Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bonhoeffer - A Documentary Review

We recently watched the documentary film Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister. Our whole family watched it together, and the children were enthralled. (Of course, Nelson and Joshua got their guns to shoot Hitler.)

The film was very well done. There was black and white photos, black and white film, readings from Bonhoeffer's original writings, and interviews with his surviving family members and friends. The film uses mostly primary sources for history, and that pleases me. However, there were some modern day theologians interviewed for the film as well... this I thought could have been left out. Perhaps they were able to offer a little enlightenment, but I felt like the quotes taken from Bonhoeffer's own works did that much better!

I thought that the film was very tastefully done, in that it covered a hard topic in a brief way (only 90 minutes). Not only that, but they established that Hitler was a "mean man" (as my children say) without showing piles upon piles of bodies. Yet, at the same time, there was some scenes that showed dead bodies, destroyed Jewish dwellings, etc. It did not show anyone being killed... just some of the aftermath.

One of the things I found interesting about Bonhoeffer's theology was the way he did not want to see the church divided. He points out that the church is the body of Christ, and asks "can Christ's body be divided?" A thought-provoking question indeed. And, we see Bonhoeffer working within ecumenical groups to aid the suffering Jews.

It is also very interesting to see a man working through the idea of Christian ethics where there is an evil dictator. Wow! That is certainly food for thought. How does one read Romans 13 when people are being led to the slaughter? I am certainly interested in reading this answer by Bonhoeffer's own hand, in his book called Ethics.

I recommend watching this film with your older children. It would definitely count as school work! Just so you know, I am leaving huge chunks of history out of this review, because I don't want to "spoil" the film for you! It really is very intriguing!

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