30 Day Film Challenge / Day 28

Today the challenge is. a movie that changed your life

Wow! Are movies actually capable of changing people’s lives? I can see educating, or changing an opinion or perhaps encouraging a lifestyle change. Like the movie, “Supersized” for example. I have certainly been impacted by movies, but changing my life? That’s a big ask of a film.

So, my mind went to documentaries that had an impact on my education or my way of thinking. This took me all the way back to I think 9th grade when we saw the 1956 French documentary film “Night and Fog” filmed 10 years after the liberation of German concentration camps. It still gives me chills to this day.

French film director Alain Resnais only decided to make the film once Jean Cayrol, a survivor of Gusen concentration camp, agreed to do the screenwriting. The film met with several attempts of censorship through hiding of certain facts or by inaccurate translations of the narration of the film.

Seeing this film was horrific. Until this day, I could never have imagined the horrors that humanity is capable of. It also left a forever imprint on my brain allowing for zero tolerance for anyone that would ever attempt to deny the Holocaust. It is an important, although difficult, film to see. It is a stark reminder why we must fight racism.

The film is available on YouTube in its entirety, but I am not putting the clip here. I feel it is a film that needs to be seen, but I also feel one must be prepared for what they will see. Instead, I am posting a short interview with director, Alain Resnais about the film. I do encourage you to watch the film if you have not already seen it. Especially considering the continued actions toward various ethnicities in our highly volatile world today.

I decided to take on this challenge for July after reading about it from SandmanJazz. Check out his blog and his entry for the twenty-eighth day of the challenge. Maybe even join in!


The Three Great Spiritual Questions

Photo courtesy of Felicia Buitenwerf at Unsplash

In the book “Inheritance”, author Dani Shapiro is asked by an acupuncturist if she is familiar with the three great spiritual questions.  As I read through this chapter, it made me wonder if other people had wondered about these questions.

I do not think I ever consciously asked these questions of myself. I suppose in many ways, I have found the answers throughout my life without fully engaging thought about the question itself. Then I wondered if the answers change throughout our lives.

In researching my own family tree, I found a few surprises. I discovered I am not related to a cousin I have known my whole life. That immediately poses questions as to the parental line of one or both of us. I remember feeling a shock to my body to even contemplate that my father is not my father. It unhinges everything in your life. After my brother processed his own DNA, I now know we are full brother and sister, and realized this unknown parentage is further back in my line somewhere. It was a relief. Not that it would change anything about how I felt about my father. What it changes is what you have always known to be the truth.

So back to the questions. Is there a reason to come to this level of understanding? To acknowledge who we are in the universe and why we even exist at all. Do we all have a purpose? I imagine many people in this world live their entire life without once ever considering the question, let alone the answer.

I think these questions become important anytime we are faced with major struggles in our life. I know early on in the pandemic, I often wondered “what if this is it?” Could I be satisfied with the life I have led? In actuality, life is volatile – capable of disappearing in a wisp at any given time. Perhaps the pandemic has made me more appreciative of my life.

So what are the questions? Have you ever considered any or all of them and have you found the answers? Are they questions we all face?

Who am I?

Why am I here?

How shall I live?

My father often talked about prayer, being a devout Christian. He often talked about the way in which prayers are answered and  that the answer to a prayer is sometimes a simple “No”.  I was very moved by this quote from Ms. Shapiro’s book.

“God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers, And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face, A gauntlet with a gift in it.”

As my mother often said to me, “Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.”

More food for thought.