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Archive for July 8th, 2009

brother sun 1

by Sam Juliano

     We probably know more about St. Francis of Assisi than any other medieval saint.  We are in possession of much of his own words, testament, letters, poems and liturgical writings, but perhaps most signicantly the intimate accounts of several of his disciples, written down within twenty years of his death.  From this great plethora of authentic material a clear picture of the man emerges.  St. Francis is one saint whom both Catholics and non-Catholics have united in honoring.  Certainly no other has so appealed to Protestants and even to non-Christians, and the appeal is timeless:  Francis captured the imagination of his contemporaries as well as that of modern men by his unique simplicity and a pure grace of spirit.  A classic collection of popular legends, the Little Flowers of St. Francis, first printed in 1476, contains some charming and beautiful stories of Francis’s love for the poor, of animals, of all nature.  In action it can reasonably be assumed that in action he was an “original”, in speech picturesque and poetic, yet ultimately he was a man inspired by faith and in devotion of the risen Christ.  He was born in the stony hill-town of Assisi in Umbria in the year 1181 or 1182.  His father Peter Bernadone was a wealthy merchant, while his mother by some accounts was gently born and of Provencal blood.  Much of Bernadone’s trade was with France, and his son was born while he was absent in that country.  Perhaps for this reason the child was called Francesco, “the French man,” though his baptismal name was John.  As a youth he is said to have been ardent in his amusements and seemed carried away by the mere joy of living, taking no interest at all in his father’s business or in formal learning.  Bernadone, proud to have his son finely dressed and associating with young noblemen, gave him plenty of money, which Francis squandered foolishly.  Though Francis was high-spirited, he was too fastidious to lead a dissolute life, especially as this was the age of chivalry, and he was thrilled by the songs of the trubadours and the deeds of knights.  At the age of twenty or thereabouts, during a petty war between the towns of Assisi and Perugia, he was taken prisoner.  During a year of captivity he remained cheerful and kept up the spirits of his companion, but soon after his release he suffered a long illness. (more…)

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spirit 3

by Allan Fish

(Spain 1973 98m) DVD1/2

Aka. El Espiritu de la Colmena

Why did he kill her?

p  Elias Querejeta  d  Victor Erice  w  Francisco J.Querejeta  story  Victor Erice, Angel Fernandez Santos  ph  Luis Cuadrado  ed  Pablo del Amo  m  Luis de Pablo  art  Adolfo Cofino

Fernando Fernan Gomez (Fernando), Teresa Gimpera (Teresa), Ana Torrent (Ana), Isabel Telleria (Isabel), Jose Villasante (the monster), Lally Soldavilla (Milagros), Juan Margallo (the fugitive), Miguel Picazo (doctor),

When one looks back over the great films concerning the innocence of childhood, one can recall a host of memorable portraits that remain lodged in the memory; Au Revoir les Enfants, Le Grand Chemin, The Curse of the Cat People, Whistle Down the Wind, Jeux Interdits, heck, even the first half of Cinema Paradiso.  Yet if asked to pick the greatest cinematic study of childhood, it would have to be Victor Erice’s supreme one-off masterpiece which, in spite of the efforts of Almodóvar, Saura, Medem and others (Buñuel’s best efforts being Mexican and French), is the best film to come out of its nation’s cinema.  Whereas Cinema Paradiso showed a small boy loving cinema throughout his life, Beehive shows how the cinema enters the subconscious of impressionable, imaginative children, entering the fabric of both their dreams and their nightmares.

            Ana and Isabel (all the characters shared their actors’ first names) are two small girls living in a tiny Spanish farming village in 1940. One day the local travelling cinema advertises what they call their most fantastic film yet, James Whale’s Frankenstein, and the two girls are amongst the audience that first night.  Returning home with the mystery and horror of the film still intoxicating their minds, Ana asks Isabel why the monster killed the little girl and then was killed in turn.  Rather than tell her, Isabel scares Ana by telling her that the monster is alive and well and living in a deserted farmhouse not far from where they lived.  Believing the monster to be alive in spirit, especially after finding a huge footprint outside, Ana makes return visits to the farmhouse after her first trip with Isabel, and it turns out that she’s been feeding and helping a fugitive on the run. (more…)

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