Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Opus Dei Movie

Opus Dei, and the writings of the founding priest, St. Josemaría Escrivá, played a strong role in my conversion to Catholicism, and this news of a new movie about Opus Dei is welcome.

An article in the National Catholic Register comments on the movie.

An excerpt.

“Six years ago I published a book on Opus Dei, attempting to sort myth from reality about the controversial Catholic group. One question I hoped to answer was this: What was it about St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, which inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world, far beyond the group’s relatively meager membership of roughly 90,000?

“I presumed that all those people weren’t drawn to Opus Dei’s reputation for being a fanatical right-wing cabal seeking to hijack financial markets, topple governments,
and restore the church militant. So beyond that black legend, what was it about Escrivá that people found compelling?

“This spring, a new movie, which is sure to set Catholic tongues wagging, tries to offer a dramatic answer to that question: “There Be Dragons,” written and directed by acclaimed director Roland Joffé, whose previous works include classics such as “The Mission” and “The Killing Fields.”

“Depending on how things break, “There Be Dragons” could stir the same sort of ferment as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” – fierce devotion in some quarters, and strong backlash in others.

“The movie features some major Hollywood talent, such as Derek Jacobi and Wes Bentley (of “American Beauty” fame), as well as Brazilian soap opera star Rodrigo Santoro. The role of Escrivá is played by English actor Charlie Cox.

“There Be Dragons” premiers in Spain on March 25, and in the United States on May 6. Last Friday, I was part of a small group invited to see an advance screening of the movie in Rome.

“From a journalistic point of view, it’s tempting to style “There Be Dragons” as a sort of anti-Da Vinci Code – a pop culture portrayal of Opus Dei, in the person of the group’s founder, which makes the group seem as heroic and sympathetic as Dan Brown’s potboiler, and the subsequent film, made it appear weird and menacing.”