Italian for Beginners

Cast
Andreas: Anders W. Berthelsen
Karen: Ann Eleonora Jorgensen
Olympia: Anette Stovelbaek
Jorgen Mortensen: Peter Gantzler
Hal-Finn: Lars Kaalund
Miramax Films presents a film written and directed by Lone Scherfig with appreciation to Maeve Binchy for inspiration for her book, Evening Class. In Danish with English subtitles. Running time: 112 minutes. Rated R (for language and some sexuality).

Central Theme
God is present in the lives of those who believe Him and allow Him to take up residence in the stuff of their daily lives.

Story
Andreas, a recent seminary graduate who lost his wife but kept his faith, is called upon to replace an aging clergyman who, in losing his wife, lost his faith. This Danish church has dwindled, with the former pastor believing God is not real and one parishioner commenting, ‘it seems like God has been absent’. As in the movie Magnolia, but as a kinder gentler movie, we become acquainted with a random assortment of characters, each with a burden to bear, who are brought together through a couple of deaths and a class for those who want to learn Italian. Hotheaded Hal-Finn loses his job, lovelorn hairdresser Karen loses her mother, the clumsy bakery shop clerk Olympia loses her father, the former pastor loses his faith, and the impotent Jorgen loses his romantic drives. The caring and kind Andreas works his way into the hearts and lives of these often quirky people by being available, listening, encouraging and through just ‘being there’. By Christmas Sunday the church is packed, but more important, broken lives are on the mend. The R rating is a warning that there is sexual content and themes, and while this movie is warm towards the subject of God, as in real life, the lives God enters are not completely reformed overnight, but are put on the right path heading in the right direction. There is a gentle accepting, graceful hopefulness about this film. It is rooted in God’s presence entering people’s lives, through their friendships with Andreas.

Beliefs num
–God is present in the lives of everyday people.
–God is not always observable except in the lives of people.
–When you have God in your life it will change for the better, but perhaps not in the way you might choose or expect.
–Love and forgiveness are at the heart of grace and the restoration of the soul.
–One person’s faith in God can inspire other people’s faith.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What does it mean to counsel souls?
–If we all know loves transforms our lives for good, why are we still selfish?
–Is it true we observe God in community and through relationships?
–What would you say to someone who has decided God is nothing but an abstraction?

Provocative Quotes byline
–It feels as if God has been absent.
==Parishioner’s comment to new pastor Andreas
–The kingdom of God does not always come in observable form, but the kingdom of God is within you.
==Andreas’ sermon
–You can cancel for less than three.
==What Andreas’ is told when his first church service has less than three people in attendance
–I was a thief and a robber but now I have God.
==Andreas’ assistant
–It is in loneliness that God seems far away.
==Andreas, alone at night
–But God is there in friendship, in the arm you slide around your beloved.
==Andreas, thinking about God
–She had schizophrenia. But she had more faith in God than I have.
==Andreas about his late-wife
–Do you have anyone to talk to tonight?
==Andreas, asks after every funeral
–We provide counsel for the soul.
==Andreas to Jorgen, about what a pastor does
–Yes, I pray, or I couldnƒ­t be a pastor.
==Andreas, when Jorgen asks if he prays
–But it will.
==Jorgen, encouraging Andreas after hearing that the church is not doing well
–May your grieving soul be filled with joy.
==Opening line of the Christmas hymn
–God exists.
==Jorgen, to faithless clergy who insists God is an abstraction
–You selfish man, get on with your life.
==Andreas, to faithless clergyman
–You should apologize to Karen.
==Andreas to Hal-Finn, who until now has not dealt with life in terms of apologies and forgiveness
–I want to go to church to think it over.
==Giulia to Jorgen, when he asks her to marry him
–I won’t be needing the Maserrati anymore.
==Andreas, indicating he will stay with these people at this church, by selling his infamous Italian car

Posted in Movies, Staublog in February 1, 2002 by | No Comments »

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