Suggested movies on Holy Week break

The Holy Week is about to start. If you have no plans of going somewhere, stock on your DVDs and press play. Here are some of my favorite movies.

The Shawshank Redemption. I love the story of human spirit overcoming great travails, full of inspiration, and influence. A story of two kindred spirits inside a prison, and their selfless aim to spread goodness.

Pan’s Labyrinth. A dark-themed fantasy awash with weird creatures, this movie is actually a depiction of Spain’s experiences after Spanish Civil War, especially during the time of Francisco Franco.

Into The Wild. I read the book by Jon Krakauer. And it tears my heart. It tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a student-athlete at Emory University, as told by his sympathetic sister, Carine McCandless. In rejection of a materialist, conventional life, and of his parents Walt McCandless and Billie McCandless, who McCandless perceives as having betrayed him, McCandless destroys all of his credit cards and identification documents, donates $24,000 (nearly his entire savings) to Oxfam, and sets out on a cross-country drive in his well-used but reliable Datsun toward his ultimate goal: Alaska and, alone, to test himself and experience the wilds of nature.

Cinema Paradiso. An Italian film about youth and coming of age. Told largely in flashback to childhood years, it tells the story of the return to his native Sicilian village of a successful film director Salvatore for the funeral of his old friend Alfredo, who was the projectionist at the local “Cinema Paradiso”. Ultimately, Alfredo serves as a wise father figure to his young friend who only wishes the best to see him succeed, even if it means breaking his heart in the process. Heartbreaking.

Little Miss Sunshine. A quirky, family drama of a young girl’s aspiration to join a beauty pageant in California. The journey from their home in New Mexico to California proves to define their self, their family, their individual stories. Amazingly bittersweet.

Across The Universe. Anything Beatles, I like. Period.

The Motorcycle Diaries. It is a biopic about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara. As the adventure centered around youthful hedonism unfolds, Guevara discovers himself transformed by his observations of the life of the impoverished indigenous peasantry. The road presents Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado a genuine picture of the Latin American identity. Through the characters they encounter on the road, Guevara and Granado learn the injustices the impoverished face and are exposed to people they would have never encountered in their hometown. The trip serves to expose a Latin American identity as well as explore the identity of one of its most memorable revolutionaries. My most memorable scene in the movie is during Che’s birthday, and while in the middle of a party for him, he decided to swim to the other side of the river (in pitch black) to be with the lepers. He spent his birthday with the lepers.

Shantaram

I am currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts on my Kindle. I am not yet done with the reading, I think about more than a hundred pages yet, but the narration is so powerful. Take this line:

“One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying.”

According to the author, Shantaram is the 2nd book in the 4part series. The next novel, The Mountain Shadow, is a sequel to Shantaram, and will be published Sep 2010. The third book will be the prequel to Shantaram, and the fourth will be another sequel.

There were plans for a movie adaptation, but has been shelved temporarily after the writers strike years ago in the US. Johnny Depp is said to be the actor who will play the main role. Tentative start of filming is 2011.