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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

We finally watched "Slumdog Millionaire" last night. I'm not sure why we are only now getting around to watching this Oscar-winning movie that made such a ripple through our culture about six months ago, except that we rarely go to the theater anymore and our DVD home viewing is split between family viewing and "grown-up movies."

It is not for nothing that this movie won so many awards.

The movie touches deeply on the human experience. We saw in Jamal's slum the despair of poverty and in his brother Salim's later riches the emptiness of wealth.

We saw in Jamal the glorious and relentless pursuit of a lover for his love.

We saw, as Jamal struggled to live a life of integrity, that "they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them," (Romans 2:15).

We saw that even as Salim lived out the "works of the flesh...: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry...enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these" (Galatians 5:19-21) he yearned for forgiveness and sought it on his prayer rug, apparently without satisfaction.

We saw also in Salim's attempt to make right what he had made wrong that humans across all cultures understand the need for redemption.

As we watched the mistreatment of Jamal, Salim, and Latika by religious zealots in holy war, by unjust extreme poverty, and by the thugs that used them, we saw that indeed "judicial sentiment" points to the existence of God. I ran across the idea of "judicial sentiment in our hearts that holds others guilty" for wrongdoing as a proof of God's existence in Desiring God (Piper, p. 60, see the footnote). Piper attributes the idea to Edward John Carnell and quotes from his book Christian Commitment (1957):
Wheras conscience accuses the self the judicial sentiment accuses others. The direction of accusation is the important thing. Conscience monitors ones own moral conduct, while the judicial sentiment monitors the moral conduct of others...An aroused judicial sentiment is merely heaven's warning that the image of God is being outraged. Cultural conditioning may alter the direction of the judicial sentiment, but it does not alter the faculty itself...The voice of judicial sentiment is the voice of God.
Finally, my favorite observation about the movie is the one that prompted me to watch it in the first place. It comes from the blog Paradoxuganda, in a post called "All Things New":
Watched Slum Dog Millionaire (again) this weekend, and this time noticed an unusual scene. At the very end, when Jamal kisses Latika's scar, suddenly there is a rewind-like camera shot of the scene in which she receives the knife cut to her face. We go backwards from the struggle to a moment of expectation and happiness, when the two lovers look at each other unwounded, with joy.

A striking visual of Revelation 21. Tears wiped, death becomes life, the act of love reverses the ravages of hate.
I'm probably the only one around that hadn't seen "Slumdog Millionaire," but in case you haven't yet, "put it on your queue."

Thanks to Chris for linking to Paradoxuganda sometime back. I've been a reader ever since. You really should check out this blog, written by medical missionaries in Uganda a "pair o' docs."

5 comments:

Laura said...

Excellent review... you caught so much in the movie and are able to analyze in such a beautiful manner. Interesting that the movie speaks to us all in different ways; for me, it was all about opening eyes to children. Not so for all. It is how our God works, though, is it not?

Thanks for the link to Paradoxuganda. I'm excited to get to know that family, too!

I always know that you will bring the intellectual food over here at your blog. Thanks for that!

Mrs. Edwards said...

Perhaps because I already knew of the reality of slums such as the one in Mumbai it didn't hit me so much that way? Hopefully it isn't a sign of a hard heart.

Since writing this post someone mentioned to me that the children that acted in Slumdog were actually slum children and were essentially returned to the slum by the crew. A public outcry pressured the producers to do more for them, later, however. I haven't verified that, but it doesn't surprise me.

If I manage to bring any intellectual food it has to be the Spirit of God, for which I praise Him!

Thanks, Laura.

Sharon said...

We haven't yet seen this, either. We saw "Gran Torino" instead, the one night in those months we could organise a babysitter. The characters have a similar situation to deal with to that in "Slumdog Millionaire": the plight of people whose lives are constrained by their socioeconomic circumstances.

Interestingly, "Gran Torino" doesn't stop with the problem, but offers a solution. The Christian overtones are overt - but not overwrought -particularly in the positioning of actors in the post-climactic scene. (I don't want to give the ending away, if you haven't seen the movie.) I highly recommend it - "Gran Torino" is far more intriguing than the standard gangsta film.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

Thanks to my parents, Mr. Edwards and I have had a weekly date night this summer. We've beat a steady path to take-out restaurants (to save money on drinks) and rented movies, enjoying the whole house to ourselves since the kids sleep over at my parents' house.

Last night we selected "Gran Torino." I have to say that the wit and unexpected funniness distracted me from the relentless profanity and slurs (I heard insults I never knew before!). The clash of cultures and generations seemed more real than caricature, which was refreshing.

I found it very sad to realize that the "western civ" family offspring was so disrespectful to elders...And the whole gang tangle is so depressing, and pretty real I think.

Yes, the redemptive actions of Walt seemed to be the only workable solution--amazing to see Thao as the chosen son, the adopted son, grafted in, the one that was "bought with a price." And the one that loved because he was loved.

Thanks for the tip.

Sharon said...

You are welcome.

I think with the swearing thing, I tend to be very offended by it initially, then work to block it out of my mind. Then when I think back to the story, I don't remember the swearing because I have tried so hard not to take it in; but I remembered the story, because that was what impressed me. I will have to remember this tendency of mine when I am recommending things in future, because I know profanity is not appreciated by many.

~ Sharon

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