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August 12, 1988     The Message
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August 12, 1988

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0 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ill Entertainment August 12, 1988 On the Record By CHAPJJE MARTIN NC News Service Columnist Popular song asks "What is the color of love?' The Color of Love If I had to paint a picture/to show the world how true love can really be/I would use the brightest colors/to create a vision of harmony/It would be a reality/because it's only what is inside of my heart/You would see that I would always love you/Right from the very start. REFRAIN: Tell me What is the color of love What do you see hit warm Is it tender When you think of me? I see the color of love When I'm thinking of you That's a picture l'll be painting of a love forever true. The colors of the rainbow/Turn gray whenever you are so far away/It changes like the seasons/You're the reason it happens that way/But you see/the power of emotion/reflecting what I feel deep inside/Now I would like to take a look/at emotions that you hide. REPEAT REFRAIN And O, if anything may try/to keep us apart/The colors that I see[A shining light to see us through/No matter what the world will do/I'll always love you. REPEAT REFRAIN TWICE Recorded by Billy Ocean Written by Brathwaite, Eastmond, Ocean, Skinner Copyright (c) 1988 Zomba Productions Ltd. Billy Ocean's new release "The Color of Love" reminds me of last year's big hit by Cyndi Lauper, "True Colors." Both songs are ballads that describe the difference love makes in our lives. Ocean asks'us: "What is the color of love? What do you see? Is it warm? Is it tender?" He goes on to speak of true love as "a shining light to see us through, no matter what the world will do." What if we took Ocean's question literally and tried to answer it? Can we discover the color of love? I would suggest the following: 1. Blue -- the color of the sky. Looking up at the expansive sky reminds us how our lives can change and grow, reaching out toward our dreams and goals. All of this can happen when we love and believe in ourselves, using our inner resources to create the type of life we want. 2. Yellow -- the color of the sun. God gave us the sun as the primary energy source for the physical world. The sun reminds us of our inner energy, the power we need to strive toward our hopes and desires. Life holds magic moments, but what we seek in life also requires work and effort. Claiming the abilities and energies within us helps us to bring new satisfaction and joy into our lives. 3. Green -- the color of the plant world. If we learn from and work in harmony with nature, and if we treat the earth more responsibly, we receive an abundance in return to nourish us. Green is the color that tells us how much we are loved by God. 4. Pink -- the symbolic color of love. All of us. need to be loved and cared for by others. We are not meant to go through life alone. God gave us different types of relationships so that we might experience the love that we need. For example, the love between friends, the deep caring between parents and children, and that special, loving com- mitment that happens in marriage. So I ask you, what is the color of love in your life? Look creatively at your world. See the beautiful rainbow of self-love, others' love and God's love. Your comments a]ways are we]come. Please address them to: Char]ie Martin, 1218 S. Rother- wood Ave., Evansville, Ind. 47714. Copyright (c) I988 by NC News Service U SCC rates 'Temptation' 'morally offensive' By HENRY HELIX USCC Dept, of Communication NEW YORK (NC) -- Capitalizing on the controversy that has elevated a low-budget movie to a full-blown media event, "The Last Temptation of Christ" (Universal) has arrived in the movie marketplace more than a month early. For the curious willing to pay to see what has occasioned outraged protests by segments ot the religious community, the. movie can only be a disappoint- ment. It proves to be little more than a wooden, unconvincing robe-and-sandals dramatiza- tion. This, of course, is not what movie director Martin Scorsese had intended with his screen adaptation of the 1950s con- troversial novel by Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. The novel was an attempt to probe the mystery of the human nature of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by using the writer's imagination to conjure up the reality of the divine in human form. How well the original novel dealt with this is less important than how credibly Scorsese conveys it on the screen. Though his attempt is a failure, its faults are mainly those of ar- tistic inadequacy rather than of anti-religious bias. Those who reject as blasphemous any at- tempt to portray the Lord other than as they interpret the Gospels deny the right of even an untalented artist to use the power of the imagination to grapple with the character of Christ, the central figure iden- tified with Western culture. Lest there be any misunderstanding about what he is intending, Scorsese prefaces his movie with a quotation from Kazantzakis ex- plaining that this is not the Gospel account but the author's meditation. As long as the Christian faith is alive and well, storytellers will feel compelled to fill in the blank spaces left by the Gospel writers. With this said, Scorsese has done a poor job in evoking a credible image of the human side of Christ. A principal han- dicap is the muddled script, shallow characterizations and flat dialogue contributed by screenwriter Paul Schrader. The script begins with a con- fused, God-obsessed Jesus be- ing berated by Judas, an anti- Roman zealot, for making crossbars for Romans to crucify Jews. After some time in the desert, Jesus returns confident that God is speaking through him. The script retells in a somewhat jumbled, idiosyn- cratic manner the miracles worked by Jesus, the gathering of the apostles, the triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the Last Supper. Here Jesus per- suades the reluctant Judas to betray him so the Scriptures can be fulfilled. With Jesus on the cross, he yields to his final temptation by the devil in the form of an angel. In what may be taken as an hallucination, Jesus leaves the cross unseen to spend his final years as contented hus- band and father but as an old man finally realizes the truth and asks his heavenly Father to allow him to complete his sacrifice for all people. His re- quest granted, the movie ends with his death on the cross, leaving viewers to wonder whether such a fallible figure can, indeed, be regarded as the Messiah. After more than two hours, this final 15-minute sequence offers little in the form of dramatic resolution, nor any reconciliation of the narrative's contradictory strands. One leaves with a sense of frustra- tion rather than enlightenment or wonderment. Partly because of the limita- tions of his low-budget produc- tion, partly because of the failure of his own artistic im- agination, Scorsese has come up with a muddled, unconvinc- ing and ultimately boring religious dramatization. As such, the movie falls flat, troubled by a halting narrative that never manages to get beyond its surface level of try- ing to picture the world in which Jesus lived. These im- ages prove to be an interesting mishmash of picturesque costuming, elaborate tattooing and exotic music of northern African desert tribes uneasily mixed in with more conven- tional Hollywood trappings of the New Testament era. Essentially what is missing is a meaningful spiritual dimen- sion, let alone any depth of characterization. On the human level, inconsistencies abound as the main characters of Judas (Harvey Keitel) and Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey), among others, come in and out of focus, shifting arbitrarily be- tween being supporters or naysayers of Jesus. In the title role is Willem Dafoe who falters in trying to blend some coherence into a character that is part bumbling country bumpkin and part charismatic leader. Com- plicating matters is the laid- back contemporary style of act- ing and mumbled accents that massacre, among other classic language of the King James ver- sion, the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps Scorsese's most egregious offense to spiritual sensibility is his offhanded treatment of Jesus announcing that God wants us to love one another. One would never get the idea from this movie that this message of love is central to Christianity. Instead, we are shown a leader on the make, winning converts to what seems to be no more than an earthly kingdom. Power more than love seems to be the key to the motivation of Scorsese's Jesus. The preoccupation with secular power is conveyed by the motif of blood-letting which runs throughout the movie, from Jesus being splattered by the blood of a man he is helping the Romans to crucify at the beginning of the film to his own brutalization by the Romans in the final reels. Though some may justify the film's abundance of bloody violence as a realistic depiction of the era, others will question the sincerity of depicting it in such excessively literal, close- up fashion. This wrong-headed in- sistence on gore and brutality is compounded by the movie's preoccupation with sexual rather than spiritual love. A scene in which Jesus waits to talk with Mary Magdalene while she services a tentful of patrons is as ludicrous as it is sexually explicit. Even worse is the movie's suggestion that women have no individuality other than their sex. Though this idea ultimate- ly proves to be that of the devil, it is enough to sway Jesus who lives with Mary and Martha after the death of his wife, Mary Magdalene. Though some viewers may find one or another provocative ,- spiritual insights in this fic- tional rendering of the life of Christ, many Christians will find offense in Scorsese's deep- ly flawed portrayal of the Son of God. Because of excessively graphic violence, several sex- ually explicit scenes and some incidental nudity, the United States Catholic Conference classification is 0 -- morally of- fensive. The Motion Picture' Association of America rating is . R -- restricted.  Herx is on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference Depart- ment of Communication. Call the Covenant House 9-LINE, a hotline for troubled youth and families, open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the U.S. 1.800-999-9999 The street is no solution. COMPARE OUR AUTO and HOME RATES INSURANCE AGENCY 464-5993 OUR 75th YEAR