Monday, April 13, 2009

O Death, Where Is Thy Sting? He is Risen!

Spent a memorable Easter attending Mass and later in the company of our two sons. The Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton is a fine, old Gothic Style church with
beautiful stained glass windows and hand decorated wooden beams on its ceiling.

"I am the Bread of Life; he who eats this bread will never die. I am God's love revealed, I am broken the you might be healed."
"Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed."
It was a beautiful mass. What Easter should be. Not bunnies or colored eggs. Tears rolled on my cheeks. Joy swelled. Gratitude. "It was not a resuscitation, but a resurrection" the priest was quoted as stressing in the local paper.

We came home, my wife cooked a ham, scalloped potatoes, and cornbread and I watched a chorale interpret the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus on PBS. Later we went to my younger son's home, where we were joined by my oldest son, and we ate and enjoyed one another's company until early evening.

At the same time, my son's female cat gave birth to six kittens on the deck of his backyard.

To end a fine day, my wife and I lay in bed and watched "Slumdog Millionaire", a brilliant film which my youngest son's girlfriend insisted we watch. No wonder it took eight Academy Awards this year (2009)! It is a British film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, based on a novel by Indian author Vikas Swarup, a coming of age story of Jamal Malik, who grows up in a Mumbai slum to become a contestant on India's version of "Who Wants To Become a Millionaire?" And his relentless quest to find and unite himself with Latika, the childhood love of his life.

The acting, and editing (especially the flashbacks to his life of suffering after he is asked and answers each question and to the police station where he is brutally beaten after being accused of cheating on the show), all explain how it is he knows each answer, and are absolutely stunning and spell-binding. It is what film making is all about, story telling at its best! He manages to win the grand prize of 20 million rupees, but how did he do it? (A) He cheated, (B) He is lucky, (C) He is a genius, or (D) It is written? An inconspicuous title at the bottom left of the screen announces, "It is written", as the film ends.

As I watched, I could not help but recall Bengali, Satyjit Ray's classic "Apu Trilogy" of films made between 1955-59, also about the coming of age of a young Apu. The three films, "Pather Panchali" (Song of the Little Road), "Aparajito" (The Unvanquished), and "Arpur Sansar" (The World of Apu") have won numerous national and international awards, including some from the Cannes, Berlin and the Venice Film Festivals. The original score is written and performed by none other than Ravi Shankar... wow (first time I ever heard him!).

In all, the themes of each of this sacred day's events seemed to be all about resurrection, even the six unsightly kittens born in the backyard.

If you liked "Slumdog" check out the Apu trilogy. If you haven't watched these films, do so. You won't regret it, I promise. Have I ever steered you wrong?

So it is written.


#167 Dad said...

Happy belated Easter. I really dug Slumdog too. Where would I find the Apu trilogy?

Rick Rivers said...

Just type in the phrase on Yahoo or google "The Apu Trilogy", or "The World of Apu". The trilogy is even available on a single disc/video.

patricia said...

Glad you liked Slumdog Millionaire. Someday I will watch the Apu trilogy. when I have more "free time" I'm actually supposed to be doing homework right now.