Feb 15

Director: Peter Yates. Cast: Kate Nelligan, John Malkovich, Linda Hunt, Ronald Pickup Oliver Cotton.

Eleni is based on the true story of a Greek peasant mother named Eleni Gatzoyiannis, who heroically resisted the Communist violence in the town of Lia in Greece in 1948. Years later, Nicholas Gage, her son, now an American journalist, goes searching for his mother’s killer. During the war, when the Communist militia spread terror in Greece, the little boy Nikola was sent to his father working in America. Eleni planned to join them later. But she is soon shot by the rebel firing squad for her attempt to save her other children from violence. Nikola goes to Greece to seek out and take revenge on his mother’s murderers. He also interviews one of his former neighbours who was forced to testify against Eleni in order to save her own family from execution. When the Communist rebels took over Lia, his home village, field mines were planted around the village to prevent anyone from leaving. They tried to force Eleni’s eldest daughter to join. But Eleni burnt the girl’s leg wit a hot poker to prevent her on grounds of disability. The guerilla leader took the next daughter and then tried to capture all the village children for Communist indoctrination. Eleni secretly smuggled the children out of the village. She was tortured, tried, and executed along with several others. Nikola reconstructs the whole story. At one dramatic moment, he comes face to face with the killer, Katis, who has now settled quietly in Greece. But Nikola undergoes a moral change effected by the memories of his mother’s love and heroism. He renounces vengeance and returns to his family, with whom his emotional bond had become strained under his hatred for the killers. The film thus becomes a celebration of family devotion, forgiveness in the face of cruelty and a condemnation of dehumanizing political ideologies that destroyed millions of lives.

Director: Raymundo Calixto. Cast :Pedro Telémaco, Dad Dager, Juan Carlos Gardié, Alan Ciangherotti, Aroldo Betancourt, Mateo Pastor, Daniela Spanic, Iván Tamayo

This inspirational movie covers the key aspects of this Afro-Peruvian saint who was a miracle worker and a great lover of animals and nature. At a time when slavery and racial discrimination were widespread, Martin transcended these evils and won the hearts of all people. Martin was born in 1579 in Lima, Peru, to a Spanish nobleman and a freed black slave. Martin was black, like his mother, while his sister was white, like their father. Their mother brought them up, with great sacrifice. Even from early childhood Martin showed extraordinary piety and love towards the poorest. He had the gift of healing already when he was apprenticed to a barber and medical man. He wanted to become a priest. But the prevailing racial laws would not permit him to be admitted as a regular aspirant to monastic life or priesthood. But his insistence led them to admit him as a “donated” servant. This meant that he had to remain as a servant doing menial jobs like gardening, kitchen work, etc. His devotion, humility and healing power made him a legend. He miraculously saved many lives. He faced racial insults, and doubts about his medical practices. But he displayed extraordinary miracles like levitation and bilocation and also the power to control animal behavior by communicating in their language. A most self-effacing moment was when he offered himself to be sold as a slave to save the monastery from financial crisis. Later, the superiors admitted him into the order as a regular Dominican Brother. When plague broke out in Lima, he attended to the sick and the dying and saved thousands of lives. When there was no room for treatment, he took the sick into his own room for care. This was against the monastery rules. When his superior questioned him about this, Martin humbly reminded the superior that charity should take precedence over rules. Saint Martin de Porres is a unique saint of modern times, honoured as the patron saint of racial harmony, mixedrace people, barbers, inn-keepers and public health workers.

Dr Gigy Joseph

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