I watched this alone with a biscuit. That was a while ago, in the middle of the 1980s. With so many bums on seats, who would have watched this anyhow? I mean, a stuffy costume drama cum period piece set in the toff part of England. And the religious themes were of interest to only the affiliated, bar a few. But there I was, watching this. One of the few. A British film that signaled the resurgence of the film industry in Britain. Winner of four Oscars including best costumes and best film. A profundity rarely seen on screen some seemed to be saying. A rarely filmed exploration of “the race of faith”.
There I was, alone, watching. Who would but me? I was curious. The guy who would not watch Porkys, Yellowbeard, or the likes of The Missionary. But I would watch this Chariots of Fire (1981). What did I think of this excursion from the norms of childhood read: The Black Hole, Star Wars, Superman, The Muppet Movie, and Mission Galactica? Had I graduated all of sudden into maturity and learnedness?
Chariots of Fire barely moved me then and now, except the ending holds the most bitter sweet touch that brings the bird’s eye view and the nature of life. From like God’s view I saw the transience of life. Two men once both Olympic champions, come to the end of their lives. Both were on top of the world for only a moment, then released into the way of Every Man. Every man will wear the grave, whatever their lives have been, but what will their lives count for? In Chariots of Fire, it’s running the race of life and faith that matters, right to the end.
The Bible has a chapter called “the love chapter” which is 1 Corinthians 13. One of things of this chapter that occurred to me this week was that love “does not seek its own way”. Such a relevant thing. Love does push one’s will on another. Does not manipulate to get a job done. We could do with more love that does not push one’s will on another.
I have come across some odd sayings in my day. But more than odd, they were controversial sayings, but delivered palatably, with even with a hint that it should be accepted. Except when I heard it, I may have had the advantage of my knowledge over others in the crowd.
The controversies were told at church, but if one knows their Bible quite literally, as I do, you would think twice about the saying. You would recognize it as controversial and that it did not quite fit the evidence of the Bible. Maybe they were aiming for mass and consumer acceptance, but I sat there dismayed. Waiting for someone to correct. So here it is. The fallacies that appeared from time to time on my journeys. How do I reply…
Is writing getting into the groove or getting into the zone? We are told writing is a discipline, so wouldn’t getting into the groove and in the zone just be a discipline one applies? But writing in the groove and in the zone is not only disciple and inspiration. It is not only a regular routine. Writing in the groove or in the zone is a state of mind.
Victory (“Escape to Victory” in other territories) was released in American cinemas at the end of July, 1981, that is forty years ago almost to the day. Victory is a sports film with a difference. That was its appeal as I sat down to watch it on home video all those years ago. This film was not my choice, but a soccer mad family member wanted to see it, and wanted me to watch as well. I should not refuse and found the film okay—I reckon, these days, it is a film that may be suitable viewing without having my finger on all the facts, but it was personal for the family member. The story is one of those that would be considered quite interesting family viewing. POW’s (Prisoners of War) in World War II may find their way of escape if they win a football match against their captors. Great idea, even if I did not get fully on board. I would have sooner played a game rather than watch, but sometimes you got to think what others want to watch as well even if the idea smacked of a bit of a phony. But for someone who lived through Nazi Germany, it may a second hand thrill to pull one over their eyes, in the safest way possible. After all, may be that Victory is a reminder that the oppressor did not win.