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Children of Men

September 20, 2007

Finally got around to watching Children of Men last night, following a strong recommendation from a friend.

It made for some grim viewing in the kinda grim that is a staple feature of british soap-opera grim. But it packed a real punch.

The film is set in England in 2027, at a time when the women of the world can no longer conceive. Clive Owen, the male lead, plays Theo who finds himself on the side of refugees seeking to smuggle the world’s only pregnant woman to some utopian idyll where the child can be raised to bring hope to the world. Parallels to the nativity story abound, particularly towards the end.

The most incredible sequence for me, and the most moving, was set in the middle of a militant uprising in a refugee camp. British army personnel, accompanied by tanks, surround a hi-rise housing development where the rebels have made a last stand in the middle of non-combatants, including mother, baby and Theo, who are trying to escape the crossfire. Unsurprisingly the baby cries.

This draws civilians out of the corners to gaze on the baby, the rebels cease their firing, and as the ‘Holy Family’ make their way down the stairs even the soldiers stop the battle. Then mother and child leave the building through the uniformed ranks and the armoured vehicles. Some soldiers cross themselves and kneel, some reach tentatively to towards the baby as if to touch her.

Just for a moment, the war stops at the cry of an infant.

It called to mind for me the words of Psalm 8

"from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger"

From → Film

One Comment
  1. Mitch permalink

    Glenn, I had a similar response, but you pointed out a number of things that I hadn’t thought about. The power of incarnation over violence? The vulnerability of incarnation to violence? Wow. I’ll definitely put this on my list of films for theological analysis in my theology class.

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