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Sara

Fearless - Peter Weir

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spoilers1.gif Is Max a Christ figure? What do you think?" It seemed to me he was - saving people out of the airplane telling them to "follow the light."

Then later helping the girl realize she could not have saved her son - freeing her from guilt. (Even risking his own life to do so.)

But his own soul was in peril. He was walking between death and life - and then he asks his wife to "save" him. A beautiful request - allowing someone else to help you. Isn't this Christ like?

The music at the end said it all for me. Gorecki's 3rd Sumphony (Sorrowful Songs.) Kind of a death and resurrection.

There is so much redemption in this film. A lot of pain - a lot of overcoming the horrors - and restoration of people back to their functioning selves.

Your thoughts?

Sara

Edited by Sara

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I'm always moved by the conclusion. He could go on considering his "enlightenment" as a thing to be grasped. He's been freed from the fear of death, and now he sees all of the world's chaos... all of this terrified running from death... as madness. But that does not excuse him to live "like a ghost." He is still a human being, a husband, and a father, and to truly participate with them, he must lower himself, he must intimately communicate with them, he must bear their burdens, and he must suffer. I think the film has its weaknesses, but I find the story and the ideas at its core compelling.

So, Criterion... what's taking you so long to realize that Picnic at Hanging Rock isn't the only great Peter Weir film?! Give us a widescreen DVD!!!


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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There is a sense in which he might be considered a false Christ. One of the early scenes (and then later at a key point) he eats strawberries, which are for him, forbidden fruit. His sense of fearlessness, immortality is a false sense, as someone who has a God/Messiah complex.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I'm assuming this movie is old enough not to need spoiler tags, but until one of the higher-ups says so, I'll play it safe.

I think Max's Messiah/God complex is closer to the film's themes than any Christ-figure symbolism. Weir's message seems to be ultimately humanistic: Salvation can be found in us, so we must save one another - culminating at the end

when Max asks his wife to save him, and she does

.

This isn't to say that Christians cannot look at the same images and see a sense of community, of God's people helping each other under His divine guidance. That is something that I also take away from Fearless.

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I wouldn't class myself as a higher-up, but as someone who has not seen the film I was wondering if teh title of this tag is a spoiler? And if so, then Sara could you change it please to something that doesn't give the game away

Matt "hoping he can forget by the time he watches it" Page

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I wouldn't class myself as a higher-up, but as someone who has not seen the film I was wondering if teh title of this tag is a spoiler? And if so, then Sara could you change it please to something that doesn't give the game away

Matt "hoping he can forget by the time he watches it" Page

Sorry, Matt. I just changed it. I hope I didn't spoil the film for you. unsure.gif

Sara

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Darrel and SPTZ,

spoilers1.gif

While I was walking to the mailbox this morning, it hit me that you two understood Max and his "image" better than I did. I had not thought of his having a Messiah complex, but I believe he did.

It is a complex movie, and I will need to see it again soon.

I wonder why Weir chose the Gorecki 3rd Symphony (Sorrowful Songs) at the end. It is so moving and full of death/life/love. It is also very dark and a reminder of man's inhumanity to man, especially the German occupation of Poland.

What do you suppose were Weir's thoughts on choosing this piece of music. Whatever they were, I am glad he did.

Sara

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I'm semi-ashamed to say it, but my only memories of this film -- which came out around the time I was getting into film-reviewing for the student paper -- are of my friend Trent turning to me after the screening and saying, "Well THERE'S our trumped-up Hollywood spirituality for the week" (a comment he reiterated when he wrote his review for another student paper), and of one of my colleagues writing in his review that the biggest problem with the film was "the script, the script, the script."

This may be one of those films I'll have to see again to see if it merits the fuss some of the friends I have made since then like to make over this film.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Sara, this article may answer some of your questions.

Peter, a quote from the above interview may also answer your friends critique, or explain why he felt that way:

How did you come to make "Fearless"?

I was looking for a script, and I couldn't believe that what I was reading was A list, so I came over to meet with a couple of writers I'd thought were interesting, and to meet with studio heads - and no one in-between - to find out what was wrong. The only producer who got by that requirement was Mark Rosenberg, and I gave him the same speech I gave the studio heads, which was "Give me things that are unusual or difficult," what are called "broken scripts." Mark and Paula Weinstein gave me the script that Rafael Yglesias had adapted, on spec, from his own novel that was waiting to be published. I was delighted, because it hadn't had the usual input where they round the corners and put in all the things that are in books about scriptwriting.

What was "broken" about it?

It was good writing, daring writing. But I thought it was two movies. The first 25 pages were a film about how you'd cope with the knowledge that you were going to die, taking the point of view of a man who knew about aircraft and knew that the hydraulics were gone and so there was no steering and no braking even if the plane got on the ground. Then there was the second film, which was about how you live once you survive. I couldn't see a way to do it as one film.

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... I had not thought  of his having a Messiah complex, but I believe he did.

It is a complex movie, and I will need to see it again soon.

In fact, a Messiah complex movie.

cool.gif

You know, I saw this film twice, giving it my best shot, and it really didn't do anything for me. A very close friend whose movie recommendations are always worth heeding counts it among his all-time favourites, so I tackled it both times with a real willingness to appreciate the thing - and hey, Peter Weir is pretty much my favourite director after maybe as of today the Dardenne Brothers - and yet it didn't click for me.

Until this summer, when I watched it yet again, closely, and dug in to write about it. It was part of a course on ECCLESIASTES AND FILM by Robert K. Johnston and Catherine Barsotti, and I also wanted to include it in a book I'm doing about movies that have a spiritual flavour. Anyhow, the darn thing finally busted wide open, and I now count it a favourite. Here's my write up;

FEARLESS (1993, USA, Peter Wier, wr Rafael Yglesias)

We used to live in tribes, and when a tribe suffered a disaster


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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We used to live in tribes, and when a tribe suffered a disaster
Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The line is from a therapy session for survivors of the crash.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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...it seems profoundly unnatural to me that the entire human race should be constantly informed about every latest Natural Disaster Of The Week.  This constant sensationalistic global milking of our compassion seems to me like a creation of the mass media, and thus unhealthy.  ...

Oh yes, I'm with you entirely. Much as I dislike psycho-slang, "compassion fatigue" is a very real danger of the media sufferathon. And there's way too much of the voyeur in our need to eavesdrop on every heart-broken conversation.

Makes me think of Billy Kwan. "I support the view that you just don't think about the major issues. You do whatever you can about the misery that's in front of you. Add your light to the sum of light." Doesn't go quite far enough, I'm afraid: if we all just do what we can about the misery that's in front of us, what about Africa? Shrunk too small, we even risk Jesus warning about doing good only to our family and friends. But still, I default in Billy's general direction, and avoid the sensationalist TV news.

Ron


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Ron,

I just read your review of Fearless! It is the most insightful review I have read, including some of those great well known critics. It really made the film come alive for me in that I seemed to get closer to the spirit or spirituality within it.

I notice you said you were writing a book of film reviews looking at the spirituality within each film. Tell us more about your book, please. How close are you to getting it published?

I for one would love to have a collection of your reviews. Are all of them included throughout this forum?

Sara

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wow, Sara! That's got to be the most encouraging thing I've heard in a good while!

The working title is Soul Food Movies: A guide to films with a spiritual flavour. As I work away on it, the goalposts keep moving with respect to scope and length, but presently I'm hoping to have blurbs for 500 films, ranging from a few words to a few thousand words per movie. Longer write-ups for "spiritually significant" movies that I think might be under-noticed, or for the ones I think are most important. I want the book to introduce people to films they might not already know, so I work really hard at avoiding spoilers. I also want it to be valuable for people who have already watched a film and want to see new things in it (like you with FEARLESS, for example), so I try to be very specific, especially about the artistry of the film - particularly since that's the main thing I have to offer people, coming from a theatre background myself.

I don't have a publisher yet, I've been writing it strictly because I thought it seemed like a good idea. Didn't want to get anyone setting deadlines for me until I was at least halfway through - once my sabbatical finishes, I'll be back running my theatre company, and will have only so much writing time available. But I've passed the 100,000 word mark now, so I hope to start putting out feelers. First for an agent who could show my book to the larger "agent only" publishers, and then, if I can't find an agent, I'll approach publishers directly. I'm not aiming for the Bible bookstore market, but rather for the Anne Lamott / Annie Dillard / Frederick Buechner readers out there, so my hope would be to find a publisher who's oriented toward that broader readership, but who can say?

As for whether my reviews are included throughout A&F, I do post them on appropriate threads when the thought occurs to me, but nothing systematic. I do have a posting on my blog that includes links to things I (and others) have posted elsewhere on the web, as well: here's a link - mine are in blue.

Again, thanks for your praises! I'll bask in the glow all day, I'm sure!

Now, back to the book...

Ron


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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wow, Sara! That's got to be the most encouraging thing I've heard in a good while!

The working title is Soul Food Movies: A guide to films with a spiritual flavour. As I work away on it, the goalposts keep moving with respect to scope and length, but presently I'm hoping to have blurbs for 500 films, ranging from a few words to a few thousand words per movie. Longer write-ups for "spiritually significant" movies that I think might be under-noticed, or for the ones I think are most important. I want the book to introduce people to films they might not already know, so I work really hard at avoiding spoilers. I also want it to be valuable for people who have already watched a film and want to see new things in it (like you with FEARLESS, for example), so I try to be very specific, especially about the artistry of the film - particularly since that's the main thing I have to offer people, coming from a theatre background myself.

I don't have a publisher yet, I've been writing it strictly because I thought it seemed like a good idea. Didn't want to get anyone setting deadlines for me until I was at least halfway through - once my sabbatical finishes, I'll be back running my theatre company, and will have only so much writing time available. But I've passed the 100,000 word mark now, so I hope to start putting out feelers. First for an agent who could show my book to the larger "agent only" publishers, and then, if I can't find an agent, I'll approach publishers directly. I'm not aiming for the Bible bookstore market, but rather for the Anne Lamott / Annie Dillard / Frederick Buechner readers out there, so my hope would be to find a publisher who's oriented toward that broader readership, but who can say?

As for whether my reviews are included throughout A&F, I do post them on appropriate threads when the thought occurs to me, but nothing systematic. I do have a posting on my blog that includes links to things I (and others) have posted elsewhere on the web, as well: here's a link - mine are in blue. 

Again, thanks for your praises! I'll bask in the glow all day, I'm sure!

Now, back to the book...

Ron

Please keep us up to date on your book, Ron. smile.gif

Sara

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I saw this last night, and it's the kind of film that lingers in your mind long after it's over. Max is complex and intriguing, both admirable and appalling, one filled with childlike wonder and childlike immaturity.

Our perceptions constantly shift between the glory of Max's liberty, a vital engagement with life ready to pour himself out for the almost-lost Carla

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My local video rental store is going out of business (aren't they all?) and I found a copy of Fearless in the bargain bin. So I purchased it and watched it, motivated by a personal mission to watch all of Peter Weir's films this year.

My few initial thoughts:

-Bridges creates such an interesting protagonist, one that feels both heroic and self-destructive/broken all at once. Even now, it's difficult to discern whether he's spiritually-enlightened or experiencing unique PTSD symptoms (the final scene gives a glimpse into this).

-The car crash scene. It was like those TV medical dramas where the doctor decides to use some controversial or untried medical procedure in order to save the dying patient. The scene doesn't seem to condone Max's actions; it simply shows that this is how Max feels he needs to help Carla, and, like it or not, it actually works. And it's U2 playing in the background!

-I'm with Ron Reed above: Rossellini's performance was way more interesting to me than Perez. Both are solid, but Rossellini's character has to undergo a different sort of pain and loss than the death of a child--the loss of a husband who is still alive and present, yet seems to be slipping away into a different reality than her. She doesn't slip into the typical whiny and helpless spouse often portrayed in films like this; she is strong and resilient and willing to fight for her marriage. Her conversation with Perez shows this complexity, where she is torn between throwing Perez out and trying to understand where she is coming from.

-Is Max actually fearless? There are moments where he does seem afraid--he is afraid of losing his fearlessness. He has to do something extreme--walk across traffic, stand on the edge of a building, crash a car--in order to stuff that fear again, reignite his boldness. And is complete fearless a good thing? It seems like something we'd actually want; no one likes to be afraid or anxious. Yet if the lifestyle of Max embodies a life without fear, I'm not sure I want it. A healthy fear of traffic or the edge of tall buildings or the loss of a loved one might be a healthy motivation, as long as that fear doesn't overwhelm our motivation for love.

-I watched this during Easter afternoon, and wondered: what would be included in a list of resurrection films? Not just the appearance of death, but films where the character genuinely dies and comes back to life in miraculous ways.

-As a pastor in full-time ministry, I've encountered a form of Max in the church: the pastor with the savior complex. Seemingly spiritually-enlightened and self-sacrificing, but often operating out of their own fear and insecurity, they take on the case of the needy and emotionally-broken in order to "save" them. The Max-and-Carla relationship, including its undertones of infidelity and codependency, are sadly all too common in the context of ministry. I'm not sure Weir was intending this interpretation, but that's where my pastoral POV went.

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I watched it today planning to write about it on the the ScreenFish "Self-Isolated Film Festival" category. I see it as the film we need to see in 2021.

Also, watching it on Easter, I noted the scene when Max and Carla are outside the store. He tells her "We'fe safe because we died already." Look at those people. They haven't died in their mind like we have. "We passed through death." If I were still preaching, that clip might well be in my Easter sermon next year.

 


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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