Saturday, April 13, 2019

Movie Review: "Cliffs of Freedom" (2019)

Cliffs of Freedom is a 2019 film that tells the story of an ill-fated romance between a young Greek village girl and a conflicted Turkish officer during the dawn of the Greek War for Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. It was directed by Van Ling and co-written by Marianne Metropoulos, Van Ling and Kevin Bernhardt, based on a novel by billionaire philanthropist Marianne Metropoulos titled Daughter of Destiny. It stars many notable actors, such as Tania Raymonde, Jan Uddin, Raza Jaffrey, Patti LuPone, Billy Zane and Christopher Plummer.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Conversation Between the Ascetic Father Makarios and Nikos Kazantzakis

In his autobiography Report to Greco, Nikos Kazantzakis describes his forty day sojourn on Mount Athos in 1914 with the poet Angelos Sikelianos. There he met Father Makarios, an ascetic, with whom he engaged in discussions about faith and doubt. Kazantzakis, who was heavily influenced by Darwin, Nietzsche and Bergson, would rail against the established Church, especially what he called its life-denying morality. Though he rejected the asceticism of Father Makarios, he respected his rejection of spiritual mediocrity. One conversation in particular went as follows:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Evil Results of Unverified News and Bias

The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (1952; Harper Collins 2001) 118.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Shocking Advice of Saint Paisios the Athonite to a Physician

In his book Holy Mountain (Αγίων Όρος), Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolidos refers to a certain physician who asked Saint Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) the following question:

"Elder, there are certain patients that I don't know what to do with, whether I should send them to a priest or a doctor?"

He responded:

"You will see, that not all are for the priest nor are all for the doctor. One you will send to the doctor, another to the priest, and another to the bouzoukia*."

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My Top Twenty-Five Movies of 2018 (and Ten Best Documentaries)

2018 is probably the year I saw the most movies ever in theaters, not only new releases but also old releases, seeing about 90-95% of all the movies that were newly released in theaters. And I don't even get paid to do it. With that being said, I think I can give a pretty good assessment of the top 25 movies in 2018, even though all art is subjective. These were my personal 25 favorites that stood out above the rest, despite the fact that it was a very good year in movies. In many ways it was very difficult to come up with this list, because very few if any movies really do stand out as the best of the best. In fact, until the moment when I wrote this list down, I had very little idea what I wanted in my top 25. It was hard enough narrowing things down to 50. Furthermore, this was a very good year for documentaries, and I really don't like including documentaries with movies, so I decided to compile a separate list of my top ten documentaries. Also, I'm only including movies and documentaries here that I saw in theaters, where I think a true movie experience can be experienced, and not by streaming or any other means. That being said, here are my two lists. Click on each film to read more about it.