Breaks my “bunny heart” to know what these bunnies in research labs have to endure for our pleasure and comfort. Did you know that these bunnies often break their backs and other bones trying to get out of these tiny torture chambers? It happens….a lot.
“But we have to test on them to make sure the products are safe for us?” Really? Then how can we explain companies that do NOT test on animals and give us the same products that are effective for our use? We ARE talking about money (yes, yet again!). It is cheaper to use animals and thus products tested on animals are cheaper for us to purchase. The products NOT tested on animals cost cruelty-free companies more more money and is why these products are more expensive to purchase. But can we put a price on broken backs and bones of bunnies?
I do hope you will visit the website for cruelty-free products listed above and consider purchasing only supplies that come from companies that do NOT test on animals. NOTE: If you purchase any product and it does NOT say, “not tested on animals,” or does NOT have the “cruelty free” icons pictured below, then the company’s product either tests on animals OR invests in a second-party company that tests on animals.
It’s really good to know these things, and it’s really good to know that God’s Animals deserve to be treated with love and compassion.
Blessings and love always for ALL God’s People and God’s Animals,
I have had the pleasure of being familiar with Terrence Malick’s films. It started with his film, BADLANDS (1973), which made stars of Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen. Then, there was DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978), which won a well-deserved Best Cinematography Oscar. In 2011, Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE won the Palme D’Or at the 64th Cannes Film Festival; the film was a spiritual- and soul-searching poem that was luminously lyrical. And now, we have A HIDDEN LIFE which is another “tree of life” film where Malick returns to a form that served him well before, but this time the soulful soar is even higher. It’s all the way in the mountains.
A HIDDEN LIFE is based on the true story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer who refused to join the Third Reich to take an oath to Hitler during World War II Nazi Germany. What Franz is subjected to during this conscientious refusal is simply heartbreaking yet truly inspiring! Malick loves long shots that seem to last for an eternity. In fact, Franz spends just a year or less in a prison for his stance, but the trauma and pain that Franz endures feels like a lifetime to him and to us as the viewer. Every image of this film is poetic, an invitation to emotionally delve into what it means to stand up for one’s principles, one’s beliefs, even to the point of death. But it is not death that kills Franz or us; it’s when we have “given up” in our spirit that we truly die.
Malick’s screenplay is haunting and bleeds the Bible from start to finish and gives us a glimpse into the life of a man who, like Jesus Christ, could not be broken from a path to enlightenment, a deep spiritual journey that the world could not possibly comprehend. Franz simply could not be broken from his faith, no matter how much they tried to break him, and they tried to break him a lot. We see so clearly and feel so clearly what they are trying to do to Franz and even we, at times, want to say, “C’mon, Franz, give into them. They are going to kill you if you don’t take that oath!” We don’t want Franz to suffer is why. But Franz won’t listen to them or us. Franz must stay true to who he is in his faith.
“We suffer injustice but we don’t do it.” We suffer for wrongs in their eyes, but we don’t do any wrong in our eyes and God’s Eyes. They can beat us, humiliate us, torture us, but we just don’t let them beat, humiliate, or torture our faith in the One we trust and love. We don’t give them that “in,” even if it means them taking us “out.” Franz inspires all of us to stay the course of faith and love, even when we are challenged to go the route of hopelessness and hate.
What compelled me most about A HIDDEN LIFE is how those who tried to break Franz were left defeated. Many told Franz that what he was doing was admirable but asked, “Who will see this, Franz?” They were suggesting Franz was only living “a hidden life.” What was so inspiring is that when these same people failed to sway Franz’s faith, their dejected looks seemed to say, “I wish I had his faith. I wish I had his spunk. I don’t stand up for anything!” This is what chilled me to the bone, because Franz, in fact, did NOT lead “a hidden life.” Those who were witnesses to his strong faith and tenacity were forever changed, moved to reflect on why they had no passion in their lives and nothing that they really believed in all that much. Or they believed in something, like Hitler and the Third Reich, but knew deep down inside that their beliefs were misguided, misinformed and a “mistake.” Franz left a legacy to all in his midst. He left them all with, “I don’t want to live a hidden life unless it is a meaningful life, a life of devotion to God’s Love and Mercy and Grace. I want a Franz life!”
At the end of the film, Franz’s wife says to him, “I will see you in the mountains.” People who leave behind their flesh to soar in their spirit can always be found in the mountains. We rise to the mountains ourselves in our faith and join those who never gave in but rather gave it all up, including their lives, to find their place in the mountains. When all is said and done and “it is finished,” I pray I will see Franz in the mountains.
Nothing is hidden….nothing! Thank you, Terrence Malick, Franz Jägerstätter and A HIDDEN LIFE, for reminding us that nothing we do righteously shall go unnoticed, that God sees all, and that Love through strong faith will always, and maybe sooner than we think, see the “light of day.”
HOW TO BE is “the little independent train that could” and does capture the true spirit of the true artist.
The film centers around Art, a musician, who is brooding, contemplative, soul-searching, and disconnected from a life of real meaning. Yes, Art IS an Artist. Artists like Art always ask this question: “Is what I create good enough?” Artists will also go even deeper than that with the fundamentally readjusted question of, “Am I good enough?” So, is the character of Art in this film “good enough?” If you ask Art this question at the beginning of the film, he will answer, “No, no, NO!!!!” At the end, Art will tell you while looking in the mirror, “Go out there and get ’em! You’re not a nobody. You’re a somebody!”
The plot of the film is that Art is very unhappy with his music and with his life and when he reads a self-help book by Dr. Levi Ellington entitled, It’s Not Your Fault, Art sends every last dime of his money to this doctor to hire him as his personal life coach. Art pays the doctor 5000 English pounds, which if my calculations are correct is 6521.74 American dollars. That seems like a lot for a personal life coach, but Art is desperate enough and drastic times do call for drastic measures, don’t they? Dr. Ellington, does in fact, help Art quite a bit to face his past demons, which are really his parents, and his current demons that tell him he is a nobody. “You are a nobody” is any demon’s favorite line! Art has some kooky friends who help along the way, and there is a “new” Art at the end of the film who doesn’t give up on “Art” in the word, “Artist,” and I like that. That inspires me very much. Kinda wish my name was Art so this inspiration would apply to me. “Timothy, go out and get ’em! You are not nobody! You are somebody!” I guess I am Art after all.
Robert Pattinson plays Art. Many of you probably know Pattinson from his claim to fame as the vampire, Edward Cullen, in the film adaptations of author Stephanie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga series. I must admit that I have only seen bits and pieces of these series, so I can’t really comment much on Pattinson’s work in these films. I did, however, see Water for Elephants where Pattinson was the lead, and I liked that film very much and Pattinson, as well. It was my understanding that Pattinson was very good in The Lighthouse with Willem Dafoe, but I haven’t seen that film either. With HOW TO BE, I think Pattinson shines as an actor because he makes Art so accessible to us, so genuinely tenacious in his pursuit for a meaningful existence with meaningful relationships to boot. Art helps us to see the distinction between a “good” artist and a “great” artist. A “good” artist is one who knows the rules and follows them. A “great” artist is one who knows the rules but wants to break them. Writer and director of HOW TO BE, Oliver Irving, along with Pattinson, are “great” artists because they break the rules of this story that could have been wildly formulaic. Instead, they both show great courage by breaking the establishment rules to search out the identity and truth of the artistic life and relationships, only in the end to have searched out the identity and truth of non-artist lives and relationships, as well.
Dr. Livingston in the film drops a bombshell for all of us: “When we can accept that we are truly alone, then we can make something out of our lives.” Of course, this doesn’t mean we should withdraw and isolate from others. What it means is that we really are truly alone (what I like to say as, “We’re just not Home yet”), and that’s going to be okay when we can truly accept this. Many of us have God who we believe in, so we never really, truly are alone. But, in essence, we are alone because while we can feel God all around us, we are often still alone with no one in sight when feeling God this way. I don’t know about you, but I pray alone, and that’s going to be okay. I’m sure all this lonely lamenting that this film brought up for me comes from my “hopeless romantic” vibe, but maybe, just maybe, being alone is not the real issue. Maybe the real issue is that when we know “how to be” who we are and when we know “how to be” loving to ourselves exactly the way we are, we know exactly “how to be” as God intended us to “be.” Art did not profess to knowing or believing God, but Art professed to knowing and believing in himself in the end, and that is probably as close to knowing and believing God as one could possibly “be.”
HOW TO BE is a real gem of an independent film. I HIGHLY recommend it!