Next week sees the return of our church film club for 2014. First up is going to be 12 Years A Slave.
Have to say I am excited. I have said in previous posts why I love our little film club but this is one I’m really looking forward to.
Not only am I looking forward to seeing the film even more than tha tI;m looking forward to the discussion afterwards. A trip to the cinema for enjoyment is great I’m a big advocate for that. Stressful day at work the new Marvel comic book film is out perfect. Losing myself in a fictional world and letting stress melt away is perfect for me.
This is going to be different. This is going to be difficult, emotional, graphic and hopefully most of all thought provoking.
Director Steve McQueen has never shied away from difficult topics. The Hunger Strike in Northern Ireland, the death of Bobby Sands in his first film Hunger and sex addiction in Shame have been covered in his previous two releases.
He does not make comfortable cinema.
He certainly does not make film appropriate for a church group like ours to go and see as part of a film club.
Or does he?
I would argue that McQueen absolutely does make films that should be watched by groups like ours.
To fully engage with our culture around us we need to be able to talk about issues like sex. We can’t do that if we shy away from issues like those depicted in Shame.
Here in Northern Ireland we need to watch Hunger, we need to understand that story. We need to understand why it is revered on one side of our community and despised by the other. We need to reflect and where appropriate show grace to those wronged.
We need to watch 12 Years A Slave and cringe at the lack of humanity in the atrocities carried out and as a church group look at the biblical justification for slavery and discuss how our faith has evolved.
I understand that these films do not provide all the answers and there are bigger stories than those that can be depicted in a couple of hours on screen but we do need to watch these films.
To start the difficult conversations maybe we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.