Small movies

Last year, I was excited about two documentaries: The Singing Revolution and As We Forgive. Both of these movies offer alternative ways to see the world. The Singing Revolution is a revolution unimaginable to most Americans. Most of us cannot imagine freedom without blood. Especially as we’re in the midst of a war, surrounded by “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers, revolution without bloodshed seems, well, crazy. Crazy enough that a small documentary about one has done pretty well in theatres this past year and managed a place on the marquee amongst larger studios blockbusters. You may not have heard of it, but that isn’t because it didn’t come to a theatre near you. Likewise, As We Forgive is an alternative path to justice. The movie tells the path some Rwandans chose after Genocide, after Gacaca courts, after the system had done everything it could. It tells the story of genocideers working to rebuild homes of their victims. The can’t bring back the families they killed, but they can ask forgivess. Sometimes, the victims can even forgive. This stands in stark contrast to most American’s sense of justice, where we can only imagine victim families giving victim impact statements in a court room, never living in a house built by, and next door to, their husband’s murderer. And as a new year starts, I discovered a new documentary project that I can get excited about. God’s Garden is a documentary about the one man’s discovery of genuine African Christianity. Not “white man’s religion”, but a Christianity that came to Africa before Europeans even knew it existed. An Ethiopian priest introduces him to St Moses and it changes his life. I love documentaries like this. They challenge our view of the world and suggest that, yes, there is another way, a way of peace, forgiveness, change, and love. This is a good reminder when the way we so often choose is with violence, retribution, stasis, and resentment.

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