Archives for posts with tag: Catholic Church

Philomena

Philomena is a film adaptation of a book by Martin Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan in the movie) narrating the story of Philomena Lee (played by Judi Dench), an Irish woman who got pregnant, was disowned by her family and ended up in a convent, where she had to work (seven days a week in the hardest taks) for 4 years (for the privilege of seeing her child an hour per day), and had her son adopted. Now (2002) that he would have been fifty she tells the story to her daughter, who tells Martin (who has been ‘resigned’ from his post as a spin doctor, after years as a political journalist and correspondent for the BBC). He is initially dismissive of the ‘personal interest’ story that he sees as well below his talents (he insists on writing a book of Russian history that nobody shows any interest on), but eventually takes it on.

The Magdalene Sisters

The Magdalene Sisters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I have not read the book, Steve Coogan who’s also written the screenplay, has made an excellent job of both, narrating the journey of the two characters, and also making their interaction and relationship the winning element of the story.
The background of the story (a true story) has been told before, and it is terrible (The Magdalene Sisters). How any religious creed could be used to imprison, and separate mothers from their children, is difficult to believe. And when you get to know that they even charged for the adoptions, it’s the last straw. Sister Hildegard’s character in the film is a true embodiment of the worst of religion, and the fact that Philomena can be gracious with her only makes her more of an exemplary and sympathetic character.
What Philomena does differently is show the ambivalence and the doubts of this woman, who is still religious, who remains devoted to her Roman Catholic faith, and who continually subverts the expectations of Martin, who sees her as an old woman of little understanding or subtlety, whilst by the end we get to appreciate her resilience, non-judgemental attitude and generosity. And like in all best relationships, they are both changed for the better by getting to know each other.
Is it a sad movie? Well, the story is sad, the background story is appalling and outrageous (and indeed something should be done to help these mothers find their children), but the balance between sad and funny moments, the beautiful interaction between the characters, and the personality and attitude of Philomena makes it inspiring and upbeat.
I love Judi Dench and she is perfect and as generous a performer as she always is. As much as I love my mother I would happily adopt her character as mother too. Steve Coogan demonstrates that he can carry a serious part more than competently, and his writing is superb. One also gets the sense that making the film must have been a joy.

Stephen Frears at the 2006 Cardiff Film Festival.

Stephen Frears at the 2006 Cardiff Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course Stephen Frears is a great director and he serves the story without embellishments or unnecessary stylistic flourishes.
I thoroughly recommend Philomena. It will make you reflect, look at your family in a different way, and will warm the cockles of your heart.
And if you want more stories of unfair adoptions and uprooting, I would recommend Oranges and Sunshine and Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Thank you for reading, and if you have enjoyed it, please remember to like, comment and share. And go and watch the movie!

 

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As usual every Friday I bring you a guest author. This time is Eduardo Perellón. You’ll be surprised to hear that I did not meet Eduardo through Twitter (hooray!). I met him through the Facebook group of authors writing in Spanish that I’ve mentioned before. You already know Manuela Herrero Palomar and Judith Priay, two of its members. Eduardo not only has written a fascinating novel (and he tells us all about the process of writing it) but has a fabulous blog where he talks about a variety of themes, and also has guest authors. I’ve had the honour of being one of his guests and he did a fabulous job. Now it’s his turn to be my guest.

Without further introdution I leave  you with Eduardo.

Eduardo Perellón.

Hello everybody. My name is Eduardo Perellón.

FOTO[1]

I was born in Madrid in 1966. Although I never went to university and my job is not related to literature, I’m passionate about research and that has allowed me develop my natural interest in writing following a fact that would completely change my life. I had just finished reading ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert L. Stevenson, and I was so impressed by the way he told the story using first person narrative that I felt an irresistible impulse to write my own stories. As soon as I finished reading I knew I wanted to be a writer. That’s how ‘Passage to Death’, my adventure at the helm of an impossible expedition to Mars, was born. That attempt at writing a novel has remained locked in a drawer forever.

I am a keen rambler, diver, cook and reader, and I used to keep detailed travel notebooks with my daughter where we would write daily about our adventures during our trips, including gastronomic entries of the area visited, in an attempt to awake the bug of writing on my daughter at the same time as satisfying my own need to tell stories.

My working life has been centred for the past 20 years around the construction industry, managing several companies. Currently I’m part of the teaching staff at a College where I teach classes on bricklaying, plumbing and on how to become an electrician to adults from underprivileged backgrounds and youths that have been excluded from the standard educational system. This I combine with my true vocation: writing novels.

In 2006 I began my first serious project, one that in contrast with previous attempts would see the light: a novel “No a nosotros, Señor”. (“Not to us, Lord”)

NOANOS~1

The novel that has behind it 3 years of hard research work was self-published in paper in June 2009 and it had a very limited distribution, until it was finally completely removed from the shelves. I used this failed work as a testing ground, because after hearing compliments, suggestions and constructive criticism I spent 3 more years improving it. I introduced new characters and developed the existing ones, I proofread the novel correcting grammar and spelling, I increased the tension and altered the ending…all steps that increased its quality considerably.

Finally, in 2012 a new novel was published: “El pozo de Harod” (“Harod’s well”), which replaced its predecessor and I submitted to several writing competitions.

EL POZO DE HAROD[1]Amazon España:

http://www.amazon.es/EL-POZO-DE-HAROD-ebook/dp/B009NCW3NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355220182&sr=8-1

Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/EL-POZO-DE-HAROD-ebook/dp/B009NCW3NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355220182&sr=8-1

A digital publishing company showed interest, and its commercialisation through that company was a preparatory step for its self-publishing first in Amazon, where is available as an e-book, and afterwards in CreateSpace, that allows for its commercialisation in paperback format (this should be available in the next few weeks). As it’s the case for many independent (indie) authors, all the work of writing, editing and proofreading, and formatting I did them myself.

What’s the novel about? This is its synopsis:

Toledo, 1485

The Inquisition condemns a man for allegedly belonging to a Secret Society enemy of the church.

Madrid, 2012

Carla Martín loses her father. His two closest friends are murdered in very strange circumstances around the same time…

This is the starting point of an adventure whereby a vertiginous series of events culminates in the revelation of the true identities of the three dead men and the impressive secret they were protecting, a secret that if revealed could topple down the Catholic Church.

The Vatican, under the leadership of Cardinal Candutere, and guided by their wish to protect themselves, follows two courses of action in parallel very similar to those that use to be habitual in the dark times of the Inquisition.

Several episodes of intense action, with murders, betrayals, false alliances, clues and discoveries culminate in a surprising ending that will affect, not only the direct protagonists of the story, but the whole of Humanity.

Although this summary sounds like “the usual thing”, I can assure you that “Harod’s Well” has a completely different approach and style to other action and adventure thrillers with a religious background. And what should I say about the ending…

Going back to my work as writer (such a huge word), and despite the time spent in the improvements and marketing mentioned above, I’ve carried on working from the latter months of 2010 on 3 new projects:

  • El enigma de Calaf” (The enigma of Calaf), that is quite advanced in its writing process. As you can see it has a cover and a synopsis:

EL ENIGMA DE CALAF[1]

Synopsis:

Álvaro Rodero, a new writer, has just finished self-publishing his first novel, but has not succeeded in its distribution.

One day he received a strange call from an unknown and eerie character who has a very special proposal: He will get his book sold all over the world if the author does something for him. The task he proposes is rather dark and dangerous: he has to recover a mysterious sword forged in 1212 and surrounded by a macabre legend. And all that before 5 ritual crimes are committed using it.

  • “Favia”, a mystery that takes place in the Middle Ages and it’s told from a first person point of view.
  • “El pocarropa”, a biographical novel about the character of a very special man and his adventures during the Spanish Civil War and afterwards, narrated in a crime novel style.

Apart from these projects, I also regularly blog (my blog page is called “Así lo pienso, y así lo escribo” [“That’s what I think, that’s what I write”]) where I include not only reviews of my readings and interviews with other authors, but also music, cookery, and personal musings about a variety of themes. The link is:

www.eduardoperellon.blogspot.com

I’m also in Facebook:

www.facebook.com/eduardo.perellon

And Twitter: @EduardoPerellon

And I have  webpage:

www.eduardoperellon.com

Through any of these means you can get in contact with me and leave me your suggestions, opinions and comments.

I invite you to check my work. In all honesty, despite the initial difficulties, that I confess without embarrassment, I believe it’s worthy of attention. You’ll be the ones to judge…

And thank you very much to all, particularly to my partner in crime Olga Núñez Miret for lending me her space and introducing me.

Best wishes.

Thank  you very much Eduardo for sharing your adventure as a writer, the process of writing you novel, and also your new projects. Very intriguing…

Just remind you of my new Young Adult Novella ‘Twin Evils?’ and of course, next week….more.

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I am not here to convince you of anything, I am just sharing my personal experiences

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