Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Compelling Films

Sometimes I get grounded from choosing the movies we watch.  I have to let other people choose for a while because I get too many heavy dramas that deal with cosmic themes and leave everyone traumatized.  I seem to be especially drawn to war films.  I don't know why that is.

We recently watched two such films, however, that you might want to see.  Though they were gripping stories dealing with difficult themes, they were well-told, compelling films that portray hope and courage.

I Am David is set in the early 1950s and tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, living in a Stalinist camp in Bulgaria, who escapes, with only a small satchel of supplies and the instruction to go to Denmark.  Having lived all his life in the camp, where deprivation and suffering surround him, he navigates a world he does not know and faces challenges he never had to face in the camp.

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is set in China in the early years of World War II.  Gladys Alyward (played by Ingrid Bergman), an English parlormaid, has felt called of God to go to China, and has been turned down by the mission board.  So she books passage on the train and arrives in China to help an elderly missionary woman run an inn for mule team drivers.  The indomitable spirit that got her to China helps this "foreign devil" find acceptance in China and, eventually, provides the fortitude to make it across the mountains with 100 children, fleeing invading Japanese troops.

Gladys Alyward was quite upset about the inaccuracies in the movie, especially the love scene, which she thought soiled her reputation.  But Bergman was so moved by the story that she went to Taiwan in 1970 to meet the missionary.  She arrived just days after Gladys Alyward had passed away.  Bergman fell down beside her bed and wept, and a missionary co-worker of Alyward shared the Gospel message with Bergman, leading her to place her faith in Christ.  You can read the story in two parts here and here.

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