Arts

Anti-gang film Mouse takes top prize

{mosimage}TORONTO - Mouse, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board’s anti-gang film, has won a top prize at this year’s ReelWorld Film Festival.

The film beat out 19 other  submissions as the Best Canadian Short Film. The annual festival, in its ninth year, highlights diversity in film, video and new media.


Doing it right for a world gone wrong

{mosimage}Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy by Peter G. Brown and Geoffrey Garver (Berrett-Koehler, softcover, 216 pages, $21.95).

Reading Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy in Kenya is a powerful experience. Right and wrong relationship live side-by-side here — in technicolour. Wrong relationship is vividly illustrated by slums with no electricity or running water bumping up against the gates of the manicured lawns of this country’s elite.

Right relationship, as defined by the authors, “tends to preserve the integrity, resilience and beauty of the commonwealth of life.” The term’s early Quaker usage is expanded to incorporate scientific and economic concepts that more clearly illustrate what “integrity, resilience and beauty” look like — or how they are violated — in today’s world.

Richard Neuhaus faces Babylon

American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile, by Richard John Neuhaus (Basic Books, hardcover, 288 pages, $31).

You won’t enjoy American Babylon if (a) you’re not loyal American, (b) you didn’t support the Bush administration agenda, or (c) you can get through your day without a pressing need to disparage the philosophy of Richard Rorty and other “liberal ironists.”

The book’s title is provocative in itself — as was its author, the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. The historic Babylon is located just outside Baghdad, where there is nothing more than a series of mounds and ruins, the place having been destroyed by the armies of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. Babylon is mentioned many times and in several symbolic ways in the Bible. About 600 years before Christ, the Babylonian dynasty attacked the kingdom of Judah, captured Jerusalem and exiled the Israelites.

Quest hero meets the supernatural

{mosimage}Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword: Book One, The Annals of Aeliana by Eric Reinhold (Creation House, 227 pages, hardcover $17.99).

There is no shortage of quest-oriented books on the market today, each with its own unlikely heroes struggling against all odds to reach their final goal. With Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword, author Eric Reinhold has also entered into this popular realm of adventure and suspense, but with a supernatural twist. 

Benyamin Cohen connected to his Judaism through Christianity

{mosimage}Why is an Orthodox Jewish man, son of a rabbi, going to church every Sunday?
In My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith, Benyamin Cohen chronicles adventures and lessons learned while attending church services for a year. He talks of how his faith in Judaism was renewed from his Christian experiences. The story was made all the more fascinating as his wife, the daughter of a Baptist minister, had just finished converting to Judaism when he embarked on his year-long journey to explore what churches of various denominations offered.

Children's book tells Craig Kielburger story

{mosimage}TORONTO - Young children’s experiences can have a lasting influence on their lives. For Craig Kielburger, his first trip to help children in South Asia at the age of 12 was such an experience, and he has chronicled it in a children’s book called It Takes A Child.

Kielburger is the founder and chair of Free the Children, a Toronto-based organization that aims to eliminate poverty and exploitation of children around the world through education and social programs, such as Adopt A Village. This program allows families that are confronted with poverty a chance to break out and live successfully, building schools and establishing health clinics among other things.

Holocaust survivor spreads anti-bullying message through film

{mosimage}TORONTO - The story of a Holocaust survivor who uses her experiences to relate messages about bullying, racism and tolerance to students has been captured in a feature documentary.

Stronger than Fire, by Toronto filmmaker Don Gray, captures the powerful tale of Eva Olsson, an 84-year-old woman from Bracebridge, Ont., who discovered a passion for speaking to students more than 12 years ago. She began facing her past after one of her three grandchildren convinced her to do a short presentation at her school.

New understanding of the Old Testament

{mosimage}The Acceptable Year of the Lord: Preaching the Old Testament with Faith, Finesse and Fervour by Karen Hamilton (Novalis, softcover, 475 pages, $35).

I am comfortable speaking to the teaching and miracles of Jesus and I am pretty confident in recounting the stories of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s journeys. Like many other Roman Catholic preachers, I would rather be afflicted by one of the plagues that visited Pharaoh than attempt to demonstrate competency in speaking about the people, places and things of the Old Testament. 

Further to this, I find making connections between God’s chosen nomadic people and the families with whom I worship difficult.

Paul Roorda's art views the Gospel through skeptical eyes

{mosimage}TORONTO - A worn, century-old Bible, powdered blood and butterfly wings aren’t exactly what you’d expect to see in most artwork.

But Kitchener, Ont., artist Paul Roorda says re-using materials in creating his art helps to portray the themes of resurrection and transformation.

In his exhibition “Skeptic’s Gospel and Other Remedies for Truth,” Roorda explores questions about faith and doubt, life and death, humanity and divinity. The exhibition opened March 13 and runs to April 22 at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

National Gallery to host papal art exhibit

{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadians will get the chance to see the differences in art patronage by popes of the 16th century at a rare exhibition this summer at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The gallery will host From Raphael to Carracci, the Art of Papal Rome, an exhibition which will gather together 150 works of art which have rarely been seen outside of Italy or appeared together at one time.

The exhibit was announced at a Toronto news conference hosted by the National Gallery of Canada Feb. 26.

Forgiveness in genocide's aftermath

{mosimage}Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda by Emmanuel Katongole with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Harper Collins/Zondervan, softcover, 176 pages, $16.99).

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson (Harper Collins/Zondervan, softcover, 284 pages, $16.99).

The slaughter lasted for 100 days in the spring of 1994. Some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered — neighbours, friends, classmates.

Lay Germans often said they did not know what took place in the Nazi death camps. Certainly, though, all Rwandans knew about the genocide occurring in front of them. As a nation, they either swung machetes — one by one, face to face, slashing and severing — or they were victims.

Tempting morsels can't convince this skeptic

{mosimage}Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food  by Raoul W. Adamchak and Pamela C. Ronald (Oxford University Press, hardcover, 208 pages, $31.95).

Is your future food going to be organic, genetically engineered or both?

Organic farming and genetic engineering are ultimately a conflict of two world views. Organic agriculture uses the cycles of nature to its advantage and avoids problems by using farm practices such as a more complex rotation system of crops and a low number of animals in a confined space. Biotechnology is locked in the old paradigm of “controlling nature” and is designed to fix problems which often occur because of industrial farming practices. Organic farming is based on biodiversity. Biotechnology, by its very nature, reduces the number of varieties of crops grown and threatens genetic diversity. 

The story behind the Irish invasion of 1847

{mosimage}It was either death or a long voyage to Canada for the Willis family and more than 38,000 Irish immigrants who landed in Toronto in the summer of 1847.

But the story of how that impacted the city of 20,000 and its wave of new citizens who fled from a deadly typhus outbreak and the potato famine of 1845 to 1851 in their Irish homeland has gone untold for more than a century, now to be uncovered in a docudrama called Death or Canada: Fleeing the Famine . It will air on History Television March 16.