Sunday, September 08, 2013
The Gospel and the Railway Man
Yesterday we left Belleville early to get to Toronto in time to see a movie I knew nothing about. The Railway Man was debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday evening and shown again on Saturday morning. We stood in a very long line in the rain before gaining entry but we were able to sit together in the elegant Elgin theatre.
I'm so glad we made the effort. Ruth made the choice after daughter Jocelyn, who works for TIFF, invited us to pick a film. It is about Eric Lomax, a young British soldier who was forced to surrender to the Japanese in 1942 and underwent terrible torture when it was discovered that he and others had constructed a radio to hear news from the outside world. Here is the description:
Eric Lomax was one of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the Thai/Burma railway during WW2. His experiences, after the secret radio he built to bring news and hope to his colleagues was discovered, left him traumatized and shut off from the world. Years later, he met Patti, a beautiful woman, on a train and fell in love. Patti was determined to rid Eric of his demons. Discovering that the young Japanese officer who haunted her husband was still alive, she faced a terrible decision. Should Eric be given a chance to confront his tormentor?
This is ultimately a story of reconciliation and forgiveness which is so powerful that at the end the theatre was all a-sniffle.
At the conclusion one of the stars Colin Firth, Lomax's widow, Patti, and several other cast members, producers, and director took questions from the audience. Patti Lomax admitted that she and Eric had never heard of Colin Firth when he was cast, but her late husband was impressed when he saw his photograph on the cover of the newspaper shortly thereafter.
Our gospel message is rooted and grounded in the impossible becoming possible in the reconciling, forgiving love of Christ. While this is not an overtly religious film in any way, it is a deeply spiritual story.
Has anyone heard of this story? Lomax completed a biography with the same title shortly before his death. He did not see the finished film, but he had the chance to go on location near his home.
Doesn't this sound like a good film for another group discussion?