“It’s About the Acorns!”

Forest

A friend recently loaned me her dvd of the beautiful film, The Man Who Planted Trees.  How have I not seen this film before?  It is really lovely and renewed my love for trees, all trees– tall, short, droopy, majestic, ordinary– all of them.  As I happened to be babysitting my twin grandsons (five years old) the evening I brought it home, I decided that perhaps they would like it as well.  We watched, they were transfixed– it was a magical moment and upon reaching the end, I was almost afraid to disturb.  I could only say, “Oh, I do so love the trees,”  to which sweet Ian said, “It’s not about the trees, it’s about the acorns!”  He’s right, you know.  It is about the acorns.  The film is all about sowing seeds, seeds of trees, love, rejuvenation, strength and community.  Unless we have seeds, we’ll never have trees.

Oak tree -- yes, from an acorn

The film was directed by Frédéric Back and based on the book written by  Jean Giono.   A mere thirty minutes long, it was released in 1987 and won the Academy for Best Animated Short Film.  I tried to find a link to the trailer but the film itself seems to be all over the internet.  Here is a link to the film but I suggest you use this link and buy it for yourself.

It's the nut....

See ‘Sophie Scholl: The Final Days’

sophieschollphoto06.jpgMarc Rothemund’s film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, which was released in 2005, is a wonderful German film on the resistance movement in World War II Germany. The film focuses on the last days of Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch), who, with her brother, Hans (Fabian Hinrichs), was arrested for distributing anti-Hitler pamphlets at the university in Munich. Their capture, interrogation, trial, and sentencing are depicted here with a believability and simplicity that few films are able to capture. The film holds very true to the actual events.comp3_1.jpg

The film plays out almost like a theater performance, with much of the film taking place in prison cells and the office of Robert Mohr (Gerald Alexander Held). In these tighter quarters the feeling of being directly in the room with the characters is often more strongly felt, making the whole experience that much more personal.

200×156_sophiescholl2.jpgSophie Scholl gives us a part of World War II which is sometimes seldom seen or recognized. Yet this story, as well as others like it, is as significant as the other aspects of the war which have already been put on the screen time and time again. The resistance movement within Germany during the Nazi regime is an often inspiring study and those who were a part of that movement do deserve recognition.

I do believe that much can be learned from people like Sophie and Hans Scholl. They loved 95.jpgtheir country, Germany, and when they saw the principles on which that country stood being destroyed, it caused them to act – pointing out the atrocities that the Nazi Party to that point had committed. In doing that they were branded as traitors by the regime. Yet few today would claim that Sophie, Hans, the other members of the White Rose student resistance group, and all other resistance fighters in Germany were wrong in their decision to stand up to the government rather than put the blinders on and ignore the crimes committed by their leaders.

Much could be written on how this film and the events portayed are pertinant to current issues and events here in America. I won’t go into that, except to say: when times like those in the film arise, I would hope that we have the will and desire to stand up for the ideals that we may see crumbling around us, and will strive to see our own county avoid losing itself as has happened at times in the past, both within America and in other countries. Just see the film and draw your own conclusions. I found it inspiring and I hope your viewing experience will be equally memorable for you.

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‘Russian Ark’, Culture, and Perception

I have always been fascinated with the way cultures and countries view one another. It is quite interesting and enlightening to learn and hear about a culture from a foreign standpoint, and then enter that culture and experience it for myself. Sadly, I haven’t been able to do that as often as I would like, but the opportunities that I have had have been nothing but amazing.

russian-ark.jpgAlexander Sokurov’s one shot wonder ‘Russian Ark‘ sparked again the question of how we view our global neighbors, as well as our own country, people and culture. The film does this by taking us on a tour through the Russian State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg and through 300 years of Russian history. Intense? Maybe not for everyone. Yet this 96 minute, single take experience touches on some good topics, one being the relationship between Europe and Russia and the opinions held by both cultures to the other.

hermitagehallmed.jpgWe have the Stranger (Sergei Dreiden), a European, moving through the rooms of the museum and making comments on Russian art, architecture, fashion and so on, while our unseen, Russian narrator or Time Traveller responds to or sometimes explains some of those things to the Stranger, but we wonder if the Stranger is listening.

Sokurov also stresses the importance of culture and history and the need to preserve it. The weaving in and out of Russian history and seeing many of the landmark figures of those times emphasizes the need for us to hold onto those times now past. When looking at an ever-changing world, it becomes apparent just how difficult a task it sometimes is to hold onto something like a way of life. If we don’t watch carefully, it may slip away from us.

I like seeing people wanting to hold onto and preserve those things which make a people great, as well as dispel or confirm perceptions of one country to another. I like being reminded of those things, for it helps keep my own focus on the things that matter most, as well as keep me looking for those praiseworthy elements found within all the cultures of the world.