So in my websurfings, I found a link to a blog post about the movie, “Bella.” Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t like chick flicks. If there’s any hint of romance or hurt/comfort (if I may use parlance from the fic world) as central plot issue, it’ll make me snooze. I’d watched the trailer to “Bella,” and, honestly, it didn’t look like anything I’d be interested in, even if it’s being hyped as the next great Catholic movie. And, yes, I realize I will be labeled a Bad Catholic for not wanting to see “Bella.”
So when I found that blog post, I started feeling better–here was someone who knew something about film (and I’m sure she’ll be dismissed as part of the librul academic atheists), and wasn’t impressed with the movie. The fact that others associated with the film’s production cast aspersions on her faith is enough for me to not see it. Nothing in her critique of it is the least bit ad hominem, yet people associated with the film are quick to sling it.
Any good filmmaker would be able to respond intelligently to criticism. Lord knows the ability to take criticism gracefully is something you have to quickly learn in any kind of art program. Plus, being able to respond to criticism clarifies your own point that much further. Responding by saying a critic has deep spiritual problems? Doesn’t say much for one’s film making abilities, there.
I think her post and the reactions to her thoughts illustrate two things about Catholicism these days:
1.) Our political climate is fostering extremism. If you disagree, you’re BAD, when in reality it means nothing more than one disagrees.
2.) Why do we, as Catholics, accept trite pablum for art? Look at the liturgical music produced lately. When’s the last time we had a Flannery O’Connor or a Graham Greene? How about the visual arts? Why is it that everyone sings “On Eagle’s Wings,” but clams up at “Pange lingua” or “Salve regina?” (Personally I think chant is way easier to sing than anything that OCP publishes.) From Palestrina to Pärt, we’ve had a tradition of good liturgical music that can stand on its own as art. Why is it that parishes won’t (or can’t) support a choir and music program so that they can encourage and commission new music?
I have a theory that the decline of music education and role of western art music in society has more to do with the decline of liturgical music than anything Vatican II did. If people aren’t ever exposed to anything which challenges or stretches them, then it’s difficult for them to understand it. There are plenty of composers out there, and not everyone sounds like the modernist composers of the 1950’s. And even if they do, don’t they deserve a chance to bring glory to God?