Robin Hood: The Sword and Magna Carta

In “Robin Hood,” Ridley Scott’s and Russell Crowe epic foray into the time of the crusades, NCR media critic Sr. Rose Pacatte finds an examination of the meaning of our myths, our heroes, and our stories. This is important, she writes, “so we will never give up our passion for life and justice for all.”

Click here for Sr. Rose’s review of Robin Hood

Ever wonder what’s in Hot Pockets? What is imitation mozzarella anyway?

You can buy the poster from boingboing website.

This can teach us how to read ingredients on packaging. Did you know that enzymes can mean monosodium glutamate (MSG)? (And that spices can mean enzymes and therefore MSG?)

Look how many kinds of sugar there are in this product: sugar, corn syrup solids, modified food starch (OK, corn but sugar just the same).

See how many salts are in here….

Then, oh joy! reduced lactose and reduced iron! How healthy can you get? I mean “reduced”!

And what is in “imitation mozzarella”?

An interesting media literacy lesson would be to find out what each of these ingredients are.

Martyred monks film nabs second prize & Ecumenical Prize at Cannes festival “Of Gods and Men” Des hommes et des Dieux

At the Cannes Film Festival, the 2010 Ecumenical Jury awards its Prize to:

Of Gods & Men

by Xavier Beauvois (France, 2010)

This movie of great artistic value benefits from a remarkable group of actors and follows the daily rhythm of work and liturgy. It depicts the sacrifice of the monks of Tibhirine

(Algeria 1996) choosing to maintain their peaceful presence despite surrounding violence. The deep humanity of the monks, their respect for Islam and their generosity towards their village neighbors make the reason for our choice.


And two Commendations to

Another Year by Mike Leigh (England, 2010)

Along the rhythm of the seasons, friendship and tenderness bring together ordinary people dealing with the joys and pains of everyday life. Clear directing and great acting combine to express authentic relations. It’s up to everyone to be responsible of his own life.

Poetry by Lee Chang-Dong (South Korea, 2010)

Through the charm of poetry, Mija, a decent grandmother weakened by disease and culpability, opens up to a contemplative perception of the world.

The 2010 Jury:

Michèle DEBIDOUR , President, France ; Jos HOREMANS, Belgium

Sanne E. GRUNNET, Denmark ;  Tomas STRAKA, Slovakia

Julia HELMKE,Germany ;  Jacques VERCUEIL, France

Martyred monks film nabs second prize at Cannes festival :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Here is the story of the seven martyred Trappist monks of Atlas

The actual monks; photo from the Trappist website

Think “social media” is a fad? Think again

Why Flannery O’Connor Matters Today

On the season finale last year of ABC’s hit drama “Lost,” alert viewers would have noticed that the mysterious character, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), was reading the book Everything That Rises Must Converge. The tome is a collection of short stories by the American Catholic novelist, Flannery O’Connor who was born in Savannah, Ga. March 25, 1925 and died from lupus in Milledgeville, Ga., outside of Atlanta in 1964.

The book’s title story is about an arrogant young man, Julian, whose bigoted mother cajoles him into accompanying her downtown to her weight loss class because it is evening and she doesn’t want to go alone in the newly integrated South. Things become tense when an African-American mother and son get on the bus, the mother wearing the exact same outlandish purple hat as Julian’s mother. Julian tries to teach his mother a lesson that the world is different now and she must change. His meanness results in tragedy and he races for help for his mother who collapses. O’Connor ends the tale with, “The tide of darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt and sorrow.”

The book’s title is a quote from “Omega Point” by the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who was one of O’Connor’s great influences. For Chardin, the transcendent “omega point” is where the complexity and consciousness of the universe is heading and from whence it originated. O’Connor’s short story applies Chardin’s idea to changing racial realities and attitudes in the American south by the convergence — or collision — of two mother and son pairs, one white and one black. In “Lost,” the appearance of Jacob, the ever-young and seemingly all-knowing authority figure, wakes an unconscious man, and is a signal that things are beginning to converge for the characters; their redemption is at hand, we hope.

Convergence is just one of O’Connor’s favorite themes; in fact it could be argued that the image of literary unity it conjures up could characterize her entire body of work. All her stories are constructed on the idea of sin, grace, and redemption. The sacramental emerges through unexpected encounters, misfits and misplaced persons, journeys, body-parts, the grotesque, dark humor, and violence that are among her mysterious tropes, motifs and symbols.

But who was Flannery O’Connor, does she still matter, and why is Hollywood interested?

Click here for the rest of the NCR article and my interview with screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald Teaching a chicken to walk backwards Why Flannery O’Connor matters today

Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, restored, expanded version released

Restored, expanded version of film classic ‘Metropolis’ rereleased

NEW YORK (CNS) — More than eight decades after its premiere, “Metropolis” — the German silent film that set the standard for science fiction on the silver screen — has returned to theaters (and, come November, will be available on DVD) following an extensive restoration. This new version, including lost scenes and the original score by Gottfried Huppertz, approximates the original vision of its legendary director and co-writer Fritz Lang (1890-1976), showing off a unique visual style extraordinary in its detail and scope. (Lang’s scripting partner was his then-wife Thea von Harbou.) Such a renewal of this masterpiece once seemed an impossible cinematic dream. Shortly after “Metropolis” premiered in Berlin in 1927, the 153-minute film was deemed too long for commercial release and cut significantly. This actually hindered the film’s popularity over the years, as the rhythm was disrupted and the story line confused. It was thought that the lost footage was gone forever until 2008, when a near-complete print of the original was found in a museum in Argentina. All but five minutes of the film has now been restored, allowing holes in the plot to be filled, adding flesh to a number of characters, and enabling the complete score to be played.

(Check Amazon for this new version; as of today, May 21, 2010, it is not yet listed.)

Here is the trailer from the 2010 release:

Introduction to Media Literacy & Church and Communication Online Courses Registration deadline May 26

If you’ve ever been frustrated at how to engage in our media culture in meaningful ways, consider taking one of these terrific online courses offered by the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.

Click here for the course description for Introduction to Media Literacy

Click here for the course description for Church and Communication

I am the course facilitator for the intro to media literacy course; another fine catechist will facilitate Church and Communication.

If your diocese is a VLCFF Partner (click here to check) the cost for each five week course is only $40.00 (otherwise $75.00).

In terms of time, there are five week-long sessions for each course. On average you would want to reserve one hour a day to complete the work that requires some reading, interactive exchanges, and responses to the reading and each week’s material in semi-essay form. The fruit of your dedication will be renewed energy in your faith life and ministry. And it’s not only what you will learn; your contribution will enliven the interaction and your experience will enrich us all.

The deadline for registration is May 26th. Don’t miss this opportunity! Five weeks goes by so swiftly.

Feel free to contact me here if you have any questions or go directly to the  VLCFF website.