Monday, May 17, 2010

The Village (2004)

Oh, if we could but fully understand how a soul cannot reach...the wisdom of the riches of God...without entering the thicket of many kinds of suffering, finding in this her delight and consolation; and how a soul with an authentic desire for divine wisdom wants suffering first in order to enter this wisdom by the thicket of the cross. ~ St. John of the Crosss, The Spiritual Canticle
 The M. Night Shyamalan film The Village (2004) is like a mystical parable. St John of the Cross, in his poems and commentaries The Dark Night and The Ascent of Mt Carmel and even in the Living Flame of Love speaks of darkness and blindness as states in which one proves the love for the Beloved. In the film, the blind young girl is the only one able to save her beloved, wounded for love of her. The Spiritual Canticle emphasizes the "wound of love." "Why, since you wounded this heart, don't you heal it?" The soul must not fear the "wild beasts" while going through the "woods and thickets" to find healing for the Beloved, just like the girl trying to avoid the "monsters" in the woods.

In the film, the lovers pledged themselves "in the serene night," "the tranquil night." In The Village the maidens must "stay away" from the "outskirts." The emphasis on solitude in the poems of St John, especially in The Dark Night where it says "in a place where no one else appeared" was similar to the scene in the film where the young maiden realizes she must make the journey alone. Only pure love and self-sacrifice in the blindness of faith can save the one she loves.

On another level, I find The Village interesting for the portrayal of flight from the world. It has long been a Christian practice to withdraw into the desert to find God and peace. However, as the Desert Fathers discovered, we can never escape the our own human nature and the wounds of original sin. In the pristine refuge of Covington Wood, people fall in love with the wrong people, there is jealousy, and even hatred. The elders must keep the youngsters in line through the terrifying story of monsters in the woods, so that even in the safety of the wilderness the children are afraid. While we are in the flesh, there is no escape and the only true refuge is the Lord.

2 comments:

Cecilia said...

That is some movie. I like it very much and thought about for some time as you have well written. THank you.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank YOU, Cecilia!

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