By Jesús Colina
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 25, 2011(Zenit.org).- The film "There Be Dragons," an historical drama set in the Spanish Civil War in which St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) is prominently featured, was applauded in Rome by representatives of the Church and culture.
A screening of the film was held Monday at the Pontifical North American College with the participation of the director, Roland Joffe, and the prelate of the Opus Dei and successor of St. Josemaría, Bishop Javier Echevarría.
Bishop Echevarría said after the screening that he saw the movie "as a homage to so many thousands of priests of many years ago, but also present-day ones, who spend their lives joyfully in the service of souls, in the service of society."
The film, which opened today in Spain, evokes the youthful years of Opus Dei's founder (played by Charlie Cox) and his attitude to the Spanish Civil War.
Robert (played by Dougray Scott) is a journalist who, on investigating the figure of the founder of "the Work" to write an extensive report, discovers that his father, Manolo (played by Wes Bentley), with whom he has had no relationship for the past eight years, was a friend of Escrivá during his childhood.
From that moment, the plot leads the journalist and with him the public, to discover unimaginable surprises that would change his life forever.
Worthy of imitation
Italian writer Susana Tamaro, author of the novel "Va dove ti porta il cuore" (Go Where Your Heart Leads You), commented that the film is "very well directed and is very effective from the point of view of play-writing."
"The decision to narrate history following the opposite vicissitudes of two childhood friends makes it possible to point out the importance of the liberty God has given us to increase evil in the world or to try to diminish it," added Tamaro, who has studied cinematography and worked on scientific documentaries.
"The film finally does justice to the figure of young Josemaría, showing very effectively his nature, from his infancy, totally oriented to the good, to love and forgiveness. I am sure this film could do much good to the new generations, bereft of figures worthy of being admired and imitated," she explained.
Julián Herranz Casado, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who lived with Father Escrivá for 22 years in Rome, up to 1975, said: "I liked it very much and I think it reflects St. Josemaría's character very well. Here he appears young, but the fact is he was young up to the second after he died."
"The message of the film, apart from its understanding of the word and life of the founder of the Opus Dei, is a very timely message, because it speaks of what is necessary to have true peace, which is to be able to coexist, to forgive, because this is necessary," added the cardinal.
"All coexistence, from marriage to the great areas of human coexistence, is made on the basis of being able to forgive, of being able to understand that there are defects that must be forgiven and to give an added weight of human warmth and supernatural meaning which is what makes it possible to go far," clarified Cardinal Herranz.
Ennio Morricone, who was responsible for the unforgettable soundtrack of "The Mission," the famous film of 25 years ago by the same British director, said: "With this film, Roland Joffe confirms his talent, his greatness as profound director, intense and of very high quality. In this film he confirms what he has always been: a great director."
Cardinal Giovanni Cheli, former president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, who is almost 90, acknowledged that in the film "one sees quite a bit of what was the spirit of St. Josemaría Escrivá."
The cardinal said that the founder of Opus Dei had "a strong character," and that the two "were very, very good friends."
"When I came to Rome he always invited me to viale Bruno Buozzi to lunch with him, he loved me a lot and I hope that he will love me also now as I need him," concluded the Italian cardinal.
Joffe, the film's director and self-proclaimed agnostic, stressed that "There Be Dragons" is a film for believers and nonbelievers.
He revealed that the phrase of Josemaría that most impressed him was "we are all potential saints," that is, capable of overcoming our dragons: hatred and the desire for revenge.
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On the Net:
"There Be Dragons": www.dragonsresources.com