Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit it ain’t, but Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine is right up there on my list of films to watch.
Augustine is not only one of the greatest saints of the Church, but also one of the giants of Western Civilization. He is the last of the Ancients, and the first of the Mediaevals — and in some sense the first of the Moderns, insofar as his Confessions is the primordial example of the introspection so typical of the modern mind.
Here’s a preview of the movie, which will be released in America next month:
It’s never easy to visually depict the spiritual tension which makes saints, but maybe Augustine’s is one life which lends itself to cinema. His life is full of dramatic tension, which the film exploits:
Born in North Africa, Augustine studied in Carthage, becoming an accomplished but dissolute orator. After converting to Manichaeism, a guilt-free religion, he was called to the imperial court in Milan to serve as an opponent to the Christian Bishop Ambrose. But when the Empress Justina sent imperial guards to clear out a basilica where Augustine’s mother, Monica, was worshipping, her constant prayers and the witness of Ambrose won him over to Christianity. Serving in Hippo in 430 AD, Bishop Augustine urged the Roman garrison to negotiate with the Vandal King Genseric, but they proudly refused. He passed up a chance to escape on a ship sent to rescue him by the Pope, and stayed by the side of his people.
Here’s the website. If the experience of There Be Dragons is anything to go by, Restless Heart won’t get much of a cinema release in Australia, but I’m looking forward to the DVD release!