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Showing posts from December, 2018

Preserving Peace

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Isaiah 26:12 (CEB)Lord, grant us peace, because all that we have done has been your doing.

On the way home from church the other day I heard a story about the riots in France, over their proposed new gas tax. The scene is horrifying. Swarms of yellow safety jacketed people are sledgehammering buildings, incinerating cars and splaying graffiti all over the Arc de Triomphe.

Graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe! At that moment I was utterly French and appalled at the idea any of my countrymen would deface the Arc.

For me, the Arc represents everything France has historically stood for: liberty, equality, fraternity. One for all and all for one. France has always been the bastion of real democracy, the true light on the hill, whether we Americans want to admit that or not. And nowhere I was imagining a scene from one of those Purge movies, the Arc wholly covered in layers of graffiti, Paris burning in the background, the Eiffel tower’s ribs molten metal, twisted and broken.

Then the light change…

Preserving Hope

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One of my favorite classic films is an old Humphrey Bogart flick called “The Maltese Falcon.” It’s a masterpiece of film noir, all shadows stretched to the horizon and tight shots of faces full of secrets. I’ve seen this film what seems like hundreds of times. The reason I’ve been able to do so is because the film has been preserved for future generations.

In the case of a film like “The Maltese Falcon,” this is somewhat fortuitous. Most of the movies of that era were shot on highly flammable cellulose. To make matters worse, once stored, the film also degraded very quickly.

Fortunately, movements to preserve old films have been mostly successful at saving and restoring classic cinema. Some brilliant works that we know of (from magazine articles and radio interviews of the era) are gone forever, unfortunately. But many early movies have been preserved for filmmakers and filmgoers alike to continue to learn from and enjoy.

What we are doing for film today is what the Essenes, the Gnos…