Catholic Comedy Night (The Laugh Factory in LA) July 11, 2012

Along the Way & The Golden Voice book reviews – on time for Fathers Day

By Sr. Rose Pacatte

A Golden Voice: How Faith, Hard Work, and Humility Brought Me from the Streets to Salvation
By Ted Williams (with Brett Witter)
Penguin, New York
$26 hard cover

Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and a Son
By Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez (with Hope Edelman)
Free Press, New York
$27 hard cover

Two books were released in May about what it means to be a man: a father, a son and a grandfather, too. Both are apologias more than memoirs and both have a strong faith dimension and links to Catholicism and Ohio — and addiction. The men in both books became fathers at a very young age. Their stories are extremely honest and reveal details that will surprise and inspire you, and some that may shock you as well. Both books have dual voices and are easy, swift reads that ask us to admit our humanity. They invite us to walk with these fellow travelers to discover humility and the action of grace in people’s lives that will astonish you

I read Ted William’s story first, the “theater of the mind” man with a voice born for radio. Ted was born in New York in 1957 and adopted by a woman, Julia, who always wanted a child, and her husband, Al, who worked his entire career in the same job for an airline at JFK International Airport. His parents were steady, but Ted was a “pleaser” who wanted to be liked and accepted. He was raised Protestant but began going to the Jehovah Witness Kingdom hall in his teens. He went to Catholic school in Brooklyn for a while, too. From the age of 14, he wanted to become a radio announcer. He and his father never saw eye to eye.

 Continue reading at the National Catholic Reporter  

We Have a Pope – REEL TALK with Stephen Farber special screening and panel April 2 Landmark, Westwood (Los Angeles)


Monday, April 2 at 7pm: WE HAVE A POPE. This wry comic drama from Italian director Nanni Moretti takes us inside the Vatican as the College of Cardinals struggle to elect a new Pope. Unfortunately, the man selected for the post—played by veteran French actor Michel Piccoli—is not at all certain that he wants the job. Guest speakers: Aine O’Healy, professor of Italian and director of the Humanities Program at Loyola Marymount University; Maria Elena de las Carreras, professor of film at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, and the New York Film Academy; Sister Rose Pacatte, Pauline Center for Media Studies; and Scott Young, executive director, University Religious Conference at UCLA.

http://www.landmarktheatres.com/ReelTalk/ReelTalk_Spring2012.htm

War Horse review

Among the many themes that emerge or converge in the films of director, producer, writer Steven Spielberg are lonely children and war, specifically World War II. From the kids in “E.T”: the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) to the Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List” (1993),  a black and white film but viewers may remember the little Jewish girl in a red coat, waiting for transport to the Nazi death camps. And from “The Color Purple” (1985) for which he deserved an Oscar, to one of my personal favorite’s, this year’s “Super 8”, Spielberg captures lonely children, or children estranged from, or in tension with, their fathers, as none other.

Saving Private Ryan” (1998), and the TV miniseries “Band of Brothers” (2001) and “Pacific” (2010) and back to cinema with “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006), Spielberg draws the heartbreak of war with the pen of cinematic art as few others, perhaps none other. But I think with “War Horse”, opening in theaters on Christmas Day, is Spielberg’s take on the Academy Award winning 2009 film “The Hurtlocker”, his chance to show how war shreds humanity through the desperate courage and pain of a war horse.

“War Horse” is based on based on a 1982 children’s novel by Michael Marpurgo and has been made into a stage play in 2007 that friends have told me is extremely moving. It is estimated that millions of horses died in World War I from all the armies involved.

A few months before England declared war on Germany in 1914, a horse is born in Devon. Albert Narracott (Jeremy Divine), the only son and of  tenant farmers Ted (Peter Mullan) and Rose (Emily Watson). Ted goes to market to buy a workhorse, presumably a Clydesdale, but is enthralled with the strength and beauty of Joey. He spends money he does not have and takes the horse home, to the derision and disapproval of all except Albert.

Joey proves his worth by plowing an impossibly rocky field but the crop is lost in a rainstorm. When war is declared, soldiers come to the village to buy horses, and an officer promises Albert he will bring Joey home safe if he can.

Joey heads into war with the British soldiers, is lost to the Germans, taken in by a French farmer and his granddaughter but eventually ends up working the German transport lines with Topthorn, a black stallion also captured from the British army.

As the longest, most deadly war in history nears the end, Joey escapes from his cruel masters (though some wranglers were good to the horses) and in a heartbreaking sequence, wrapped in barbed wire, cut and bleeding, makes a run for it through no-mans-land. This is the films’ finest, most poignant, terrifying scene, that culminates with Germans and British units recognizing the transcendent strength of this noble steed, and changing them all, just for a moment.

There are elements of the film that won’t pass muster to the careful viewer. The crop that gets ruined is on a slope; my sister, who has a large garden, said the rain would have run off, not drowned the vegetables.  The crookedly plowed field turns into the perfectly furrowed plot from one scene to another. Albert, who eventually is old enough to go to war, is blinded by gas and then all of a sudden he can see but the audience does not get to see that moment. I wanted to see this because the characters were not well developed; the one with the most interesting potential was Rose, played by Emily Watson.

The film has been nominated for many awards for cinematography, that magical craft of bringing light and camera together, by Janusz Kaminski. Kaminski has worked on many Spielberg movies, winning Oscars for “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”.  But I found the digital color “filming” to be over saturated making the characters seem almost as if they were motion-capture animation. Some of the staging of the scenes seemed to have been lifted right out of “Gone with the Wind” and “The Searchers”.

I think the dissonance I am feeling about the film is the extravagant production quality in 3D vis-à-vis a story that was more simple (as in less complex) than the huge production called for.

In the end, “War Horse” is about war and it is about the ways that animals can teach us to be more human. It’s too long, but it is inspiring. The horses, several were used for both Joey and Topthorn, will astonish you.

Everything in the film is true, and some of it did happen.

 

New movie review site at RCL Benziger for Catechesis & Religious Education

 

Click here to access site http://sisterrosemovies.com

CIMA Awards: Board of Directors Award – Sr. Rose’s remarks

I am so very grateful for this award. I was at the movies when Jane Abbott, the president of CIMA called me, twice, and I let it go to message because, well, I was at the movies, and when one is at the movies, one should be there. I called her back from Barnes and Noble’s after. Jane told me about the Board of Directors Award and I was very moved to be considered – and momentarily rendered speechless.  You really managed to surprise me.

Before I thank several people who brought me to this day, I would like to tell you that when we have Mass in our chapel in Culver City, at the prayer of the faithful I almost always pray out loud for all those who work in the entertainment and information communications media industries, that they may promote the dignity of the human person in all the stories they tell.

By honoring human dignity all of us can contribute to making the world a better place because stories touch the heart. I believe that film and television can reveal God who makes us understand and accept our humanity and the community, the connectedness, of humankind through the grace of art that transcends the darkness. The light from the screen, any media screen, lets us see the faces of our brothers and sisters and connect to them and respond as authentic human beings and disciples. In one another, we find God.

I would like to thank my sister Emilie and brother-in-law Paul for being here, happy birthday to both of you! Who represent my very large family. I would like to thank my religious community of the Daughters of St. Paul of the last 43 years, keeping it real, who keep me real, my provincial Sr Margaret Sato is here from Boston.

I want to acknowledge two nuns who are present here who have been generous mentors to me over the last 20 years, Sr Elizabeth Thoman who introduced me to media literacy education and Sr Gretchen Hailer who wrote about it with me (and taught me how to begin each writing day with some new forms of computer Solitaire.)

Thank you, to Cardinal Mahony, who offers me and my community the opportunity to serve the people of God in this absolutely “splendid” archdiocese of Los Angeles through not only our book and media center but the Pauline Center for Media Studies – bringing media literacy education to catechesis and mission!

Thank you to Tom Shadyac, my friends, Marjiana of the International Press Academy, and terrific colleagues at CIMA who invited me to join them on this great adventure, the City of Angels Film Festival, Open Call, Catholic Communicators of Southern California, The Tidings…. And everyone in this large circle of friends, present and those present in spirit.

Our Media World book signing Saturday, Jan 30th Paulist Book Store, Costa Mesa, CA 1-4 pm

Please join Sr Gretchen and I, the authors, for this book signing and enjoy the gracious hospitality of the Paulist Book Center in Costa Mesa:

OUR MEDIA WORLD: Educating Kids K-8 about Faith & Media book signing this Saturday, January 30, at the

PAULIST BOOK CENTER

801 Baker Street (just off the 405 after Fountain Valley if going south)

Costa Mesa, CA 92626-4347(714) 545-8021

from 1-4pm.

Sr. Gretchen and I will be on hand to sign copies of our new book!

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