The radiance of morality returns in the Cineclubs

One of the flashes of current culture focuses again on the Cineclubs, which are becoming fashionable again, with the screening of historical films, followed by exciting discussions. In the 1960s, in the last 20th century, many parishes organized their parish Film Club, as an instrument of the new pastoral care brought to us by Vatican II, accentuating closeness, dialogue and the participation of the simplest people in the construction of a better world. Cinema also entered the general scheme of the Social Media, when the power of said Media began to shine brightly: «The radio gives the news, television shows it, the newspaper analyzes it and the cinema converts it into messages. through films with masterfully crafted scripts to influence free consciences. Now, once again, the Cineclub is becoming fashionable. A few days ago, Juan José Primo Jurado, historian and writer, presented the film “Fort Apache” (1948) at the Cineclub Vida in Seville, the first of the trilogy that the North American filmmaker John Ford dedicated to Cavalry in the genre. of the western. «And the thing is that the Cineclubs have not died, moreover, they are appearing with enthusiasm so that we pay attention, as happened in the film that I presented, in the anonymous characters who build History with their hopes and concerns, their jobs, their parties and their daily lives, never easy, living with their families in isolated forts on hostile borders, whose family and military environment, at the same time, Ford recreated like no one else. Welcome, not only Cineclub Vida, with a brilliant career, but also the new ones that are organized in this time of so many diverse “cultures”, among which cinema continues to be a “luminous chair that concentrates our best attention.” The classification of films is endless, but when it comes to our personal choice, the most important, without a doubt, are those that offer us “pulsating messages, in exciting stories.” There are many films that tell us in their plot “solutions to personal conflicts and dramas”, what “we should not do” or what “we can learn from those situations experienced by their characters.” It comes to mind, one of those films that constitutes a “moral lesson”, because of what they say and how their protagonists act: “The Bridges of Madison.” In short, it offers us the intense “falling in love” of Robert Kincaid, photographer-reporter, with a woman, Francesca, after meeting a little by “chance”, while they spend a few days together, taking advantage of the absence of Francesca’s husband and children. . History includes in its development, not only a wellspring of feelings, but an entire “argumentary” of reasoning, in intense discussions, until reaching the final solution. Given the situation they are experiencing, the classic question arises: “And now, what are we going to do?” Robert says to Francesca. She was silent, a torn silence. She then said softly, “I don’t know.” «Look, Robert tells him, if you want I will stay here or in the city or wherever. When your family gets home, I’ll just talk to your husband and explain what’s going on. “It won’t be easy, but I will do it.” The film enters several bars of tension. Both Robert and Francesca present their “points of view” regarding the problem that has suddenly arisen and which they are trying to solve. When her dialogue reaches its climax, Francesca draws from the heart of her wife and mother a key argument, which, certainly, gives a moral lesson to the audience. With the greatest seriousness, Francesca contemplates these new landscapes that are offered to her, a world of promises and colors. But, she pronounces one of those words that are key in our lives: “Responsibility.” The protagonist woman addresses Robert, showing the main reason for his resignation: «I have feelings of responsibility here. Towards Richard, my husband, to my children. The mere fact that I was gone, that my physical presence was missing, would be extremely hard for them, and perhaps it could destroy my husband. On top of that, and perhaps it would be the worst, they would have to live the rest of their lives with the gossip of the people here. As much as I want you, I cannot tear myself away from the reality of my responsibilities.

On the eve of Lent, when next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we receive it on our foreheads, listening to the demanding words, –“Convert and believe in the gospel”–, the love story of a film can serve as a “gateway” to our personal reflections. The protagonist of “Bridges of Madison”, in one of her most intense “cinema crushes”, proclaims her personal and family responsibility, at the moment that “another love” claims her for itself. The other protagonist will tell her one of the harshest lines in her dialogue: “I only have one thing to say, just one thing. I will not say it to anyone again, and I ask you to remember it: In a universe of ambiguities, this certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lives one has to live. For love and responsibility, the verses of our poet Pablo García Baena, as a Lenten portico: «Once again your ashes, Lord, on my forehead… / I am dust that one day will return to your plants. / Dust in death and dust now that I am still alive / lost among the soft clay of your universe.

* Priest and journalist

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