The movies that hold my attention are the ones that tell the stories of these amazing men. My all-time top movie is Life is Beautiful, a film by Italian actor and filmmaker, Roberto Begnini. LIB is a most amazing portrait of a most amazing father who navigates his son through the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, while buffering him from all the hatred around him by using humor. It was a gutsy undertaking, this use of a concentration camp to produce comedy, but it is the most powerful cinematic experience I have ever had. Likewise, my favorite Pixar film is Finding Nemo. While Marlin may start off as a dunderhead, prompting a 'what did you expect from Hollywood?' type of reaction, the story shows his transformation into a father who overcomes his own fears and shortcomings and demonstrates he is willing to go anywhere, do anything, to rescue his son. Just lovely, really.
In literature, who can fail to be moved by heroes willing to risk it all for the weak like Sir Percivale Blakeney? Or Jean Valjean? Or Sidney Carton? (While the French revolution(s) produced practically nothing of any temporal value, they at least gave us fodder for some great works of fiction.)
My pick for the 2010 Song of the Year should not surprise anyone. I came upon it quite by accident in the car one day while I was listening to the radio. I rarely listen to Christian radio, for two reasons. First, "pop" is not my musical genre of choice. I prefer straight rock: electric guitars and non-electric drums. Second, Christian music, like Christian books, tends to be theologically limp. I really just can't stomach much of it. So it was just jaw-dropping when this song came on the radio.
"Lead Me" by Sanctus Real nearly reduced me to tears with its spot-on doctrine and its heartfelt cry of a father to overcome his own human-ness and be the man his family needs him to be. Even healthy homes need a sacrificial leader. As if to add depth, I found out that the songwriter, Matt Hammitt, was inspired to write this song after he and his wife found out their pre-born son had a serious heart defect. (I have previously blogged about Matt here)
Without further ado, Carmel Conversations 2010 Song of the Year:
"Lead Me" by Sanctus Real.