Monday, November 19, 2007

City of God

I have been sitting on this movie for several months now. A friend of mine gave it to me, with high praise and recommendation. I have been kind of putting off watching it for the same reason Michelle didn't watch it - it looked way too intense. And it was. Sometimes I don't want to be reminded of how easy my life has been - sometimes I feel guilty for having two parents, plenty of friends, and not knowing anyone who has been shot. I feel guilty for not having experienced the depth of fear those kids felt. Some scenes were difficult for me to watch. The best part of this movie was that it was based on a true story - and my favorite scene was the real footage of Knockout Ned during the credits. I was impressed at how well the director had duplicated the interview. Despite the fact that it was based on a true story, I was a little disappointed that this movie felt so much like other gangster movies I've tried to watch. Most of all though, I am left feeling overwhelmed at the pain and suffering and evil in the world. I can't understand how people can be so cruel to one another - and yet I can in some ways. Last week at our monthly Missions Committee meeting a woman told us about the 60 days she had just returned from in the slums of South Africa. She had gone to try to form an idea of how our congregation can best alleviate some of the pain and suffering on that continent. Her story, and City of God, have me thinking about the importance of entering into the pain of others. It's scary and hard, and it's for fear of entering into the pain of others that I didn't want to watch this movie. I don't want to know the horrible things people are capable of doing to one another. It's incredible to me that God enters into the pain of each person on this planet, day in and day out, simply by virtue of knowing them so well. He never turns away from people in their darkest moments the way I wanted to so badly during some parts of this movie. The pain and anguish he must feel... I can't imagine.

By the way, this film is in Portuguese with English subtitles. I kind of forgot about that, but it does add an interesting rhythm and sound to the movie.


raskolnikov said...

I really liked this movie and left feeling down as well. I wrestle with entering the worlds pain but not drowning in guilt. I am currently reading The Uses of Haiti, which is basically a description of how Haiti has been destroyed by foreign countries. What do I do with all that sadness and anger? I guess I just trust in Jesus' restoration, which I believe begins right now by ending current sufferings.

Jared said...

I struggle with that too - not wanting to drown in guilt. It's a frustrating feeling to be able to do what feels like so little. As they say though, the first step is to care...

As much as I know it's not right, I can see why people are inclined to not want to expose themselves to the depths of suffering in the world. Maybe there's value in just being willing to know and feel with people. I was reading in Mathew recently how the disciples were amazed that Jesus withered the tree - and he tells them they can even tell mountains to throw themselves into the sea and it will be done for them. What does that mean, in the context of feeling so powerless?