Cinema International to Explore Religion, War, and Humanity in Upcoming Films

Sep 13, 2018

The next two films presented by MSU Cinema International explore themes of religiosity, war and peace, and how humanity falls in line with the two. Dr. David Pizzo and Dr. Christine Lindner visit Sounds Good to discuss the upcoming films and discussions. 

Cinema International presents Soul Searching: Journey of Thomas Merton this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night in the Curris Center Theatre. A Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Merton (1915-1968) was a renowned writer, theologian, and social activist. Merton often wrote about God and what it meant to be a 'good person' in the context of the time in which he lived. 

With grace and candor, award-winning producer Morgan Atkinson captures the diverse aspects of Thomas Merton's personality and life. "Soul Searching not only provides valuable insights into who Merton was and why he wrote as he did, but invites viewers to look deeply inside themselves as well, using Merton's words and the reflections of both scholars and those who knew him personally" (Paul Wilkes, "Merton: A Film Biograhy," PBS, 1985). 

While there will be a discussion following the film after each viewing this weekend, Cinema International and the Religious Studies Program host a discussion with film-maker Morgan C. Atkinson on Friday night. This is an opportunity to hear of Atkinson's ten years studying Merton's life and encounters with some of the 20th century's most influential theologians.

Next week, Cinema International's film presentation will center around the trench warfare of World War I. Joyeux Noel tells the story of the Christmas truce of December 1914 as seen through the eyes of French, Scottish, and German soldiers. Directed and written by Christian Carion, Joyeux explores the universal humanity found in even the bloodiest of wartimes. 

The trench warfare of World War I was the bloodiest carnage seen in recent history. Soldiers were periodically ordered to stand up from their trench and run forward to their inevitable death. No Man's Land, the space between the opposing sides' territory, became scattered with soldiers who stood no viable chance against the hail of gunfire, mazes of barbed wire, and land mines. On Christmas Eve of 1914, a remarkable real event took place in the trenches where the Germans faced the British and the French. There was a spontaneous cease-fire as soldiers on both sides laid down their weapons and peacefully met eachother in No Man's Land to share a precious pause in the carnage with a fleeting brotherhood. Carion's film is a courageous, respectful, and sobering tribute to the flickering of humanitarian spirit ("Time Out"). 

Following the Saturday showing of Joyeux Noel, there will be a WWI discussion panel led by Dr. David Pizzo and other Murray State faculty. 

All screenings of Cinema International films are free and open to the public. For more information on the MSU program, visit their website.