November 09, 2007
We don't go to movies all that often, but we went Wednesday night and we chose "Bella," directed by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde and brought to market by Metanoia Productions.
In a sensitive and insightful review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat it is noted that "Bella, based on true events, is an inspirational love story."
They further observe, "Bella won the 2006 Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival, and it is easy to see why, given the ways in which the story touches the heart. Jose is a great role model for a way of life once described by Stephen Levine —l; "to awaken each day into an increasing sense that being loving is even more important than being loved.""
Read the full review at Spirituality and Practice.
Wikipedia also has some good background information for you to read before or after viewing the film including this opening paragraph:
"Bella is a 2006 film directed by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde starring Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard. The film is about one day in New York City and its impact on two people's lives--Jose, a former soccer star, and Nina, who is unexpectedly pregnant. The film took top prize at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival by winning the "People's Choice Award"."
To locate a theater, visit the "Bella" site.
I am no movie reviewer, but I was touched by the film, lifted, and encouraged. Having never visited New York City, I appreciated the loving photography that actually broke the stereotype of a gray and dismal city without a heart.
I also loved how a person of faith and faith itself could be portrayed with sweet and quiet simplicity as a natural part of life and without being preachy. The artists have created a sanctity of life case without getting in anyone's face, condescending with a judgmental attitude, or condemning anyone.
Roger Ebert calls it a "heart tugger with the confidence not to tug too hard."
Edwardo Verastugui allows us to eavesdrop into the heart of a man who has been broken on the wheel of life, but in such a way as to make him more sensitive and loving. His angst has not embittered him, but formed him into a compassionate and caring if not haunted man who can reach out to the character played by Tammy Blanchard in the day of her greatest crisis.
One must watch the whole film to understand its name.
Maria Sallas calls Verastugui "the Brad Pitt of Latin America." Focus on the Family awarded "Bella" an "Appreciation Award" and chronicled some of Versatugui's faith journey that led to him commitment to the film as well as the formation of the company "Metanoia" which produced the movie. Read more here.
I recomend the movie because two days after seeing it I still feel warm and am pondering its scenery, uplifting music, and dramatic artistry as well as the strong yet subtle message.
Not only do we seldom go to the theater these days, but when we do, that is usually it. I don't watch too many films multiple times - only a few - this one will be one of them.
Take a short break from building your dreams and goals and reaffirm and celebrate life by dedicating two hours of your time to see "Bella."