by Terry Gilliam
While Time Bandits isn't nearly as disturbing or intentionally thought provoking as Brazil, even when Gilliam's just having fun he can't seem to help himself. I think what I found most intriguing while viewing last night was just how much really good (and downright Orthodox) theology was woven throughout this film. In fact... I don't think this film would have been nearly as funny or effective had Gilliam not had a pretty good command of Christian Orthodoxy.
The scene that brought this to mind most was when Evil's minion points out that "even the Supreme Being can't be all bad since one of his creations was the dark lord himself" (my paraphrase). Followed up by one of my favorite lines concerning digital watches. And of course there is Kevin's question at the end when he ask's God why he allowed for evil in the first place, and God answers "freewill".
I'm not suggesting that Gilliam subscribes to Orthodox Theology, but he is certainly aware of it and at times the jabs he takes at it are very funny ;"the universe is a bit of a botch job.... we only had seven days to finish it." I wonder if most viewers (believers or not) appreciate the depth that this kind of comedy is rooted in.
Another film that comes to mind is the original "Bedazzled" Starring the 60's Comedy team Dudley Moore and Peter Cook (I have no idea if the remake is aware of any actual theology. The trailer I saw suggests not). Based on the classic story of "Faust", Dudley Moore is a looser fry cook who is offered the fultiment of his wildest dreams by Peter Cook, who plays Bealzabub himself. The only thing Dudley really wants is a relationship with a girl who visits the diner daily. So Dudley sells his soul... but he never seems to get the girl. As you can imagine the Devil is completely without scruples and so much smarter than Dudley. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr-Vxu_4ckA He's constantly twisting Dudley's requests to get the better of him. Did I mention Racquel Welsh plays "Lust" ?
Like "TimeBandits", "Bedazzled"uses comedy to weigh all sorts of heady Theological issues in the balance (and to take a poke or two at Christian belief).
I supposed I could be offended by these films but in a way I find them comforting. In a world where even many Christians don't know their doctrinal heritage these films seem like old friends (with a wicked sense of humor). I find that they both sharpen and challenge my beliefs. They may cause me to question why I believe them in the first place. Over the years I've found some things that I've believed have fallen to the wayside, some things I'm still working out... but the most important things have always held true. This sifting process is part of a growing faith.
A faith that can take (and even enjoys a good challenge) and not simply a list of beleifs that I take for granted and ocationally shore up to keep from getting flabby.