The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

FANTASIA: Why Let Me Make You A Martyr gave me an aha moment

Some members of the cast were @ Fantasia for the special screening of Let Me Make You A Martyr - Gore Abrams, Niko Nicotera, Slaine, Sam Quertin Photo by Vincent Fréchette for Fantasia International Film Festival. Marylin Manson was absent due to health issues.

Some time ago I read the very moving novel Night by recently deceased Nobel Prize winning author and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Here is a quote from an analysis of the book's first chapter:

One of the enduring questions that has tormented the Jews of Europe who survived the Holocaust is whether or not they might have been able to escape the Holocaust had they acted more wisely. A shrouded doom hangs behind every word in this first section of Night, in which Wiesel laments the typical human inability to acknowledge the depth of the cruelty of which humans are capable.

When Elie and his family arrive at Auschwitz the Nazis asked them to remove all their clothes and shoes. The young Elie, then 12, had mud covering his boots and somehow the soldiers did not notice the boy had kept them. I was hit with an insight that this was how God acted to assist Elie in the nightmarish episode of his life, a whisper from God that he was protected. I make this link to the holocaust because the movie shares similarities, much lighter of course in the movie than in the historical carnage, in terms of the degradation and cruelty people do to other humans.
 •  I expected to see an action film fraught with revenge killings in this movie written and directed by Corey Asraf and John Swab. I was excited by the involvement of Marilyn Manson because he is a master of visual language as well as being a gifted musician. I found instead a dreamlike recollection where the plot moves fluidly and symbolically between the past, the present and eternity. What stood out for me as the movie evolved was the underlying question about the relationship we have with a great mystery we have called God and if that mystery is a good and omnipotent creator WHY do so many horrific things happen to us: "If God is here, he is a #$@%! ..." says one character as his life is threatened. And then later Drew ( Niko Nicotera ) replies to a person that he once witnessed a tornado and its aftermath of chaos and destruction. And there in the midst of ruination stood a fawn and he told himself :"That is what God is!" And it hit me like thunderbolt because I intuitively thought the same thing about what God might be but could not express it! God, life, always springs back up, reborn amidst annihilation and horror.

The protagonists of the story, Drew Glass, Niko Nicotera,  and his June Bug, June Glass, Sam Quertin, are in love in the most depraved small American town: betrayal, drug addiction, child abuse, prostitution, and murder are the background of this hopeless affair. Like the quote above they wonder about how to escape the madness they have been trapped into by forces beyond their control. The acting is solid even if there are elements of confusion in the story line due to the back and forth of the story's time frame. But I got that this was not the essential message of this action / love-story film, and I didn't care because my aha moment put everything in perspective for me.

I hope you will get an aha moment from this film too.

-LENA GHIO

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