A Rare Hollywood Success at Putting Religion and Literature on the Screen

If a recent attempt to rework a Shakespeare play for the modern stage fell short, it’s hard to imagine Hollywood succeeding at turning the life of a deeply religious author of challenging fiction into a movie. But Christopher Scalia believes that a new film about the great southern author Flannery O’Connor does just that. The director and co-writer, Ethan Hawke, manages to depict O’Connor’s life while weaving in scenes from her stories and novels:

O’Connor created some of the greatest short stories written in English, in addition to two novels and countless letters that reveal the depth of her faith, the superiority of her craft, and the bite of her wit.

Hawke’s film, Wildcat, is marvelous, and he proves himself a worthy steward of O’Connor’s work and legacy. This film will thrill her readers and attract new ones.

One of the film’s strengths is that it consistently presents O’Connor’s faith on her own terms, including moments of doubt and struggle, in part by incorporating passages from her letters and the prayer journal she kept. . . . “Please help me get down under things and find where You are,” we hear her pray.

O’Connor’s gritty fiction bristles with off-putting characters and sudden, often violent depictions of the workings of divine grace. As she put it, “My own feeling is that writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eyes for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable.” Wildcat’s mini-adaptations capture what she elsewhere called “distortion . . . that reveals,” the downright strangeness of the stories.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Film, Literature, Religion


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict