Sunday, June 12, 2011

Job movies

Two years ago, there was a Job-inspired movie called "A Serious Man." I'm not sure why I didn't blog about it - I watched it several times, including with my class; it was a more serious engagement with the difficulties of the Job material than you might have expected from the Coen brothers. While a comedy of sorts, it thematizes the temptation to seek a message in misfortune, especially in relation to a God who's supposed to protect good people from evil. Now there's a new Job-inspired movie in town, Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." I don't want to spoil it for you - you really should see it - but the film's epigraph spells it right out for you, starting with Job 38: 4, 7: Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth ... when the morning stars sang together? And then, in one of the first of (too) many voiceovers, this thesis statement: There are two ways through life: the way of nature, and the way of grace. You have to choose which one to follow. The universe is vast, but human joys and sorrows, one as surd as the other, have their place in it. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, an older woman glosses Job 1:21, that's the way he is. Like the Job author Malick uses bombast-risking visual poetry to make his case, though there's also a divine feminine at work here the Job author would not recognize. Does it work? Let me know what you think. (Pics here)

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