And then, there are films like The Color of Paradise -- the story of an Iranian man's struggle with an almost unbearable cross that features a searingly beautiful moment of grace that is difficult to forget. The film's director, Iranian-born Majid Majidi, is a Muslim, and would almost certainly object to audiences reading a strictly Christian notion of divinity into his work. Yet the film is a wonder, and it would be a shame not to see its symbolism in all its glory, intended or not.
It is the intention of this column, "Through a Lens, Darkly," to search for, to recognize, and to appreciate these sorts of symbols and ideas, particularly as they appear in the mediums of film and television. And while it is sometimes difficult to look at the typical blockbuster offering as anything other than "sound and fury, signifying nothing," there is much to be said for finding that one charming, "lost" film among the Hollywood ninety-nine.
Fundamentally, as a serious filmmaker (or writer) tells a story that pushes "outward toward the limits of mystery," characters that "act on a trust beyond themselves" will follow close behind. And while we may be surprised to find the sun amidst the bread and circuses of the motion picture world, we should rejoice all the more at finding it there. As long as writers and filmmakers continue this push toward Mystery, we should all be excited -- because we know what (or Whom) they will find at the end of their search.