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Film reminder of religious persecution

Award-winning movie reveals depth of faith, interfaith leaders say

Film reminder of religious persecution
Father Jacques Duraud reveals he wept when watching the film
Francis Kuo, Taipei

May 5, 2011

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A special screening of an award-winning film in Taipei has reminded many of those who saw it of the religious persecutions in mainland China more than half a century ago.

The film, Of Gods and Men, which won the Grand Prix award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, was screened recently by the Chinese Christian Spirit Community as part of a special film program for interfaith leaders.

The French production is based on the abduction and murders of eight Trappist monks in the 1990s. The story focuses on the kinship and comradeship that existed between the Catholic monks and an impoverished Muslim community in Algeria.

Father David Yen Renji, a professor of mass communications at Fu Jen Catholic University, has watched the film three times.

In a discussion after the movie, he said the film reminded him of religious persecution in China over 50 years ago, when many missionaries and faithful were killed for their faith.

“The situation is the same for the 'underground' Catholic community there today,” the Jesuit priest said.

Retired Reverend Michael Liu of the Anglican Church told the 200 movie-watchers the film shows that some people display their real faith only when they have to make a courageous decision at the last moment.

Tibetan Buddhist, Tulku Palme Khyentse Rinpoche III, of Huafan University said the film also reminded him of the political turmoil in mainland China around 1949 and in Tibet in 1959.

“Religious faith could not change the reality of their situation. But it’s easier to leave everything behind after having tried your best,” he said.

Father Jacques Duraud, director of the Catholic-run Tien Educational Center, revealed that he wept while he watched the film.

He said he was touched by the forgiveness shown, as well as the acceptance of different people in the film.

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