Film Provides a Glimpse of an Early Schism

By Holst, Wayne A. | Anglican Journal, December 2004 | Go to article overview

Film Provides a Glimpse of an Early Schism


Holst, Wayne A., Anglican Journal


LUTHER

NFP Teleart Production (2003)

Directed by: Eric Till

With: Joseph Fiennes, Alfred Molina, Jonathan Firth, Claire Cox, Sir Peter Ustinov, Bruno Ganz, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Mathieu Carriere and Benjamin Sadler.

ANGLICANS and Lutherans have formally joined forces in Canada but remain quite ignorant of each other's history. This is especially true of their significant, albeit distinct, formative and shared experience of the 16th-century Reformation.

Lutherans have viewed the nuptial motives of Henry VIII with dismay. His reasons for reestablishing the Church England have sometimes appeared to them as "Catholic Lite"--with no substantive difference. Anglicans, on the other hand, have cast a disparaging eye on Martin Luther, viewing him as a potty-mouthed German buffoon whose views of both the English monarchy and church were often uncomplimentary.

Anglicans, at least, will find a partial remedy for dated prejudices in the release of Luther. This is a beautiful English-language movie Filmed in Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic, and funded with German and American money. It premiered recently in Canadian theatres, a full year after its debut in the United States, with a substantive story line and a cast of several well-known actors.

Times have changed for viewing a film of this kind in Canada. When a genera/circulation, black and white movie entitled Martin Luther came out in 1953 it was banned in Quebec. We are now a very different secularized, multi-cultural and multi-faith nation. With the arrival of this modern Luther production, ecumenical audiences can together discover one of the most influential figures in human and religious history.

Luther, though rather maudlin in places and obviously partial to its subject, puts a human face on a complicated man caught up in complex times. The story moves energetically and the script is not weighed down by heavy narrative or theology. …

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