Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sanctify My Soul

Last weekend I saw the movie Bella, which has gotten a lot of press in the Catholic community. I thought the film needed a good bit of editing, but I enjoyed it for many reasons, among them that it is a beautifully-filmed movie about New York; that it represents an intersection between the art house and the pro-life movement that’s pretty hard to find anywhere; and, not least, that it has an amazing soundtrack. When I got home I did some googling to see if the soundtrack was available on CD, but it’s not. I would see the film again just to hear the music, which is employed with great skill, and in my opinion served the story better than a lot of the dialogue did. There is one moment that I found particularly poignant, when the two main characters return to Penn Station on the Long Island railroad early in the morning; a wonderful Nina Simone cover of a spiritual, “Sanctify My Soul,” is playing on the soundtrack, and I thought that Dr. Simone’s combination of sophisticated musical restraint and heartfelt-if-slightly-intellectualized singing was a great choice.

I have my doubts about whether this film will play in Peoria. It’s too arty – and the heroes are Mexican immigrants, and we all know how that’s been going lately. But if you get the chance to see it, go – it has a few flaws, but it's excellent.

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