Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coming Soon: The Jeweller's Shop

Concluding our three-part Fall 2011 season, Cinema Catechism is pleased to present The Jeweller's Shop: A Meditation on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Passing on Occasion into a Drama, on Thursday, November 3, 2011, together with catechesis and discussion on the theme of Marriage and Family: Nature and Sacrament.

The movie was adapted from the three-act play by Karol Wojtyla (Blessed Pope John Paul II) and it stars Burt Lancaster, Ben Cross, and Olivia Hussey, who is well-known in Christian film for having beautifully portrayed both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Mother Teresa. The Pope praised the production as "the best possible film based on my play."

Appropriately subtitled a "Meditation," the contemplative style of The Jeweller's Shop explores the mysterious inner landscape of personal hopes and fears, loves and longings, and it challenges us to reflect upon love and the relationship between man and woman in marriage. Concerning the unusual and challenging style of The Jeweller's Shop, Boleslaw Taborsky, who translated the play from Polish into English, explains
"The Jeweler's Shop seems to me a significant link between the future Pope John Paul II's writings on ethics (Love and Responsibility among them) on the one hand, and his poetry on the other. It combines the elements of a treatise with rich poetic imagery and inner dramatic development. It is the work of a man in whom unbending principles are connected with boundless forbearance and understanding for people. Here, too, out of the chaos created by our human loves, hates and weaknesses, he gently points the way in the right direction."
The story focuses on three couples:
(1) Teresa and Andrej are happily planning their wedding when they meet a mysterious jeweler who tells them about the true significance of the rings as symbols of love and everlasting unity. Sadly though, Andrej dies in the war before their son is born.
(2) Anna and Stefan began their life together with high hopes, but they later live together as strangers, the marriage having grown cold and loveless. But when Anna tries to sell her wedding ring and the mystical jeweler places it in the scales, he tells her that her ring by itself has no weight, it is incomplete without the ring of her husband.
(3) Christopher and Monica are their respective children who meet and decide to marry. Monica, seeing her parent's troubled marriage, has doubt, fear, and insecurity. Christopher is hopeful and tries to reassure her, but he too has his concerns -- his father having died before he was born, he knows what a good husband and father should be only through that part of Andrej that lived on in Teresa.

Besides the jeweler, there is another who touches the lives of these couples, Adam, who in the play is a rather mysterious character, like the jeweler, but in the movie is cast as a priest. Adam speaks of the eternity of love and man's need to be filled with love and God.

And that is the ultimate message of the story -- that although life is not always easy, there is hope, a hope that overcomes the hardships and difficulties of life, and that hope is to be found in love. Love too can be a challenge, but genuine love is, by its very nature, transformative and creative, bringing forth new life. "The future depends on love."

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