For those of you who live in Tulsa, I must tell you about the quaint little Circle Cinema "at the very large corner of Admiral and Lewis," to borrow the phrase from Ziegler's commercials.
It is a true hidden gem. They specialize in indie and foreign films and great documentaries. I have recently subscribed to receive their e-mail announcements of what's playing and what's coming, so hopefully I will never have to miss a great movie again. They do NOT show your typical (yawn or yikes!) Hollywood fare. I haven't seen a movie yet that didn't make me think about the wonder and vastness and creativity of God and how we are created in His image and reflect His likeness.
Here are just three of the ones I have seen recently: Man on Wire, Tell No One and Encounters at the End of the World. I've found that if you look for God, you see Him everywhere.
Let's work our way backward, and see how He reveals Himself, shall we?
In Encounters at the End of the World, filmmaker Werner Herzog, "sets his sights on the rarely photographed beauty of Antarctica." Ha! That's pretty much in contention for first prize in the understatement of the century contest! This is not a movie about penguins. Herzog does more than "set his sights." He pulls you in. He introduces you to the unique quality of highly educated and skilled people who seem literally pulled, as if by it's powerful magnetic force, to the South Pole. We are given snippets of their compelling stories and shown their scientific endeavors on the endless, barren tundra of ice where, for half a year, the sun never sets.
We watch a hole being drilled through eight feet of ice and sit mesmerized, shivering even, as the men, with ice crystals forming on their beards, drop a rope of dynamite sticks to enlarge the hole with the express purpose of putting on a mummy's worth of layers and entering the frigid water that is minus two degrees Celcius. The enormity and shock of the explosion nearly lifts you off your seat.
We watch the silent, almost reverent ritual of the divers putting on their gear and inexplicably, dive without lead ropes, knowing that if they get lost, disoriented or simply drift too far from their six foot wide entry spot, there is no hope of rescue. We follow along as they slowly move through a world of altered space and time. We watch their air bubbles rise and dance across the bottom of the sky blue ice shelf. We see the rhythmic, hypnotic, fluttering of giant, translucent jelly fish, their long tendrils indicating the direction they are swimming. Impressive as it was, I know what a jelly fish looks like. I even know what it's sting feels like!
But even more fascinating were both the microscopic and visible creatures no one has ever seen before. It was a good day for the diving scientists: they found three new species never before known to exist. Three!
We watched as others set up a camera over one of only three volcanoes on the planet where you can actually peer over the edge all the way down to the lava bed. Right there in one incredible spot you have the hottest and coldest extremes on earth! It was, quite simply, an astonishing sight.
All I could think about was how incomprehensible God is, how creative, how mind-boggling. Truly, "The whole earth is filled with His glory!"
Of course, there was all this talk of evolution and the Big Bang. And while I imagine that when the voice of the living God shouted into the void, it was a big bang of sorts, it was difficult not to weep that these very brilliant and dedicated scientists were blind to the God whose handiwork they are so taken with. I wanted to shout at the screen, "He's right in front of you! You're staring at and studying His incomprehensible brilliance! He's revealing Himself to you! LOOK and SEE!"
Tell No One is a thriller extraordinaire! For some reason, this movie has stayed with me like no other in recent memory. I am going to see it again. It's in French with subtitles, but it is not at all difficult to read along and follow the action and suspense. And let me assure you, there is action and suspense! The book made it's author a household name and the film maker deserves highest kudos for making a movie that keeps your heart pumping and your mind guessing from start to finish.
I left the theater praising God for the creativity and skills He has given the human beings He created and adores. As a writer myself, I kept wondering how a complex plot, with all it's requisite twists and turns, became a comprehensible story. The mind of the man who thought it all through intrigued me. The mind of God makes me fall to the ground in wide-eyed wonder and astonishment.
He has given us such imagination and creative powers! Yet it is merely the slightest reflection of His own creativity, imagaination and power. We are created in His image and likeness and when we utilize those things that reflect Him, we are reflecting His never-ending glory to the delight of His own great heart!
Man on Wire (the title comes from the terse lines on the police report) is a documentary, replete with original footage, of Phillipe Petit, the daring tightrope walker from France who "walked" between the Twin Towers in mid-air shortly after they were built in 1974.
It's such a great story! This aspiring tightrope walking Frenchman read an article in a doctor's office about the Twin Towers being under construction and immediately became consumed with the idea of suspending a wire between them and walking across! It's a story of an obsession becoming a reality and the years and commitment to his purpose that were required for him to achieve his dream. It's also a story of a team who worked together to help realize one man's goal; of intrigue and deception to scope out the towers in order to formulate a plan and execute it; and of the power of the mind to accomplish what it desires to do.
There is so much original footage you can't help but think Phillipe himself must have known this was an event that needed to be documented so the story could one day be properly told.
Of course, he pulled it off, or there would be no reason for the documentary! He literally danced on the wire for over an hour, suspended above the ground how many feet in the air? with no net. As if one would have helped at that height....
Not only did he have to take into account the up and down and side to side sway of the wire, but it also twists back and forth like a pepper grinder. Can you imagine? Yet he was so in his element, basking in the realization of his dream, that he was completely relaxed. He laid down on the wire, he walked backward, he did ballet turns. All with a giant smile on his face.
I don't mean to spiritualize every single thing, but that movie inspired me beyond belief. It reminded me that God, who has endless capabilities and potential has armed His creatures with the same. I kept thinking of Phillipe's obsession and all I could think was, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Phillipe believed, truly believed, even when his skeptical friends were fearing for his life and sanity, that HE COULD DO IT. And so he did.
And we can too. If Phillipe could do what he did without the direct intervention of God, just think what any of us can do with any insane, impossible thing God tells us to do. It was eight years from the time Phillipe read the article until he took those first tentative steps onto the high wire. The police were sure he was insane and, quite frankly, so were some of his closest friends. But he had faith. No matter what, he would not be disuaded.
He did the impossible, the unthinkable, the risky.
I can't think of a better epitaph than doing the same for the Kingdom of God and His eternal glory, because He has equipped us with the power to belive and to do "above and beyond anythign we could ask or think." Let's do it!