Video Notes

Sex & Love: What’s a Teenager to Do?

Narrated by Mary Beth Bonacci

60 min/color

Gateway Films/Vision Video, 1995

Distributed by Gateway Films, $20

A very engaging lecture to college students by Mary Beth Bonacci on the difficult subjects of sex, love, and chastity. Imagine someone who combines the gifts of a stand-up comic with the commonsense approach of C. S. Lewis and you’ll know what to expect. She reminds us that “sex is not a need, but love is.” Bonacci does not rely on the fear of pregnancy or disease to communicate her message, but on the good and happy life that results from virtuous ordering of the appetites. Her arguments and illustrations create an almost ideal setting for discussing these issues with your children and each other. Especially interesting is her application of “pizza love” to the dating relationship.

Strongly Recommended.


Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz

Starring Leonardo Defilippis

79 min/color

Saint Luke Productions/Ignatius Press, 1995

Distributed by Ignatius Press, $25

Effective one-man dramatization of the life of Maximilian Kolbe. The story, which makes use of vintage photographs and film footage, focuses on the friar’s lifelong devotion to Mary, including his role as a leader and publisher in the movement known as Militia Immaculata. Leonardo Defilippis demonstrates his considerable range in a variety of roles. The narrative, culminating in a powerful depiction of his martyrdom, is enriched by placing the saint’s life in the midst of the historical and cultural turmoil of the 1920s and 30s. Well produced, but the synthesized music, as in most religious videos, is hit-and-miss.



In the Company of Angels

55 min/color

JMR Production, Inc., 1995

Distributed by Ignatius Press, $20

Contains just about everything you need to know about angels, from the perspective of Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. This film manages to cover historical, biblical, theological, philosophical, and spiritual accounts of angels in its hour-long span. The experts are well chosen and well spoken. Although coming from various backgrounds they offer a surprisingly consistent perspective on the persistence of angels in contemporary spirituality. Professor Lawrence Cunningham of the Notre Dame theology department is particularly articulate. Give this video to your friends who think angels are a New Age invention. The producers also take the opportunity to make a judicious choice of artistic renderings of these immaterial beings. Ideal for use in the classroom.



Mary Magdalene: An Intimate Portrait

Narrated by Penelope Ann Miller

43 min/color

Lifetime Television, 1995

Distributed by Stuart Television Productions, $25

Want to understand Mary Magdalene from the perspective of feminist theology? Then this is for you. The narrator tells us repeatedly that Magdalene was a radical woman in a misogynist age. The patriarchial society of the time found Magdalene so strong and threatening that she was transformed into a seductive but repentant prostitute who was once responsible for provoking male lust. From this perspective, Magdalene has been mistreated in the male-dominated church tradition much in the same way Eve was in the Garden of Eden. Instead, we are told, she was most likely Jesus’s “greatest love” and that “without Magdalene the Jesus movement would have died.”

Not recommended.


Nine Months

Starring Hugh Grant, Robin Williams, Jeff Goldblum, and Julianne Moore

Directed by Chris Columbus

1492 Productions, Inc.

‘This adults-only comedy has an unexpected and compelling message, one that is rarely expressed in major feature films these days. Grant and Baird play a couple who have been living together for five years and discover they have conceived a baby, in spite of attempts at birth control. The moments of insight and conversion leading to their marriage and the birth of their child are powerfully rendered, as are the hollowness and loneliness of today’s sexual manners. This movie was clearly let down by its pre-release publicity—its preview trailer contained nothing of its moral substance but only some silly gags about the weak male stomach in the delivery room. The distributor very likely did not think that a pro-life and pro-family comedy had any broad appeal. It looks as if the director of Home Alone has more to offer than clever depictions of lost and bratty children.

Strongly recommended for adult viewers. 


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