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Archive for February, 2010

Thoughts on the Movie “Once”

Posted by Remy on February 25, 2010

from 2008

The movie “Once”, an unassuming and underplayed musical that does without Hollywood glitz and even Hollywood actors, fits into a new category of romance that avoids the worn, warmed-over dregs of sentimental adultery. Like many of the short segments of “Paris je ‘taime”, “Once” sees the landscape and decides to mine the untapped narrative potential. We’ve been trained to root for two people to “hook-up” for no other reason than the camera lingers on the two of them the longest, we’ve been taught that adultery can be beautiful and is beautiful if the husband is a jerk or the wife is a shrew, but John Carney, the writer and director, avoids cliche and ultimately foils this bland desire and challenges the viewer to see the wisdom in avoiding throw-away sex.


We all know that it is natural to break into song when working and that music reveals emotions better than words, but for some reason when we watch musicals we find that they are too fantastic for us. Yet I think the thing that draws people to musicals is that there is something hyper-realistic about breaking into song. Part of the problem is that breaking seamlessly into song is somewhat comedic and therefore even the dramatic parts are undercut by the comedy of it. “Once” solves this by weaving the songs into the story rather than dropping them into its lap.

Singing is glorified speech and by consequence, a more intimate form of communicating. Typically we think that the higher on the formal ladder we go the more distance, the more separation between the parties there is -and in some sense that’s true. But there is also greater weight added to the situation. Nobody wants to be married in the common tongue (You love her? Yup. You love him? Yup. Then a’guess yer married, go on n’kiss her).

The striking thing about “Once” is that while it is certainly a love story it is not a love story between the two main characters. They both have fractured relationships, they gather and sing, and at the end are renewed with their absent lover. They get the strength and confidence to do this by worship, if I may categorize it so, and worship that takes much sacrifice and practicing. Once the music is perfected they find their loves and romance them with song.

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John Wesley on Fasting

Posted by Remy on February 17, 2010

“Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason, and others have utterly disregarded it.”

-John Wesley

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Tolkien on the Eucharist

Posted by Remy on February 16, 2010

“The only cure for sagging of fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals. Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which [our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.)”

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Introspection : CS Lewis

Posted by Remy on February 2, 2010

The attempt to discover by introspective analysis our own spiritual condition is to me a horrible thing which reveals, at best, not the secrets of God’s spirit and ours, but their transpositions in intellect, emotion, and imagination, and which at worst may be the quickest road to presumption or despair.

-CS Lewis

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