Thursday, 17 November 2011

THERE BE DRAGONS BRITISH DIRECTOR IN TOWN

Roland Joffe (Oscar winning director of THE KILLING FIELDS, THE MISSION and CITY OF JOY) will be present at the screening of his latest movie 'There be Dragons' at Strathmore University on Monday, 21st November. Joffe will hold at press conference at Strathmore University at 5.00pm . It will be followed by a cocktail at 5.30pm, and the screening of the movie at 6.30pm.

About the movie
THERE BE DRAGONS is an historical adventure-action-drama, produced and directed by Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields, City of Joy, Captivity), that evokes the youthful years of St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975), who inspired the foundation of Strathmore. St Josemaria insisted Strathmore would have to be multiracial at a time when education was segregated and multiracial institutions were forbidden by the colonial laws.

St Josemaria's insistence made it possible for the Kenyan Colonial Assembly to pass a special resolution allowing the beginning of what would become the first multiracial college in English speaking Africa. The movie which was released this year comes at a very fitting moment when Strathmore is marking its 50 anniversary.

In this film St Josemaria is played by Charlie Cox (Stardust). Robert (played by Dougray Scott) is a journalist who, on investigating the figure of the founder of Opus Dei to write an extensive report, discovers that his father, Manolo (played by Wes Bentley), with whom he has had no relationship for the past eight years, was a friend of Escrivá during his childhood. From that moment, the plot leads the journalist and with him the viewers, to discover unimaginable surprises that would change his life forever.

'There Be Dragons' features themes such as betrayal, love and hatred, forgiveness, friendship, and finding meaning in everyday life. Director Roland Joffé said 'There Be Dragons' is "a story about people trying to find meaning about their lives." Joffé, who was nominated for Academy Awards for his films The Mission and Killing Fields, describes himself as a wobbly agnostic.

He said he was "very interested in the idea of embarking on a piece of work that took religion seriously on its own terms and didn't play a game where one approached religion denying its validity." 'Reconciliation matters' is the main take away message that Joffé expects from the viewers. Life, he said, is an opportunity to love: "It's a choice, and in making that decision you become free. You do not become free when you hate. The weird thing is when you really love, you feel it like a breath of freedom, you think 'Oh my God, I've chosen this, and it's beautiful'."

He emphasized that Christianity is about love and the teaching of St. Josemaría "encourages a spiritual relationship with God in 'very simple things,' in cooking a meal, being with one's family, or even having a fight." Joffé states that this is "a film about what it means to be a saint in this day and age."

The New York Times, which called the movie a religious epic, reported that Joffé agreed to make the movie "after he saw a video of Escrivá answering a question from a Jewish girl who wanted to convert to Catholicism. Escrivá told her that she should not convert, because it would be disrespectful to her parents. 'I thought this was so open-minded,' Joffé said." At that point, Joffé signed on to direct, with the condition of writing a new screenplay from scratch and becoming a producer. Writer Elizabeth Lev says that the film portrays Josemaría Escrivá "as a new kind of hero in an era of hatred and fratricidal fights." This is especially relevant to the current situation in East Africa which has its share of wars and fratricidal fights.
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