Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Shocking Movie Scene With a Tangible Reality

By Metropolitan Prodromos of Toliara and South Madagascar

I have loved cinema since I was a child. Those two hours of images and sounds, moments, special effects, profound thoughts that sweat to capture intangible nature through images. Screenplays and books that dared to elevate art for art's sake, or art for profit's sake, or both. I can say that I have seen a huge number of movies, so many that if the hours I spent in front of screens equaled that spent in prayer I would already be in Abraham's Bosom.

It is not uncommon, during usually awkward conversations, where to get the conversation going, we ask each other: "What is your favorite movie or scene?" The first thing that comes to my mind is The Pianist (2002), and the terrifying scene in which a family has nothing else to eat before getting into the horrible Auschwitz wagon, except caramel wrapped in gold foil, candy which the father cuts into pieces for everyone to eat from a minimum. This candy, intended to indulge a palate for about five to ten minutes, became a meal for a family. "Shocking," I said to myself, "shocking fiction." 
And yet! I never imagined I would see it again and again. Not in front of wooden wagons but in thatched huts. Not with Jews, Roma, communists or homosexuals but with locals, children and the elderly who can just barely survive today. As you share a candy, you swear to them that you will come tomorrow or that you have more if they want for their family, and the fear of hunger leads with almost mechanical movements the candy into the mouth, to the back teeth to be bitten with force, to break it, then to spit the pieces in the palm of their hand to be distributed to those who could not come. 
Where the torch does not reach, humanity was saved, the need abounded, the tear got tired of running every day, life was clothed but the Lord reigned for our sake.
Translated by John Sanidopoulos.