More than ever, watching films seems to be more interesting and moving than reading books and the Catholic film festival (CaFF) is a site where we can see spiritual films with a universal theme in the new media era of spirituality that 200 million people enjoy watching every year.
This year, CaFF was held from October 29 to November 8 on the theme, "Living with joy".
As a romantic poet, John Keats (1795-1821) talked about "a thing of beauty" in his epic poem "Endymion" written 1818: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep a bower quiet for us, and a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing…"
He regarded "joy" as eternal youth, but the joy as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is more spiritual coming from the grace-filled providence of God.
Where can we find such a blessed joy? With what and with whom can we experience joy? Joy is such an essential and vital element of life that everybody is looking for in our daily lives.
Because of the pandemic, the films were also screened on the Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC) with the special intention of giving consolation and hope to those who are searching for the universal meaning of joy, and the essential happiness of human beings. Especially this year, CaFF considered people with difficulties in communication and meeting due to COVID-19.
During the film festival, 39 long and short films from 16 countries, 7 world premieres and 17 Korea premieres were presented.
Among CaFF features were films such as "Opus of an Angel" directed by Ali Zamani, "Letters of Happiness" by Svetlana Sukhanova, "The Fashion Lover" by Marco Pollini, "The Woman" by Otgonzorig Batchuluun, and "The Etruscan Smile" by Oded Binnum and Mihal Brezis, as well as short films such as "Red Balloon" by Avi Federgreen, "Moon Power" by Yoon Dong-ki, "New Year's Eve" by Hao Zheng, "The Man Who Can't Park" by Song Hyun-seok, and "Vera" by Laura Rubirola Sala.
The opening film was the 17 minutes film "Vera" directed by Rubirola Sala of Spain. As a great fan of classical music, Vera enjoys listening to the classics on headphones while working as a nighttime cleaner in the room of the illustrator Miguel.
Fifty-five year old Vera imagines Miguel from the pictures on the wall and the objects on his desk. Miguel also appreciates Vera for her careful cleaning and memos. Their communication begins when Vera finds a button dropped by Miguel.
In spite of the implicit differences in role, their dialogue is kind and warm-hearted. Truly, joy comes from generous attention and thoughtful consideration for each other.
As the most effective element of love in communion, joy in our daily lives witnesses the essence of evangelization as Pope Francis mentioned about "joy" as the key point in his apostolic exhortations, "The Joy of Gospels" (Evangelii Gaudium) on the proclamation of the Gospel in today's world and "The Joy of Love" (Amoris Lætitia) on love in the family.
Truly, joy is the true face and the authentic expression of Christians as St. Paul advises us to be "always joyful" (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
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