It’s the little things that count. Director Wes Anderson has always been good with the little things, filling movies like Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tennenbaums (2001), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007) with extraordinary, eye-catching detail. In Fantastic Mr. Fox the things are littler than ever, as the tallest actor is only 18” high. This film is an example of stop-motion animation, in which tiny figures are photographed, moved a fraction of an inch, and photographed again. It takes 24 photos to create one second of smoothly-moving screen time, so this kind of animation represents an enormous amount of labor.
[Holy Cross Orthodox Church; November 22, 2009]
This weekend we are remembering the repose of Fr. George Calciu, who died on November 21, 2006, just two days before 81st birthday. He died of pancreatic cancer, a fast-moving and painful cancer, and had barely survived long enough to complete one last trip to his homeland, Romania.
The news reached us on a Sunday evening that he had taken a turn for the worse. Father Gregory and I were hosting a gathering for Orthodox young people at our home that night, but I left our guests and went with Chris Vladimir to the hospital.
[Ancient Faith Radio; Feb 13, 2008]
I had a recent podcast about Roe v Wade, and heard some helpful comments from a couple of alert listeners who noticed a couple of things that I said that weren’t quite accurate. I was, in some respects, talking off the top of my head. I did get confused when I was talking about a Supreme Court decision that counted African Americans as two-fifths of a person, I had mixed a couple of things together.
[Ancient Faith Radio; Feb 6, 2008]
Frederica: Not too long ago, I was interviewed on an evangelical radio station about the Jesus Prayer. There were two hosts on this show, and one of them had contacted me and had said “Is there anything you’d like to talk about,” and I said “Well, let’s talk about the Jesus Prayer.” And I sent him an email copy of the chapter in my book The Illumined Heart about the Jesus Prayer.
[Ancient Faith Radio; April 8, 2008]
Well, another Forgiveness Vespers has arrived, and challenged us in many ways, not least challenging those muscles that run up the back of our legs, with all the making metanias, and certainly brought forth some tears and a lot of hugs, and a profound sense of being bonded with the other people in our church. At Holy Cross, we have about—I guess on a Sunday morning we see a hundred to a hundred thirty people. There’s some variation; people travel and visitors show up. But at Forgiveness Vespers, we usually have around a hundred people there.
F: I’m sitting at my kitchen table on a Thursday morning, talking to my son Stephen Mathewes, who is going away tomorrow. He’s going to drive up to Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, and begin classes as a seminarian, and, hopefully, in three years graduate and be ordained a priest. Dad and I are very, very proud of you, son.
S: Thank you.
F: [laughs] But he also has a sideline. He was a Musicology major in college, and during the course of that time, to pick up a little extra cash, he became a piano tuner. Now, some years ago, when you all were small, I read an article in a magazine or a newspaper, assessing, “What is the very best possible job?” Of all the jobs, of all the professions. And they ranked them by different categories, like how much flexibility do you have? How stressful is it? Are you exposed to the elements? Are you out in the rain? And when they combined all of that, the best job in the world was piano tuner.
I brought a handkerchief. The occasion was a screening of the documentary, slated to kick off American University’s Human Rights Film Series this fall. It is the first film by Laura Waters Hinson, an AU alumna, and in addition to numerous festival awards it won a Student Academy Award. The film’s topic is the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which Hutus killed up to a million Tutsis over the course of 100 days.
What would it be like to live in a world without lying? I expected the universe depicted in this film to present a reverse image of the Jim Carrey comedy “Liar Liar,” in which the main character finds himself uncomfortably compelled to tell the truth. I expected, that is, one more brash, noisy, agitated film, replete with insults and gross-out jokes. I wasn’t expecting the sweetness in this film, its quietness and thoughtful core. It feels, in spirit, more like a fable, in the mold of mid-century films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street”.
I just wish it were better. I wish the early promise didn’t grow gradually thinner and less authentic—less true.
What is life like “In the Womb”? Thanks to National Geographic, we can refresh our memories with a beautiful book by that title, as well as a TV miniseries that makes use of the most advanced video technology. A new book and series now examines the prenatal life of our fellow mammals—and it’s weirder than you’d think.