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Feb 12th
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CREATION

film_creation2The subject of the film is Charles Darwin, but don't go expecting high seas adventure in exotic ports on board the naturalist's famous research ship, the Beagle. What director Jon Amiel delivers instead is Creation, a mild-mannered, at times claustrophobic, yet moving period family drama about the effect of Darwin's radical theories of evolution on his family life, and vice versa. Scripted by John Collee (best known for his intricate screenwriting on Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World), the film is based on the biographical book "Annie's Box: Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution." Written by Randal Keynes (Darwin's great, great grandson), using a wealth of private family documents, the book focuses on the difficult period during which Darwin produced—and almost failed to produce—his groundbreaking book, "On The Origin Of Species." Paul Bettany stars in the film as a middle-aged, laudanum-taking Darwin, still ill with grief over the death of his young daughter, Annie (a spunky Martha West, in flashback). He also suffers from a more fearsome malaise over the divisive repercussions his scientific observations on natural selection will have on a society based on obedience to "God's plan," as to the authority of "a wise and affectionate parent." Darwin considers it a "wasteful plan" if thousands must die so a few can survive. His colleague Thomas Huxley (a brief appearance by Toby Jones) puts it more succinctly: "You've killed God!" he exults.  The division has film_creation2already begun in Darwin's own household, with his wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly) retreating further into religious faith, turning for spiritual healing to the village vicar (Jeremy Northam),  her "physician of the soul." She thinks Charles is "at war with God," and fears they'll be separated for all eternity, while Huxley exhorts him to "lance the boil," and let the book of his life's work flow out of him. Amiel dresses up what is essentially a domestic drama with some artfully eerie nature sequences, a couple of nightmares, and a poignant encounter between Darwin and Jenny, a wild orangutan from Borneo held captive in the London Zoo. (Indeed, Jenny provides the film's most heartbreaking moment.) The reconciliation between the Darwins feels a bit schematic, but while the filmmakers try hard not to sensationalize the faith vs. science debate, they do dare to suggest that rational thought deserves a place in any evolved society. (PG-13) 108 minutes. ★★★

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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