Skip to main content

Summer of Mercy video series - Week 10

Our Summer of Mercy video series concludes this week with the feature film:  Chocolat (2000, 2hrs, 1 min).

About the story:
Vianne Rocher, a “free spirit” and her young daughter find their way to the small French village which is led by a very traditional mayor, the Comte de Reynauld.  In fact, he considers it his duty to make sure the village maintains its traditional values, even preparing the new young pastor’s sermons.  Deep down, however, this seemingly idealic town has a number of problems, and they learn the hard way that you just can’t ignore them in the hopes that they will fix themselves or just go away.

It takes the outsiders, Vianne, and later the Gypsy traveler Roux to reveal these problems, forcing the various townspeople to confront them for what they are.  In the meantime, Reynauld sees things getting out of control, and when tragedy strikes, finds himself unable to turn the situation back to the way it was.  Fear of change drive the characters until they must admit the truth of their situations, eventually realizing that mercy, love, and forgiveness are what they need most of all.

About the film:
Released in 2000, the film sports a number of then rising stars along with some established talent, including Juliette Binoche, Dame Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, and Johnny Depp.  The film was generally well received and garnered quite a lot of attention in awards circles, receiving nominations from the Academy, BAFTA, and Golden Globes.  Ultimately, however, owing a lot to the competition that year, it garnered only a handful of awards.  Still, for a modest $25 million dollar budget, it was a commercial success bringing in some $152 million worldwide.

Shot in a contemporary style, the film used a historical backdrop (France countryside in 1959) to tell a story that is relevant both to then and today.  Though it uses a light touch, it reminds us of the problems that ensue when we seek to follow the letter of the law without giving consideration to the spirit of the law and the context of life that surrounds a given situation.  The film thrives in the gray areas between what we preach and what we practice, and the conflict that ensues when these two elements come into contact with everyday life.  Particularly for a Catholic audience.

Ultimately the film gives us an opportunity to judge what is right, based both on the teachings of our faith and how those teachings need to be applied.  If we are to look at the situations of the film through the lens of mercy, we can see that it’s not so much a more secularization of the township that occurs, but gracious acceptance of failure, the need for forgiveness, and an opportunity to evaluate how to be a true Christian.


Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…