Art, Music, & Film: December 2003 Archives

On Return of the King


I have read much around St. Blog's on this film and I suppose I do no service writing yet more, and yet I feel impelled.

I don't know what to make of those who say that the film is not a good film or less than art. To my mind, art is that which best invokes and reminds one of the Divine. In some cases that art may not be timeless, but relentlessly grounded in its time--inaccessible to all outside of that time. But for the moment I will put away that discussion.

Let us review the film on a more personal basis. The Holy Spirit spoke to me through the film and stirred to life again some barely smoldering fire that is stirred too rarely. The film, despite some minor flaws, hit me powerfully with the hammer of myth, reminding me for a moment of what it means to be human. I know this is not a helpful review because it is so personal. And yet, I feel that I must say it as so many may have been disturbed by the negative currents prevalent in blogland.

The bottom line--the film made me think of God, thank God, and praise God. Who cares whether that was Jackson's intention or not. There are times when the artist's intention is entirely secondary to the actual effect. There was beauty, nobility, and passion in the film and for me the experience was transcendent. I think this especially remarkable as I did not expect so much after the second film. (I enjoyed the second film somewhat, but I was not transfixed by it.)

So, my word--depending on who you are and how you receive these things, this can be a magnificent, wonderful, stirring, and perhaps even life-changing film. I thank God for such a beautiful Christmas gift this year.

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St. Linus Review


I have been asked by one of the people associated with the St. Linus Review to announce the existence of this publication. As a poet myself and one who wishes to foster the arts, I duly make this announcement, fully realizing that a great many are already aware of it. I am also aware of the "controversy" swirling around its publication guidelines and understand the reasons behind it. But I also point out that there was a great deal of controversy (of an admittedly very different type) swirling around Mel Gibson's The Passion. I'm not comparing the two artworks, but only pointing out that until the work is produced we cannot know what effect guidelines may or may not have. It is probably good to encourage a young publication and help to foster its growth, contributing either funds or written works to see if it is viable. So, take a look at the guidelines--if you are so inclined, subscribe or submit work, and for the time being, praise God that a new thing is being raised up in the Catholic Arts. Pray that it might contribute mightily to a resurgence of literature of faith, so that once again we might have a strong voice in an arena that we have all but been forced out of.

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I had Erik especially in mind during the week I was in Washington. Events conspired to keep bringing him forward. First, I found a lovely set of typology from Jonathan Edwards, and a few new poems by Edward Taylor--I immediately thought of Erik's fondness for our Puritan forebeings.

Then I went to the West wing of the National Gallery of Art. There they had just opened a sculpture wing featuring some of Degas' sculptures and some studies for larger pieces by Rodin. I love Rodin's method of seizing solidity from the numinous--figures emerge from and sink back into the medium with eerie and wonderful effects. I thought of Erik.

I trotted over to the east wing where there was a fairly large gallery of "Modern Art," including some burgundy, brown, black and white canvases by Rothko. I remember Erik speaking highly of him and really tried to get something out of it, and perhaps succeeded. In addition, even if not there were a few pieces by Constatin Brancusi (whom I love), and Alexander Calder (both mobiles and stabiles--wonderful intricate, moving pieces.) Then there was a series of paintings by a person who I have first heard of from Erik, although I had seen these before. Barnett something, or something akin to that name. It was a series of 14 stations of the Cross so bereft of anything moving, interesting, worthwhile, or exciting that the last time I recall being so repulsed by a work of "religion and devotional art" I was walking through the new chapel of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, trying to puzzle out what those little squiggles on the floor meant. Anyway, I didn't get a lot out of looking at these largely white canvases--Modrians without the sense of design.

Finally I saw a magnificent painting/sculpture/installation called Zim Zum--the artist was German, and of course I thought of Erik for the mere coincidence of the thing and wondered for a moment what Erik would have made of it.

I crammed all this in between subway stops as I was on my way uptown to see one of St. Blogs' own.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from December 2003.

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