Calling all artists.

I would be very interested to hear what people think of actor Jim Caviezel’s comments on art, recounted here. Go thou and comment.


  1. j. christian says

    Whether it's preparation or rationalization, I don't know, but I recall post-9/11 seeking some moral wisdom in even the flimsiest forms of art/popular entertainment. How would I act in these extreme circumstances? is a question I like to ask.

    I'm not saying anything profound, but then I'm not really one who thinks about the "What is art?" question very often.

  2. Johnny Vino says

    I still haven't seen Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List. World at War does those nightmares justice. I don't especially want to see shrapnel blow a body to bits or people die of malnutrition and toxic gas. I'm prolly weak that way.

    I did see The Passion – because that violence is poured into the Mass. It was still hard to watch, but it made redemptive suffering visceral. Tough to deal with, but the only thing real we can cling to as true anyway. Driftwood in a shipwreck.

    I really, really liked Life is Beautiful. I think the sweet and joyful story it wrapped around the Holocaust was powerful victory of human expression over that satanic death orgy. To me, THAT is true art. Any triumph of beauty over despair is fertilizer for the growth of humanism.

  3. I saw an advance screening in Minneapolis several weeks back. I haven't blogged about it because I don't want to create negative buzz for the production co who is distributing, since I have friends there.

    But I think it's a tough sell.

    Great performance by Shohreh Aghdashloo, although there are some unanswered questions about how her character came to be the maverick she is.

    The stoning is as graphic as the scourging scene in the Passion (Steve McEveety producing on both), but to less purpose here, I think. Watching Jesus suffer is meaningful for a believer. Watching Soraya get bloodied to a pulp is less meaningful as spectacle. Don't see the point in having the camera linger on it.

    No epiphanies really — it has a moral (treating women badly is bad) but no theme (nothing to be argued).

    And I don't know what they want the audience to come away with — except some general sense that the culture depicted needs to be deconstructed / exposed… but it raises all kinds of questions: Are ALL Muslims like this? Are all the abusive men one-dimensional and unsympathetic like the husband in this film? It's a morality play of sorts, I suppose.

  4. Matthew Lickona says

    Thanks for the good thoughts and detail, Clayton!

  5. Shameless plug for Act One…

    For a vigorous discussion of the role of epiphany and heroes in cinema storytelling, how dark is too dark, etc. , visit the podcast site for last October's Act One Story Symposium.

    Panel discussions include Hollywood writers, producers, and the winsome Dr. Peter Kreeft.

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