Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chariots of Fire

Cinematographer David Watkin died last Tuesday. Watkin won an Academy Award for OUT OF AFRICA which is a movie I loved in 1985 when it came out.  I remember being 16 years old and seeing it by myself in the theater. I was taken in by how beautiful it was. Yep, I was that kind of a movie snob even then.
I must admit that I don't really totally understand what a director of photography (DP) does on a movie. I know that they are responsible for the cinematography which involves how light is shot.  I also know that this is a different craft than directing. Apparently Watkin had an affinity for natural light which makes sense because the three movies I really liked that he worked on seem naturally very pretty to me. Those movies, pictured here in the order that I love them are CHARIOTS OF FIRE, OUT OF AFRICA, and YENTL.
I thought in order to honor Watkin I'd watch one of those movies he had collaborated on. I hadn't seen any of them in ages. Max loves to watch movies so I wanted to go with the one I thought he would enjoy most. I decided to check-out CHARIOTS OF FIRE from the library and watch it with my son. We watched it Saturday night.
I saw CHARIOTS OF FIRE in the theater in 1981 and I remember that it was good, but what I remember even more was being so mad that it beat RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK for the Best Picture Oscar.  I was just as into the Academy Awards then at age 12 as I am now and I was livid.
That said, CHARIOTS OF FIRE is a really great film. I love the sport of running, probably more than any other sport, which isn't saying much, I know.  But, the running in the movie is great. Moreover, I love the character of Eric Liddell because he is such an inspirational Christian leader.
Especially if you have never seen the film, I'd like to share these quotes with you.  They all come from Eric Liddell who is played by Ian Charleson:
"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
"God made countries, God makes kings, and the rules by which they govern. And those rules say that the Sabbath is His. And I for one intend to keep it that way."
"The impertinence lies, sir, with those who seek to influence a man to deny his beliefs!"
You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you're dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.

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