The Black Stallion

I love the movie, The Black Stallion! This is a wonderful film from 1979. It won a lot awards, especially for the cinematography. In this beautiful short piece of the film, the stallion, also known as “The Mystery Horse”, and “The Black”, is injured before the race, and when the jockey notices this, he tries to hold the horse back. The stallion though wants to race – and he does! Even if you are not into horse racing, this is magnificent. I love the photography here. Watch the filming from the horse’s and the jockey’s point of view. Wonderful! You can also hear the horses breathe as they are running. It is even more stunning when you see who the jockey is, and that horse and rider have a close connection. One day I will do a full review of the film. Go Black! I hope you enjoy it.

 Have a great rest of the weekend!

Blessings to everyone and PEACE!

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

Commentary © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

video from youtube

The Stolen Horse

This is a wonderful piece of film! It has been a long time since I’ve featured anything from the movie “Dances With Wolves”. Last year I wrote two articles on the film. One was about what I like about the film, and the other one was why I don’t like it! For one thing it is very violent. But there is alot about the culture of First Nations people here and in the rest of the movie.

In this piece, the main character, Lt. Dunbar, has his horse stolen. If you haven’t seen the film then I won’t give the rest away. When it begins, watch Lt. Dunbar’s connection with the wolf. The horses thundering is so cool! Then the First Nations character, Wind in His Hair, challenges Lt. Dunbar to prove he is not afraid of him. I love hearing the Lakota language!

Wind in His Hair, is basically yelling, “I am Wind in His Hair, and I am not afraid of you! Do you see? I am not afraid of you!” Later in the film they become good friends.

By the way, ever wonder why First Nations men of the past went to war, without their shirts on? It wasn’t so much of wanting to be cool or macho (some places may have been hot though). They knew that if they were hit by any projectile, such as an arrow, knife, bullet, or javelin, with having a shirt on – it would force the fabric into the wound, and cause an infection. So they avoided shirts to avoid infection.

Have a great weekend!

Blessings to everyone and PEACE!

Commentary © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

video from youtube

Dances with Wolves – Why I Do Like the Movie

Bison

Dances with Wolves, 1990 – A Mini-Review Part II.

This film is a visual masterpiece. The cinematography is outstanding, to the point of the film being a work of art. Especially beautiful are outdoor scenes of sunsets, buffalo hunting, and of everyday village life. I love the way the village life is portrayed!

This brings me to the second aspect I really like about the film, which is the way the people become real to us. We do not only get to see how the people lived, (a long time ago), we get to know them. I love the Native American characters in this film. Chief Ten Bears is wonderful. Watch especially the interaction with him and his wife! They fuss at each other just like an older couple would. Priceless.

Even though there is too much of Lt. John Dunbar in the film, there are scenes that are very special. I love when his horse gets stolen (several times), and then returns back to him! I will always remember the scenes of his interaction with the wolf. They are just beautiful. Wind in His Hair charging up to him, and challenging him, yelling at him in Lakota is especially memorable.

I’m glad there is some romance in this film. I don’t agree that the character of Kevin Costner has to have a white wife, but I think I understand why it was done that way. If his wife had been Lakota, it probably would have been considered exploitation.

Native Americans using the Lakota language gives this film a big boost. Great effort was made to be as realistic as possible. I understand most of the actors had to actually learn the language, then they could speak it on film.

The musical score is magnificent. It goes perfectly, and adds to the film’s beautiful filming. It is inspiring.

There a lot of good things about this film and they do outweigh the negatives.

I have included a trailer, with a lot of the Lakota language. Stands with a Fist is white, but has lived with the Lakota a long time, and they want her to speak the white’s language to Lt. Dunbar (Kevin Costner).

By the way when you see the word Sioux in the subtitles it is incorrect. That is an English word from the French, and the Lakota in this movie and in other places use the word Lakota. They do not say Sioux. You can even hear the word “Lakota” if you listen closely.

 

 

 

 

 

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

Dances with Wolves – What I Don’t Like About the Movie

Wolf

Dances with Wolves, 1990 – A Mini-Review Part I.

To be honest it’s about a white guy. The movie centers around the main character, to the point of us missing out on getting to know more of the other characters in the movie. Not only is the Kevin Costner character important in the film, but he rescues the Lakota! He saves them. This is not only unlikely but awkward!

There is a self-centeredness in this movie. On the one hand, his writing in a diary is interesting, but it tends to draw the viewer further into the importance of one character. Hearing more of what the Native Americans think would have made the film better. The story could be told from the Native American viewpoint.

I also have an issue with the violence. It probably is realistic, but it seems to be more about selling tickets than depicting reality. It seems that Hollywood is interjecting values, such as, there must be a conflict in order to tell a good story. Do we really need that much conflict? However, in the final battle with the Pawnee, there are some good things said about this type of warfare. This kind of fighting is said to be about protecting families, and provisions for the winter, instead of having a political agenda. I get that.

One final aspect I don’t like about the film is when it begins, and ends. The film should begin once the main character is on the prairie, or at least en-route there. The beginning of the film with the Civil War scenes, his being decorated (again as a hero!), the commander committing suicide, are all unnecessary, and do not add to the film. A good place to start the film would be once he arrives at the fort that has been abandoned.

For me, the film should end when Ten Bears (the chief) is holding a Spanish helmet, talking about defending the land, and they will continue to do so. After that point, there is a lot of violence that does not add to the film, or the story. It goes downhill from there. The ending is somewhat embarrassing, with the main character being a wonderful hero in an unrealistic way. If you ever read the book, the ending is much better, and a whole lot more believable.

I’ll write more next time on what I do like about the film! I have included a short trailer in order to provide some beautiful images that the film has. You will notice right away though the emphasis, or what I call the over emphasis, on the main character.

 

 

 

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

Movie Reviews – My All Time Favorites

My All Time Favorite Movies

You can tell a lot from a person from the kinds of movies they watch. Some like action films or science fiction. Others like romance or comedies. I have thought a lot about the movies that I like and wanted to share with you a list of my all-time favorites. Eventually I would like to review each one in more detail.

When you look at this list you will learn a lot about me. Many are deeply spiritual. I love films with character, and that deal with serious issues in tangible ways. Characters need to be real and have depth. Films also need to have a good ending. Yet I also like films with humor, and romance. Sleepless in Seattle would be a good example. I also really like cross-cultural themes in films. The films on this list have great endings (for the most part).

Unconditional is my all-time favorite for a lot of reasons. The beginning is sad but it is real, and goes beyond the raw emotions of grief. It shows the main character, Samantha grappling with the concepts of the meaning of life, and overcoming hopelessness. Been there! She does overcome, through forgiveness, and with the help of a childhood friend she meets again, who helps children in the inner city. She finds meaning in helping others. She is changed. Oh by the way, before tragedy struck her life, she was a children’s book author. When she regains hope she can create again! You have got to see this film! It deals with racism, forgiveness, ministry, death, overcoming, hope, and much more. It is filled with love! The ending is fantastic!

A Walk in the Clouds, is a beautiful film. This film is rich with honor, love, dreams dying and coming back to life, and with the main character finding who he is by finding love. He finds healing. He finds his place in life with a Mexican-American family. This family finds healing too. Oh, and there is wine, and love. This film is awesome. I will save the rest for the review!

Even though I am a Christian I generally do not like overtly Christian films, with the exception of, Facing the Giants. I don’t like films that are preachy. This is a football movie but much more than that, it is a film about overcoming. Against all odds a football coach turns his life around and then has a positive impact on his team, which changes the lives of the players. This film is a winner!

We Bought a Zoo, may seem like a light weight by looking at the cover, but it not only has depth, it is a very sensitive film about a family that has suffered the loss of the wife and mother. The husband (starring Matt Damon) is determined to save his family (and himself) out of the depths of despair and grief. He is willing to go to great lengths to do so. A new start is the answer, and yes they do buy a zoo! It has a great ending, and life is reborn. Watch how the family is transformed due to dealing with their grief and allowing love to come in. Wow.

Namesake is an incredible film about an Indian couple coming to the U. S. and beginning a new life. It is also about their children, the changing culture both in this country and in their family. It is filled with the search for meaning, love, family, and what is success? It is complex and very cross-cultural, but the film is done so well, and has so much love in it, as we watch the characters deal with different issues they face, including a failed marriage. Why did the marriage fail? They married for the wrong reasons. In the end the mother returns to her love of singing.

I round out this list with October Baby. At first this seems like a typical teenager movie, with young people going to the beach and hanging out with friends. It changes though as the main character finds out why she has health problems and that she was adopted. The middle of the film deals with the issue of abortion and not only the horror of it, but the long term damaging effects. It is not overtly Christian but without question this is a pro-life movie with a lot to say. The ending is all about redemption and healing! Thank God for healing!

Warning: Many of these films are rated PG-13 and are not suitable for children due to their mature themes. Please, please, be careful. If you’re a parent or an older teen though – enjoy!

My Top Fifteen Favorite Movies

1. Unconditional

2. A Walk in the Clouds

3. The Ultimate Gift

4. Facing the Giants

5. The Kingdom of Heaven (with Gregory Peck)

6. It’s a Wonderful Life

7. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

8. We Bought a Zoo

9. The Perfect Game

10. Fill the Void

11. Young Victoria

12. Miracle on 34th Street (original)

13. Namesake

14. Sleepless in Seattle

15. October Baby

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review – Fill the Void

Fill the Void is an unusual, and wonderful Israeli film about the Haredi Jewish culture, the grief of a family, and love vs. duty.

The film begins around the time of year known as Purim. This a joyous time for religious Jewish families, and celebrates God’s protection of the Jewish people. The origins of the feast go back to the Bible and the Book of Esther, where the wicked Haman is destroyed and God’s people are saved from certain destruction. The heroes from the Book of Esther are Esther (Hadassah) and her godly uncle Mordecai.

Now back to the film, it begins with an amazing look into Haredi culture. The main character, Shira is a young lady on the way to see her potential, future husband. She does not actually meet him, but she and her mother go to the grocery store to see what he looks like! We know that there is a matchmaker involved because they cannot find the particular man, and they call the matchmaker to see where the young man, Pinchas Miller, is. Shira’s mother calls the matchmaker and is told he is in the dairy section. When Shira does see him, her mother wants to know what she thinks, and Shira believes he is the one.

The matchmaker plays an important role in marriages in this film, as do the parents. No one forces young people to marry certain other young people, but the movie does seem to indicate that there are pressures that young people face. It seems that maybe the film makers are examining the practice. For some young people it is the pressure just to be married, in a culture that lifts married life and family to a very high level. An example of this would be the character Frieda, who is older and not married yet. For others it is marrying a partner they have never met, because they look like a good prospect.

Now for us we may not like this idea, and it seems at the very least archaic. What it does say about the young people in this culture though, is that they are submitted to their parents, their community (by trusting the matchmaker and fellow Haredi Jews), and ultimately to God. They are trusting, and they want to do the right thing.

Tragedy strikes Shira’s family when on the night of Purim, her pregnant sister dies. By the way, her sister’s name is Esther. I’m not sure of all of the symbolism here, but I know there is some, because the baby is saved, and when they name him, he is given the name Mordecai (spelled slightly different).

One of the most moving scenes in the film is when Esther’s widower, Yochay takes his son to the synagogue for the circumcision ceremony. Inside the synagogue he holds his son and sings, cries, and praises God all at the same time. The praises to God are beautiful, and the audience feels his intense grief.

The grief of Shira’s family runs deep. It is especially difficult for her mother. As the months go by Yochay considers marriage again, in part to take care of the baby. When his potential wife lives in Belgium he contemplates going to live there. This becomes unbearable for Shira’s mother, and she comes up with a plan for Shira to marry Yochay.

The majority of the film is spent examining what Shira goes through in the way of grief over losing her sister, and at the same time feeling the pressure of everyone wanting her to marry her dead sister’s husband. At first she does not think of it as even a possibility, because he is Esther’s husband!

Gradually she says yes but not out of love. She emotionally shuts down, and does not allow herself to feel any emotion, and even tells the rabbi she is willing to marry Yochay because it is the right thing to do. She wants to do the right thing. She holds in her grief and apprehension. The meeting with the rabbi is very touching. If you see the movie take note of how he handles an old lady that wants to see the rabbi, and interrupts the meeting with Shira, her father, and Yochay. When the rabbi sits down again, we don’t see all that he says to Shira, but the family comes back with their heads hanging low. The marriage is not approved.

There is a beautiful scene when Shira cries out to God for help. She is lying on her bed alone, and asking God to give her the strength to get up. She tells God she cannot face this alone and she needs His help.

Shira and Yochay do develop a dialogue with one another in spite of everything, in fact, because of everything they have been through together. We see them opening up to one another and starting to be honest, which develops their relationship. Shira insists she is not afraid but when Yochay pushes her to confront her feelings, she admits that she is afraid of dying. This becomes a turning point for her.

The film invites God in, because of the people and their deep faith. Throughout the film we see people thanking God, acknowledging Him, and seeking Him through prayer. This is wonderful.

I will not share the ending with you, but faith, internal freedom, and the relationship between Shira and Yochay are a blessing to see. I do wish it was slightly different at the very end, with more joy.

This is a very good film. By the way there is no violence or profanity at all. There is some smoking and drinking, but Haredi (and this Hassidic branch of Haredi) Jews like to celebrate. The film is in Hebrew and/or Yiddish, and has English subtitles.

It is a film about faith, family, and wanting to do the right thing. I highly recommend it.

 

 

© Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree