war, crime, disease, poverty, hunger, etc.
  10. Babette's Feast

    Good point…. the parable analogy is bit of a stretch. :-) I guess you could say the film does a better job of making Babette’s character consistent and graceful as a humble martyr, while the novella clearly doesn’t want us to view her that way in the end. The one thing Babette had left in life after all her loss and hardship was her creative gift, and she’d been forced to bury it. To me that explains her words and tone in the novella. Maybe Dineson as an author had a similar axe to grind, being encouraged to do her second best instead of her utmost…. I don’t know.
  11. Babette's Feast

    Thanks for your thoughts. The part about the two spiritual sensibilities working together seems very true to me. Not sure about the cross/ crucifix (in the film maybe?) There might not be anything specific about Babette being redeemed in the villagers' eyes after the feast...but there are hints that they saw her extravagance and sensual indulgence brought good spiritual “fruit”– relationships are enhanced, they feel restored to a blissful childlike innocence-- “They realized that the infinite grace of which General Loewenhielm had spoken had been allotted to them, and they did not even wonder at the fact, for it had been but the fulfillment of an ever‐present hope. The vain illusions of this earth had dissolved before their eyes like smoke, and they had seen the universe as it really is.” Babette's final words about artists do seem a bit harsh, jarring compared to the film.... but she had been forced to suppress her creative expression for so long. Dineson's ending in a way combines the parable of the talents with the celestial feast of the lamb.
  12. Hope to see this in the next few days.
  13. Babette's Feast

    Someone else could probably articulate this better, but the blog post does show a thought-provoking contrast between the way Babette’s character is portrayed in the novella and the film. Ironically, her fulfilling position as head chef at Café Anglais in France, was supported by the very aristocracy she later fought against and fled, losing everything. But her lavish feast, and the personal epiphanies it brings, makes her finally independent from the Parisian elite whose praise once gave her identity. Perhaps it also frees her from being distrusted as a Catholic in the Puritanical culture of the Danish villagers. So maybe the assertion of being an artist is not denying the blessing bestowed on her employers, but simply claiming her own gift in the process. While the film undoubtedly presents a more humble, saintly impression of Babette, the literary version can also be seen as God choosing unlikely servants, flawed humans with complex motives and backgrounds, to accomplish works of grace and transformation.
  14. I found this purely dazzling, as a one-of-a- kind visual experience that took 7 years, with 125 artists painting over 62,450 frames in Van Gogh’s style. (Seven years- ! like the devotion/obsession of the artist himself). I especially enjoyed seeing /hearing Saoirse Ronan animated as Marguerite Gachet. And the score by Clint Mansell is moving. The weak part is the story itself, investigating Van Gogh’s supposed suicide, which lacks dramatic energy-- though the film did change my mind about the circumstances of his death.
  15. Harold and Maude

    Thanks for the helpful insights. The producer Chuck Mulvehill was at the festival, and said about the 'morning-after' scene, "Oddly, while this was pitched as a love story, the studio never thought it was a LOVE story. They were not down with the idea that the relationship might actually be consummated." I liked the anti-war, fight-the-system attitude, which seems as relevant now as it was then. My favorite film from VFF though, was The Leisure Seeker (2017) -- [spoilers] which also ends in suicide -- but has many funny parts throughout.