Tuesday, May 31, 2011

St Bernadette of Lourdes

Directed by Jim Morlino
Navis Pictures
Not Rated
1 hour 17 minutes

Do you remember, as a child playing school or spaceships? Did you realize that you were developing your natural acting talent? All children have acted out the stories they read in a book, saw in their favorite film, or heard from their parents. Innovative film-maker Jim Morlino keenly believes in the innate acting ability which children express in playtime.  In an interview on the EWTN show “Life on the Rock”, Morlino described boys playing pirates and girls playing princesses in their backyards naturally and convincingly with few props. An off-Broadway and TV actor who left the field after conflicts with his blossoming Catholic faith, Morlino directed his own children in home movies using more and more sophisticated camera and sound techniques culled from internet tutorials. His first project was an adaptation of the Redwall series version of Robin Hood.  St Bernadette of Lourdes is his first foray into professional level filmmaking, complete with a score composed by Yale grad David Hughes. His directing talent, combined with the sincere acting of 166 children and the gifted performance of his daughter Genevieve who plays St Bernadette offers a fresh style of filmmaking.

The candidness of children acting out the rejection of Bernadette’s visions because of poverty is deeply moving. Bernadette’s expression of radiant joy during the visions of the Blessed Mother emanate from a pure heart and her own faith, not from mere acting craft.  Few young actors have had the freedom to express their childlike imaginations as their natural acting gifts are captured on film. That is what makes the youthful cast of “St Bernadette of Lourdes” so refreshing. Jim Morlino communicates the essence of the scene to his young actors, works out the camera angles and lets them express what is in their imaginations, and their hearts.

Playfulness and unexpected touches of humor keep the story line from being too dark for the children who act in it, yet there is little invention in the script, unlike the Oscar winning Hollywood production, “Song of Bernadette”. St Bernadette of Lourdes offers the viewer a unique point of view, that of the innocent souls of children. Morlino believes they require little direction beyond being told where to begin and end the scene, he allows their natural faith to shine through their performances. And shine they do, with startling clarity.

The film begins in an unanticipated point in history, in the ninth century when the Emperor Charlemagne had the Moors under siege in the fortress at the future site of the Grotto of Lourdes. It was a statue of Our Lady which ended the siege with the conversion to Christianity of the Muslim commander.  Morlino has a passion for history and has plans to do a drama based upon events after the French Revolution. This places the events at Lourdes in 1958, over a millennium later, into perspective of God’s plan. The children who act in this film have a mature sense of mission, no less than transforming the culture.

“The arts compose a hugely influential component of our culture. If we can inspire one child to take up a career in those arts, and to create stunning beauty that lifts men’s souls towards God, and in doing so, glorify Him, we will have succeeded.”
With performances like these, they are off to a good start.
Recommended for all ages.

Website to purchase St Bernadette of Lourdes is Navis Pictures. 

1 comment:

christianbias said...

I was searching around today for movies to take my 3 young children to this weekend. I came across a really cute movie called The Lion of Judah, its basically a movie that teaches the kids about the Cross. I think they will enjoy it. Has anyone else heard of this movie? If not heres a link to it, take your kids!