A Note From Our Editor: Christian Film In The French Cinemas! -- By: John Warwick Montgomery

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 09:1 (Jun 2011)
Article: A Note From Our Editor: Christian Film In The French Cinemas!
Author: John Warwick Montgomery

A Note From Our Editor: Christian Film In The French Cinemas!

John Warwick Montgomery

We have all experienced the frustration of a secular Hollywood. Films of wonderful technical quality, with superb actors, and devoid of anything resembling a Christian worldview. We have also suffered the embarrassment of viewing evangelical attempts to produce great films—which have ended up, quite rightly, in church halls since their sophistication only rarely exceeds Sunday School standards. And then there have been the painfully ambivalent efforts of angry young Christians (Franky Schaeffer and his ilk), whose efforts at cinematography have been almost too painful to watch.

Well, in France (to most American evangelicals, the country of sex and rank paganism), a film has just reached the theatres—the public theatres, not a church network—that is one of most powerful pieces of Christian evangelism I have ever been privileged to witness. And the critics have been, on the whole, very enthusiastic. For example, the Figaro’s film critic did a review (9 February 2011) titled, Dieu s’invite chez les bobos (God invites himself among the hurting—“bobos” being children’s slang for something that hurts). Pariscope spoke of the film as “subtle, strong and sensitive, opening new windows on religion—a magnificent film to see these days when religions often demonstrate nothing but intolerance.”

The film is entitled Qui a envie d’être aimé? (Who wants to be loved?). The producer-director, Anne Giafferi, brings to the screen her husband’s—Thierry Bizot’s—short semi-autobiographical novel of his conversion. The book is entitled, Catholique anonyme (Anonymous Catholic), but the theme of the book and the film is hardly Roman Catholicism.[1] Indeed, in France “when we talk of religion,” says Bizot, “it’s about the Pope and contraceptives—never about God.” But the film and book do exactly that.

The plot could not be simpler. The hero, a middle-aged, successful criminal lawyer in Paris, goes more-or-less out of curiosity to a catechetical class in a local church. The class is organised not in a pedagogical style but somewhat like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting: each person tells why he’s there and where he is spiritually. Our lawyer says simply that he’s an atheist and is curious. Among the other attendees is a woman desperate to criticise the church and looking for a spiritual “experience”—and a gentleman who thinks that his knowledge of the Bible and of theology easily surpasses that of the rather passive priest conducting the sessions.

Outside the class, the lawyer has real problems relating to his teenage son; father is seen flying off the handle when the son cuts class to attend a movie. The lawyer’s own father has let propert...

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