BY ISN STAFF | February 26, 2012
As households across the country prepare to watch stars strut down the red carpet at the Oscars tonight, we thought it was appropriate to remember a few films that have inspired new understandings of solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Here are a few that came to mind:
Depicting the transformation of Oscar Romero (Raul Julia) from a shy book-worm priest into a prophetic archbishop who advocated to his death for the economically poor of his native El Salvador. Romero illustrates the tension of the late 1970’s in the war-torn Central American country at a time when the U.S. supported Salvadoran government carried out the reprehensibly repressive tactics toward the economically poor. Watching Romero reminds us of Gospel-imperatives that call us to solidarity with the most-marginalized in our society.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
This true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a hotel manager who housed more than one thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. Throughout the movie Rusesabagina experiences great internal tension as he balances the needs of his own family and those staying in his hotel he has committed to providing refuge. The film makes the point that solidarity does not come without risks, for Rusesabagina those risks were significant – his own life and that of his family.
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Adapted from a book written by Sr. Helen Prejean by the same name, the film illustrates Prejean’s (Susan Sarandon) accompaniment of death row inmate Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn). This film walks the fine line of valuing Poncelet’s life while not diminishing the horrific crimes he committed and the pain of the victim’s family. It reminds us that solidarity is not always isolated to one individual or side of an issue – that victims come in many different forms.
What movies have called you to a greater commitment of solidarity?