Monday, September 24, 2007

The Harp of Burma

Finished watching The Harp of Burma (Biruma no tategoto) last night. Moving story of a Japanese soldier in Burma at the end of World War Two & the events that lead him to become a priest. During an early scene in the movie we see he is a sensitive man to begin with. In his last words to his comrades (who are returning to Japan) he states that he has committed himself to burying the dead and comforting those who are suffering.

Like the hero of this film we find ourselves in a broken world. We, too, must comfort our fellow sufferers.
June 24, 1993

Around 1990 or so my wife and I befriended a street person named Robert Lookup who lived in Duluth's Seaway Hotel. His life consisted primarily of watching movies and visiting the library. When I had first met him, he showed me the fruit of a major project he had undertaken. Robert was a lover of trains. Combining this passion with his love of movies, he had committed himself to watching every movie in the library and rating it based on the accuracy of its presentation of the trains therein.

For example, an Abbott and Costello film received demerits because while the story took place in Florida, on the wall was a Pennsylvania Railroad calendar. This would never happen, he emphatically stated. In retrospect, I would venture that no other movie goer of our generation ever noticed this faux pas.

I mention Robert because of his special love of obscure films with dark themes. The Harp of Burma was such a film, flowing over the screen with its tragic tale of a sensitive man awakened to the real horror of war. Without Robert's urging I would no doubt have never viewed this moving film. Robert was a sensitive man himself who no doubt identified with the hero.

As we read today's headlines, we understand that our 21st century world is no rose garden. It is a world littered with sorrows, with hurting people who need a message of hope. Let's commit ourselves to being part of the solution, and not part of the problem.

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