Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Hills are Aliiiive with the Sound of Muuusiiiic

I first saw the Sound of Music when I was in gradeschool. I remember having had warm, fuzzy feelings while singing along to "Doe a deer a female deer" even though I didn't know the words exactly. I'm sure all of you will agree its a fine piece of filmmaking. It hearkens to an era when blockbusters were highly entertaining AND wholesome.

Flipping through the stack of DVDs at home, I saw the movie again last week. Surprisingly, I was singing right along with Maria and the kids once more. I even found the young Christopher Plummer quite attractive.

Today while surfing, I came across an interesting article on this classic.

The Sound of Music offers us our religious inheritance in a form we can all accept. Its plot is a fairytale version of modern Christian history.

The Reformation began with someone leaving a monastery; so does this film. In both cases the motivation for leaving is a conviction that God's grace cannot be confined to a religious institution, but must be expressed in the midst of the world. Because Maria leaves her convent on good terms with her mother superior, we are apt to miss the radicalism of her departure. She is a fantasy-faith version of Martin Luther. The entire plot is a fantasy rewriting of the Reformation, in which the Catholic church is glad to be supplemented by this alternative vision.

She becomes the governess to an aristocrat's children. This is a representative Protestant/secular identity: her role is now economic. And the nature of her work is characteristically modern: to educate and to discipline. Her employer, a widower, seeks order in rational certainty. He has introduced a cold, militaristic atmosphere into his bereaved home. He symbolises the Enlightenment.
Who'd have thought???

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