, , , ,

This week a good friend told me he had enjoyed reading the book and referred to various recent films including The Railway Man. His comment reminded me that towards the end of last year three big films were in the cinemas: Mandela, Twelve Years a Slave and The Railway Man. All three were about an injustice of a deep kind being done to an individual, and how all three came through it in their different ways. I don’t write about these films, but I was just finishing my text ready for publication when I saw Philomena – yet another story about an individual to whom a great wrong is done and how she comes to terms with it. This is a little film but writing about it seemed a perfect way to bring the book up-to-date since it illustrates the conflicted way in which society feels a need to jettison religion while at the same time holding onto narratives like that of Philomena Lee, one of compassion, redemption and reconciliation. That is the picture now. Eighty years ago by comparison it was possible for Carl Dreyer to make his full-blooded religious masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc, without having to take cognizance of the secularizing process that has gone on in the twentieth century. Hence my sub-title, ‘From The Passion of Joan of Arc to Philomena’.