Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 28, 2005
Holy Land show trips over pilgrim's presence
Salt+Light goes to Israel
Journey of Light, Salt+Light Television,Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m..
Review by LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WCR News Editor
What an entrancing concept!
Take viewers on a pilgrimage of the Holy Land with the intent that the viewer understands the meaning of a Catholic pilgrimage to the Holy Land and wants to make his or her own pilgrimage to the birthplace of Christ.
So a Catholic Salt+Light film crew journeyed to Israel for 10 days with the co-operation of everyone from the Israeli government's Ministry of Tourism to the various vital personages who can share their insights into Jesus' life and/or give their perceptions of what is happening in the Holy Land.
The vehicle or thread for the film is the personal pilgrimage of writer/director Mary Rose Bacani.
Examine the plus side first. Treasures are here.
- The French-speaking priest who explains why Nazareth's population numbers only two per cent Christians. He tells of the Christian exodus in the 1960s and '70s - dubbed "the great bleeding" - because of economics and unstable societal conditions. "But people should know there are still living stones here," he assures.
- The teen Nasser who attends the Salvatorian Sisters' School (a blessed example of the seeds of future peace being planted) and recounts the bond and friendship between the Muslim and Christian students to the point of calling them family.
And who better to tell it. His mother is Romanian Christian and his father a local Arab Muslim. "It is difficult to know what I am after in religion. I just believe in God."
- An all too-brief interview with Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah who, in his longing for peace, explains that the opposing factions "need to know each other as human beings."
- Again, just a snippet comment from yarmulke-wearing Aaron Kohn who wonders why the two nations cannot co-exist.
- The chilling reading aloud names of the children who died in the Holocaust at the Holocaust History Museum.
- The bounty of landscape and landmarks. We see the Sea of Galilee, Basilica of the Annunciation, Church of the Nativity and Jesus-was-here place after place as we walk Christ's path. All are alluring and, yes, make us want to be there.
But what detracts from this well-intentioned venture was the constant imposition of writer/director Mary Rose Bacani. Granted, the premise was this was Bacani's pilgrimage.
However, one soon wearies of her being in front of the camera instead of the images, the people and their stories. I started to feel, "Get out of my way" too early into the documentary."
The photographer(s?) too fell in love with cutesy kid, flowers and lingering-hand-on the-wall and sunset shots. Judicious editing could have solved this.
And the score was heavy on the moody classical. How richer this would have been if the sound track could have come from the Holy Land itself, drawing from the Arab and Israeli talent pool.
Yes, watch this film and do it with the intention of listening to the interviewees and drinking in the scenery.
And there is a good chance you will update your passport and plan your own pilgrimage to tread "the geography of salvation."