Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Village (2004)

Last night I was watching the M. Night Shyamalan film The Village (2004) and found it an excellent preparation for the feast of Saint John of the Cross coming up in two days. As I have been discussing with Enbrethiliel, the film is like a mystical parable. St John, in his poems and commentaries The Dark Night and The Ascent of Mt Carmel and even in the Living Flame of Love speaks of darkness and blindness as states in which one proves the love for the Beloved. In the film, the blind young girl is the only one able to save her beloved, wounded for love of her. The Spiritual Canticle emphasizes the "wound of love." "Why, since you wounded this heart, don't you heal it?" The soul must not fear the "wild beasts" while going through the "woods and thickets" to find healing for the Beloved, just like the girl trying to avoid the "monsters" in the woods.

In the film, the lovers pledged themselves "in the serene night," "the tranquil night." In The Village the maidens must "stay away" from the "outskirts." The emphasis on solitude in the poems of St John, especially in The Dark Night where it says "in a place where no one else appeared" was similar to the scene in the film where the young maiden realizes she must make the journey alone. Only pure love and self-sacrifice in the blindness of faith can save the one she loves.

On another level, I find The Village interesting for the portrayal of flight from the world. It has long been a Christian practice to withdraw into the desert to find God and peace. However, as the Desert Fathers discovered, we can never escape the our own human nature and the wounds of original sin. In the pristine refuge of Covington Wood, people fall in love with the wrong people, there is jealousy, and even hatred. The elders must keep the youngsters in line through the terrifying story of monsters in the woods, so that even in the safety of the wilderness the children are afraid. While we are in the flesh, there is no escape and the only true refuge is the Lord. Share


Melanie said...

Reminds me of a quote I heard but don't remember who said it.

"Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness."

elena maria vidal said...

Here is a quote from The Spiritual Canticle from the Office of Readings for St John's feast tomorrow. It makes me think of that poor blind girl making her way through the woods:

"Oh, if we could but fully understand how a soul cannot reach...the wisdom of the riches of God...without entering the thicket of many kinds of suffering, finding in this her delight and consolation; and how a soul with an authentic desire for divine wisdom wants suffering first in order to enter this wisdom by the thicket of the cross."

alaughland@goeaston.net said...

Beautiful analogies re The Village. Insiteful on the part of E. Vidal. Causes one to stretch ones mind and search for their own personal spiritual insites.