Easter today. It would be easy to follow the usual pattern of taking a piece of relevant scripture and expounding upon it... instead, here is a film.
You will need time - nearly two hours. You will need to have the desire to engage with subtitles. You will need to have an appreciation of fabulous theatre, tremendous cinematography, of the place for silence, and for music. Most of all, you will need a Love of Deep Thinking and an understanding of the ache of the human spirit to connect at a level beyond the physical.There are many ways to express that ache; in this movie, it is through prayer and a constant focus on the Higher. It is not necessary to be an Orthodox Christian - or even a person of faith - to watch this wonderful story of human character. Guilt, penance and redemption apply to all, no matter one's philosophy. Love is what overcomes all and the Love in the lead character, generated by the need to resolve inner conflict, is an incredible example of how it can break down the barriers that others perceive or create for themselves.
How this film came to be here... was searching for sacred Easter music - came upon the Valaam Choir (well worth the listen) and then followed my nose to discover more about the monastery. Somehow tripped over a reference to this movie, which is relevant because many of the internal scenes of it were filmed in the monastery and the 'temple' scene has some of the actual monks and choir. The external scenes are mainly filmed in the lake area. For interest and info, the notes given with the movie are;
"The Island" is a 2006 Russian biographical film about a 20th century Eastern Orthodox monk. Pyotr Mamonov, who plays the lead character, formerly a rock musician in the USSR, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in the 1990s and lives now in an isolated village. Film director Pavel Lungin said about him that "to a large extent, he played himself." Mamonov was first very hesitant to play in the film, but then was urged by his confessor to play the character. After the filming, one of the movie crew staff decided to stay on the island and live there as a hermit.
Do please make time for this one.