Recognizing the power that films have to influence and reflect the human condition, on the eve of the Academy Awards we present our own
2004 CINEMA IN FOCUS 4-STAR AWARDS:
Best Picture: “Hotel Rwanda”
“Hotel Rwanda” tells the true story of one brave man who stands up to the terror around him and saves the innocent lives of 1,200 of his neighbors. Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) was the hotel manager of one of the most prestigious resorts in Rwanda when the President of his country was murdered and a calculated extermination of the Tutsi tribesman was perpetrated by the Hutu tribe. This modern parallel to “Schindler’s List” is as much about the transformation of one man as it is about the saving of a generation of people.
Best Picture Depicting Spiritual Values: “The Passion Of The Christ”
“Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friends.” These words are spoken by Jesus (James Caviezel) in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” as a flashback during his excruciating beating and crucifixion. Placed within this context, it is clear that Gibson’s purpose in the film is to portray Jesus in the final hours before his death, not as a reluctant victim, but as the willing sacrifice sent by God to accomplish his eternal purpose.
Best Picture Depicting Community Values: “Miracle”
Based on the true story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team who defeated the Soviet Union for the first time in 20 years at the games in Lake Placid, NY, “Miracle” is an inspiring film that even non-sports enthusiasts can enjoy. The reality that this group of young men could defeat a Soviet team that was the “best in the world” was a victory that lifted the sagging spirits of our nation at that time. It is their relentless commitment and unfailing faith in their coach and each other that brought this “miracle” to life.
Best Picture Depicting Personal Growth: “Bobby Jones, Stroke Of Genius”
Overcoming his problem with an explosive temper and instead demonstrating extraordinary character and impeccable integrity, in 1930 Bobby Jones became one of the most respected athletes of all time. In his inspiring life story, we have an example of what sports could be if we were to remove big money from professional sports. His lasting legacy is America’s greatest golf tournament, “The Masters” in Augusta, Georgia that he built upon his retirement.
Best Actor In An Inspirational Role: Ben Tibber in “I Am David”
“I Am David” follows the life of a young 12 year old boy from his experiences in a 1950’s slave labor camp in the Soviet system to his redemption and restoration in the world to which he escapes. It is a triumph of compassion, where the kindness of strangers reveals the ability of love to conquer evil. What happens to David in the end is symbolic of true spiritual redemption.