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JennyLynne

The Believer

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I'm team-teaching a film and theology class beginning Sunday.

One of the films we're using is Henry Bean's "The Believer."

Because I happen to be a fan of the film, I thought I'd extend

the discussion here. What did you think about it? Did it influence

your faith? If so, how?

Edited by JennyLynne

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FWIW, The Believer was my favorite film of 2002 (my review blurb | top ten list), and we had a thread on the film two message boards ago.

EDIT (March 9, 2007): Here is a better link for the thread we had a few message boards ago.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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SDG   

That's quite a thread there, Peter -- what you mean is, YOU had a thread consisting of two extremely long posts, and there were, like, two other posts from people who hadn't (yet) seen the film.

I've been aware of the film for awhile but have never yet seen it.

Welcome, JennyLynne. Hopefully we'll do better with the topic of the next thread you start. smile.gif

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SDG - thanks for the welcome

Peter - thanks for the link. Your original post contains a lot of great

thoughts that have failed to wander across my mind until now. I

had never paid attention to the line "maybe we're all Jews now,"

but now that you mention it, I wonder if that is what Danny is most

afraid of.

I enjoy the comparison with Job and Chesterton's essay. I'm not

sure that I'm ready to suggest that Danny curses God. Part of him

desperately wants to, but the other part clings so tightly to his faith

that he cannot. I think he is more frustrated and angry with God's

people than he is with God. And in the end, he realizes his

frustration finds culmination in himself, as he may exactly what he

has fought against all this time -- someone who allows himself to

be walked upon rather than taking a stand for who he truly is.

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Thom   

Welcome JennyLynne.

I saw this movie a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love characters who truly struggle with their faith in regard to social issues. He definitely displays a firm belief in his religion over his people. This is displayed in the moment where one of his followers attempts to desecrate the holy scrolls (I cannot remember if this was the Torah or the Talmud). He hasn

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Ron Reed   

Here's a rough - and overly long - first stab at writing something about the film, which I undertook a couple years back. I don't stand by any of it, but perhaps it will provide you with more grist for your mill?

(By the way, on my shelf I've got a book waiting to be read. Perhaps you can get a copy from a nearby university library or such? The Believer: Confronting Jewish Self-Hatred, which includes the screenplay and essay by Henry Bean, plus additonal commentaries)

*

spoilers1.gif

The Believer

Ron Reed

Rough first draft: September 4, 2002

The film is concerned with power. God's power over Abraham, Abraham's power over Isaac. The power of the Nazis over the Jews, and the Jews' unwillingness to assert any power to resist

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Watched this last night. Such a wonderful multidementional work. The contast of not only Daniel's double-mindedness, his love of Torah and (self-)hatred of Judaism, but what goes on in others as well, especially Carla's attraction not only to the language but to Torah itself, so that she begins to try to follow it and adopt it, whether God is real or not.

Rate this puppy (before Alan brings it up.)

Edit: I note that is was in the 2005 version of the Top 100. Pity it fell out.

Edited by Darrel Manson

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The headline reminded me of this film:

- - -

Israel jails 8 Jewish neo-Nazis

An Israeli court jailed eight Jewish teenagers on Sunday for carrying out neo-Nazi attacks in a case that sparked revulsion in a state that was a haven for Jews after the Holocaust.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel sentenced the teenagers, aged 16 to 19, to between one and seven years in prison for a "shocking and horrifying" year-long spree of attacks that targeted foreign workers, ultra-Orthodox Jews and homeless men. . . .

The eight teenagers were immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union and court documents cited social adjustment difficulties as a factor behind their involvement in the gang, which posted pro-Adolf Hitler video clips on the Internet.

One of the teenagers was the grandson of Holocaust survivors.

Gurfinkel said he gave the teenagers lengthy sentences in part to deter other Israelis from joining neo-Nazi groups. . . .

Reuters, November 23

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Jonathan Rosenbaum:

The Nation’s Stuart Klawans has persuasively compared Danny’s negative obsession with Judaism to the denial of Christianity attempted by Hazel Motes — the tragicomic and absurdist hero of Flannery O’Connor’s first novel, Wise Blood, whom O’Connor conceived as a grotesque parody of existentialists like Sartre and Camus, viewing Motes’s “integrity” as his inability to rid himself of Jesus. It’s certainly true that Danny’s love-hatred for Judaism is made to look increasingly like love as the film progresses, to the point where he even proposes at a subsequent fascist fund-raiser, to the befuddlement and consternation of Lina, that the Jews have to be destroyed with kindness and love, because they’ve already been taught to expect persecution and hatred. . . .

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In the last 24 hours, The Believer has been the #1 most popular film on Netflix Instant in the U.S.

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