Neon God we pray

The Last Supper

“When it was evening, he took his place at the table with the twelve”
~Matthew 26:20

How much of a difference can art make to history? Whether its the canvas or LEGO bricks, the imaginative capabilities of a human mind can draw abstract assumptions from what’s visible or invisible to the eye. We build our belief around a boundary which makes us feel safe. What we can’t explain draws a sense of insecurity and fear in us.

There’s history and there’s imagination. Imagination doesn’t work like history. And history doesn’t work like imagination. A secret embedded in either one doesn’t really alter the other.

A deductive leap or an assumptive step? This holistic viewpoint derives from the three hours I spent in a cinema hall last Saturday watching one of the most controversial movies of this time – “The Da Vinci Code“.

“The Da Vinci Code” is a spectacular piece of story telling. An excellent mind-bending film made on the best selling novel of the same title. I haven’t read the novel but ironically it’s the best-selling book in the history after the Bible. Rather than giving a detailed relational perspective on theology, history and the basis of Christian belief, I would merely ploy with a question that my good friend asked me that evening after we left the theatre. He asked “You are a Christian. Has the film affected your faith?” I thought about it for a while, and affirmed with a “No”. We went to a pub nearby, relaxed with a bottle of beer, played a game of pool, and discussed about the various cinematic affluence’s of the film. It surely had an impact, if not on my faith, on my mind.

The next morning I woke up contemplating. So I went on an Internet expedition with my morning tea to unravel a more rational (if there’s anything called “more rational”) perspective on the concept. I spent almost an hour reading on a host of issues and the so-called “secret” behind the conceptual storyline, which was the crux of the matter in the film. I came across a series of articles and e-papers referring to this one particular documentary made in 2005 (unleashing the novel much before the movie came out) which takes a more investigative stand on the whole argument. After much looking around and a second cup of tea, I finally found this documentary titled “The Real Da Vinci Code” over at Google Videos. It was first broadcasted in UK on Channel 4 in February 2005. I spent the next 1 hour 42 minutes watching this documentary and demystifying the subject. It examines the historical plot around the Holy Grail, the Priory of Sion, Mary Magdalene and the Holy Blood(line). I would personally recommend watching this documentary as much as I would recommend watching the movie itself.

Coming back to the movie, a quick review: I felt Tom Hanks underplayed his role. Audrey Tautou looks beautiful and carry’s her baggage well. The indoor architecture of some of the Church’s just awed me. The pace of the movie kept me glued although I felt that it dragged a bit during the second half. The composition had drops of anti-feminism. Loved the last bit of conversation between Hanks and Audrey. Well directed overall.

I wonder now how much engrossing the movie is as a work of fiction (because the facts lack a backdrop). How would this have affected the controversy surrounding the novel and the film, IF say the female lead was of an Afro-French race? Religion binds us where colour separates us, and during this generation’s old journey religion is protracted as a way of social ruling. I’m not religious. I’d rather be spiritual because I’m a liberated soul in this universe only searching my way back home to my Creator. Hanks stated at the Cannes Film Festival that he and his wife saw no contradiction between their faith and the film, as “My heritage, and that of my wife, suggests that our sins have been taken away, not our brains.”

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence

What really matters is what you believe.

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