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Old 04-16-2022, 11:46 AM
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TrueFaith77 TrueFaith77 is offline
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26.Father Stu (Rosalind Ross); grade: A

Rosalind Ross's Father Stu (2022) is a spiritual sequel to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004). The Passion's radically vivid pop visualizations of spiritual warfare and the infinitely extending spiritual love between Father and Son influenced the burnished--sepia-toned--style of lesser "faith-based" Catholic entertainments. Now, Ross introduces spiritual realities into the language (mise en scene) of Hollywood Realism and the religious bio-pic. Ross's script for Father Stu continues the elemental familial dynamics in Gibson's The Man Without a Face, The Passion, Apocalypto, and Hacksaw Ridge. Ross epitomizes this semiotic progression in three scenes of "conversion" in Father Stu. Stu's encounter with a guardian angel and Marian vision--a distinctly cinematic, rather than pictorial, pieta--at a moment of spiritual-physical crisis conveys cosmic love in intimate terms that also expresses universal need. At the center of Father Stu is a family broken apart by elemental tragedy (recalling Hacksaw Ridge). Evincing a dialectic intelligence and moral rigor honed by vulgar--down and dirty--debates between Mark Wahlberg's Stu and his atheist father played by Gibson (both magnificent), Stu's faithful humility in response to physical degradation engenders healing from family, friends, and community that itself heals. Masterpieces like Bertolucci's Me and You and Chereau's Son Frere convey this social-spiritual truth in secular terms, but Father Stu dramatizes Stu's uniting of his suffering to that of Christ. Hence, Ross achieves cinematic immanence through Stu's homily that articulates his suffering as a blessing in the terms of a son reaching out to and connecting with his father. Through montage and staging--collapsing distance like Mary cradling broken Stu--Ross makes a conversion felt. (As performed by Wahlberg and Gibson, it is awesome.) Transcendental family and earthly family dynamics get distilled to a kernel of truth in the film's final conversion. A priest, played as delicately proud by Cody Fern, admits to Father Stu in confession his unbelief and his vocation as a product his own father-wound. The icon of Stu's suffering elicits the recognition of idolatry as the essence of sin and testifies to the transformative reality of compassion.
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Last edited by TrueFaith77; 04-16-2022 at 12:35 PM..
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