1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Way Back

The Way Back 

Director Peter Weir has taken a controversial book and made a great film. The book is The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz. The Way Back is inspired by the book but does not pretend to be a "based on a true story" kind of film because it cannot be verified that what the Polish author (who was indeed imprisoned by the Soviets) actually made the journey or if someone else did or whether it happened at all. There seems to be evidence that something did happen along the lines of escaped prisoner trekking from Siberia to India during the Second World War.

This is a film that probably can be used in the form of film clips but would not justify viewing the entire film for the purposes of understanding Stalin and his particular form of evil. But it is a great film for understanding that the weakness of kindness can actually be a strength that restores humanity to a person.

Enter Irena 

Derived from the name of a Greek pagan goddess of peace, Irena does bring peace but also an opportunity for the characters to grow more human. Irena tells a tale of being a farm girl who witnesses the murder of her parents at the hands of the Soviets and is then sent for work on a collectivized farm. She escapes. Mr. Smith puts her story to the test by Irena's improbable geography. The truth is, her parents were Polish communists who emigrated to Russia during the salad days of the post-Revolution period but are later arrested by Stalin's regime. Irena is placed in an orphanage.

Irena serves as a bridge between the men, allowing their own crimes and evil to rise to the surface. The admission of the past is not something that destroys them but serves as an opportunity for grace and forgiveness. She exhibits the feminine genius of at once disarming and empowering men to be more themselves.

For how she does it one must watch the film.

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