‘A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation’
COVER STORY—There’s not a more timely book this summer for individual reading and small-group discussion than media scholar Greg Garrett’s new exploration of systemic racism in Hollywood feature films.
As global protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death continue to rattle the foundations of major institutions worldwide—one the biggest problems is the global dominance of racial imagery flowing from American studios. Why is Hollywood such a vital part of the Black Lives Matter effort to open up discussions of systemic racism? In his new book, Garrett says it’s because movies become a deeply embedded part of our own self image.
One Solution: We’re All Producers Now!
NAJAH BAZZY’S PRAYER—Our team is overwhelmed with new columns—and videos—coming from our writers who are reaching out in positive ways through the power of social media. After all, two-thirds of Americans now support the Black Lives Matter protests (and 38 percent “strongly support” this movement) according to a June 12 Pew Research report. Are you tired of what Hollywood is broadcasting? Now, you hold a TV studio in the palm of your hand.
Last week, Zaman International founder (and CNN and People magazine hero) Najah Bazzy broadcast a prayer for George Floyd, his family—and all the men and women spreading the call for justice. She used the power of her own smartphone, coupled with the broad audience of #CNNHeroesSpeakOut. Here is her video, which you can share with others.
VICTOR BEGG: ‘God Intended Our Colorful Diversity’
VICTOR is the author of Our Muslim Neighbors: Achieving the American Dream, An Immigrant’s Memoir. He has been very active in writing about the complex challenges of embracing racial, religious and cultural diversity. He has a unique perspective because he is a Muslim, born in India, whose family has been living in the heart of diverse communities for generations. He is a veteran of using social media—and news media—to help spread his message. Victor’s latest column has appeared nationwide in newspapers and also was posted on the widely read IslamiCity web hub, headlined: “Find Source of Racial Divisiveness”.
ANNI is both a nationally known scholar studying the racial challenges in education and family life—and the mother of an African-American son. Like Najah and Victor, Anni reaches out in many ways through her teaching, consulting and advocacy work. She has been featured in media interviews and also has written her own wise columns, including this recent ReadTheSpirit cover story.
Holidays & Festivals
FLAG DAY WISDOM FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN
QUIET FIRE—This week’s episode in Duncan Newcomer’s Quiet Fire series about the spiritual life of Abraham Lincoln takes us to Lincoln’s dramatic journey toward Washington D.C. in 1861. One key ceremony in that cross-country journey was the raising of a new American flag in Philadelphia.
FATHER’S DAY IS COMING
GOOD NEWS! There’s still time to send a great gift, writes Susan Stitt in our Front Edge Publishing column this week. Susan recommends 7 books that are sure to put a smile on Dad’s face—and remind him of your thoughtfulness as he reads these stories. In fact, you just mind find that a good book sparks a great, fresh discussion with your Dad. One of Susan’s recommendation is as timely as this week’s Parade magazine cover story with James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan. Susan recommends a book that digs into the core values behind Bond’s remarkable career.
What are we reading—
for ‘Pride Month’?
AMERICANS ARE READING, this summer, about diversity at a rate we’ve never seen! This month, Americans also are ordering books about sexuality and gender because this is LGBT Pride Month, set in June to honor the activists at Stonewall in June 1969. This week, Susan Stitt writes about some of the great books you can get right now to explore these issues. Please read Susan’s column and share these book ideas with friends.
Celebrating 10 Years with Rodney Curtis
SURVIVING LEUKEMIA—In his always-uplifting style, Rodney Curtis writes: “My life ended ten years ago. But it’s okay; I got over it.” That major milestone a decade ago was a diagnosis of leukemia. Rodney even wrote a book about this chapter of his life: A ‘Cute’ Leukemia. This week, he looks back and thanks all the people who helped him through that year.
Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com
FAITH & FILM
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are these 10 recommending videos available for streaming right now.
- SEE YOU YESTERDAY—Ed writes, “This science fiction thriller by first-time director Stefon Bristol and his co-writer Fredrica Bailey boasts Spike Lee as one of its producers. With its ripped-from-the-headlines relevancy in regard to police brutality you might think it was made last week, but it actually was released a little over a year ago when another shooting of a black man by the police was in the headlines. Indeed, its genesis goes back even further when Bristol had made a short film and Spike Lee helped him to expand it into its present feature length. With many #Black Lives Matter news clips interspersed throughout, the film seems like a mixture of Back to the Future, The Hate You Give and When They See Us.” (5 out of 5 stars)
- BOB ROBERTS—Ed reaches back to 1992 to highly recommend this political satire starring Tim Robbins.
- CURTIZ—This film about Michael Curtiz, the director of Casablanca, is full of factual errors. “Nevertheless,” Ed McNulty writes, “first-time director Tamas Yvan Topolanszky’ film, streaming on Netflix, is an interesting one thanks to a combination of excellent acting and crisp black & white photography.”
- REDISCOVERING ‘INSIGHT’—One of the great gems of classic TV was the Insight series produced by Paulist Productions. This week, Ed looks back at that remarkable and long-running series, which included a Who’s Who of top Hollywood talent. Through its 250 episodes, viewers saw performances by stars including Carroll O’Connor, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, June Lockhart, Celeste Holm, Meg Tilly and Patty Duke. Best of all, Ed shares with us the YouTube link to enjoy many of these classic episodes.
- RETURN TO ME—Ed writes, “Director/co-writer Bonnie Hunt’s 20-year-old romantic film could easily have gone astray were it not for its solid cast and attention to details of character. The main characters—two lovers Bob Rueland and Grace Biggs, played by David Duchovny and Minnie Driver—are so appealing that we can overlook some of the film’s sentimental excess.” (4 out of 5 stars)
- PROLONGED EXPOSURE—“This film might seem slow moving by anyone who has been misled by the false posters that imply this is an action thriller. Mr. Thoms’ insightful script is more of a character study.” (4 stars)
- HALA—”Writer/director Minhal Baig brings us a very unusual version of the teenager coming of age story. Who has ever filmed this from the perspective of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, daughter of strict Pakistani parents who are only half acclimated to their new country? Although the pace of the film might try the patience of some viewers, it offers a rewarding time for those concerned about a young woman on the cusp of discovering her freedom.” (4 stars)
- 7500—”When a thriller, and Patrick Vollrath’s film is certainly one, begins with a Gandhi quotation, you can be sure that I will be watching with an extra amount of attention!” (4 stars)
- A HIDDEN LIFE—Want to learn more about courageous peacemakers? “Terrence Malick raises important questions about faith and loyalty to one’s country versus loyalty to one’s conscience. And how do you know that you are right when most everyone else is of the opposite view? These are universal questions, applicable here today as well as in 1940s Europe.” (The Franz Jagerstatter story is streaming from Amazon; also from Netflix’s DVD service.)
- FORBIDDEN—”This 36-year-old TV film, directed by Anthony Page and written by Leonard Gross, is another worthy film to add to the small number that pay tribute to the too-few Germans who opposed Adolph Hitler. Like Alone in Berlin, this film is set in Berlin. It is based on the non-fiction book by Leonard Gross The Last Jews in Berlin and stars the great French actress Jacqueline Bisset as the real life Countess Maria von Maltzan.” (4.5 stars)
- ALONE IN BERLIN—”Most WW 2 era films about resistance to Nazi tyranny are set in France, Poland, or some other occupied country, so Vincent Perez’s story of a middle-aged German couple becoming disillusioned with Hitler is most welcome. Based on Hans Fallada’s novel Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone), it is a fictionalized version of what happened to the real-life Otto and Elise Hampel.” (4.5 stars)