Holy Wars – Day Four FFF 2011

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Agree...Disagree...This Film Doesn't Allow You To Sit On The Fence!

I’m so pleased that Number One Son joins me today to see two very different films…

A fundamentalist Christian sits face to face with a fundamentalist Muslim. That’s the premise of the feature documentary Holy Wars. I’m curious why people have chosen to see this specific film.

“It looked interesting, the contrast between Christianity and Muslim,” says one theatre goer who dragged a husband and two friends to see it. The husband identifies her as Francine Schwartz.  (However, one friend points out that this is not the correct name of the woman who dragged these two now-former friends and soon to be ex-husband to this movie.)

“This is our third movie,” says the Non-Francine Schwartz. She remarks that they have seven more to go including The Narrow Place, some shorts and others she can’t remember. I offer to identify her with a real name, but she brushes me off. I give her the LanceAroundOrlando business card so she can check out the blog. Who knows, maybe she’ll read it and leave a note in the comments telling us who she really is and what she thought of this film!

A Moving Tribute To The Filmmaker's Brother's Last Spoken Words

Prayers for Peace

This animated short tells the story of a man who sees a church with yellow ribbons hanging from its fence. He looks at the ribbons and discovers the names of soldiers killed in Iraq. Soon, he finds his younger brother’s name. He then tells us about his brother. At the end of the film, he plays the last recording of his brother’s voice made shortly before his vehicle’s encounter with the IED that ended his life. The flags at the church were labeled “Prayers For Peace.” A short and very moving film.

Holy Wars

A powerful documentary that spends three years following a Christian fundamentalist and an Islamic fundamentalist to their one on one encounter and how that encounter had a profound impact on each of them. Well filmed and edited, this film can’t help but stir up strong viewpoints.

“Very insightful and interesting to see different perspectives clashing,” says Steven Kosanovich as he exits the theatre.

“Fantastic,” says Kristen Mateer, “because it shows two examples of fundamentalists and it shows one path that sticks to fundamentalism and one path where they divert from it. It makes you question where you are on that line. Are you listening or are you just spouting?”

“It gave me hope for the fundamentalist in our own country,” chimes in Jeff Johnson

Kristen rephrases, “It holds up a mirror to our country’s religious views..”

“Were youre looking into your own religious views?” Jeff asks Kristen. “Because I’m a Buddhist so there’s nothing in that movie for me…”

At this point they dive into a deeper conversation then I could possibly capture on my laptop. Religion, politics, and personal beliefs are bantered back and forth. To me, This is the essence of film festivals–to bring out various viewpoints, hold them up, explore and examine them. It’s both fun and enlightening–even as the topic is deep and dark.

Jeff’s final words cut through my reverie, “One can experience true personal growth,” he says in summary.

Outside the theatre I notice several groups of movie watchers deep in conversation. It’s clear that this film has sparked some intense debate. That’s good. That’s very good.

Number One Son and I enjoy our own introspective discussion as we drive to the Enzian to end our evening with Fellini’s masterpiece–Amarcord. Tomorrow, I’ll share Number One Son’s review of that movie with you.

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