Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Priests (검은 사제들)

Saw the movie yesterday with πατήρ; πατήρ actually enjoyed it as a movie, not for its theological points. If you played a drinking game where you had to take a shot for something in the movie that is portrayed as Catholic but isn't really, you probably wouldn't get past the first 30 minutes. (Before the movie's depiction of the rite of exorcism, which would definitely put you over the edge of sobriety.) The movie is interesting for what visual symbols are used to depict authentic Catholicism (icons, censers, cassocks, rosaries, statues of Mary, the use of Latin). Maybe the best part of me was the use of the sequence for Mass for the Day of Pascha, chanted by the assistant deacon (played by Kang Dong-wan) and used for the end credits, which I rarely heard during my Latin trad days, as I usually attended the vigil Mass and slept the next morning. (πατήρ had to identify it for me.)



Also interesting was the depiction of Korean shaman religion in the movie. Accurate? While the Korean Franciscan priest/exorcist (played by Kim Yoon-seok) was "ecumenical" in praising the shaman's effectiveness in expelling demons, the shaman does fail to do so for the high school girl at the center of the movie. (More "traditional" exorcists like Fr. Amorth would probably see shaman religion as being spiritually problematic in its communication with the spirits and use of spells/chants -- contributing to the problem rather than solving it. "By what authority do you cast out demons?")

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