I am not a huge movie buff so if a movie does inspire me it has to have a message in it that speaks to something I need right then, where I am emotionally-spiritually.
13th Warrior, first off it based on the book: Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton a writer I adore, and secondly how could you not love a movie starring Antonio Banderas; the man could read the phone book on stage, in film, in my living room and I would be enthralled, accent is like caramel. And by the way not bad to look at. What I love about this movie is the message that even through you may not think you are capable you can and will find the strength you need when the time comes.
You could call me a collect of all things spiritual, and being a spiritual director I would not argue with you, so I have two prayers from this movie that I have added to my growing library of prayers:
Norse Prayer for Battle and Burial Rites
Lo there do I see my father. Lo there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers. Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call to me, they bid me take my place among them, in the Halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live…forever.
And the prayer that Ahmed Ibn Fadhlan, Ibn as the Norse know him, says before the big battle:
Merciful Allah, I have squandered my days with plans of many things. This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well. For all we ought to have thought, and have not thought; all we ought to have said, and have not said; all we ought to have done, and have not done; I pray thee God for forgiveness.
Gladiator is my next film. When a Roman general, Russel Crowe/Maximus, is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor’s corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Even though Russel Crowe’s charather, Maximus, has lost everything he does not lose his human dignity and fights for what is true and right. It is not so much a story of revenge as it is one of just anger.
There is a scene in the movie where Russel/Maximus takes out his talisman, the small figurines of his family or are they his gods, and uses them to meditate/pray.
The Mistress of Spices In India, Tilo has the ability of foreseeing the future. When her parents are killed by bandits, she is kidnapped but escapes and is raised by the First Mother in a sort of traditional cult of spices. I love the whole culture of this movie! I love the spirituality of the cult of spice. The growth that Tilo, the Mistress of Spice, goes through is transforming; from a young girl/young woman who is caught in the world she loves but is keeping her from fully exploring all there is to life, to the way she becomes herself fully without losing everything that made her who she was.
I love how this woman, the Mistress, can touch so many lives in positive and profound ways. Using her gift to be of help to others, to give to others, to support others — that is spirituality I can get behind 100%
My penultimate film is a documentary on gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims across the Muslim and Western worlds. I believe all peoples no matter what race, creed, ethnicity, or sexual orientation are all created in the image and likeness of God (If I believe) and that alone gives everyone the right to love whom they feel called to love. The story revolves around a group of gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims who are living in Islamic countries that do not accept them because of their sexual orientation; they face family disowning them to being put to death. These men and women are not wanting to leave the faith they dearly love, a struggle that is not uncommon among many faith-filled/religious persons, but they know if they stay they will have to make that horrible decision. This documentary takes a very balanced attitude toward these men and women and their search for a place/country that will take them.
My last film is one I have yet to see, Social Network. Why add this to the list if I haven’t seen it yet? Because I am a total nerd and love anything that has to do with Social Media, after all I tell everyone I meet, online and off, that I want to be the Oprah of Spiritual Director: Queen of all. I know this film is not some light hearted romp, but a study into the dark side of fame and social media, something I think need to learn more about if I am going to be successful. Something I must guard myself against spiritually if I am to be whom God has called me to be.