Tag Archives: Romance

The Hedgehog

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I’d like to start this post by saying a big thank you to Jamal Jivanjee for encouraging not only me, but also all of his blog readers, to watch this film. I’d definitely suggest that, if you have not yet done so already, you check out his blog here. Jamal recently asked me to review this film on his blog, which was a wonderful experience. I have also written a review below. I’d love for you to watch this film and share your insights below.

The Hedgehog is a French film that follows the story of eleven-year-old Paloma (Garance Le Guillermic). She is no ordinary eleven year old either. She sees the world for what it truly is – a giant fish bowl. We are born here, we grow up here, and we fend for ourselves here and eventually we end up belly turned up in the same mundane fish bowl.

Although Paloma came from a rich family she refused to let that define who she was. She made the decision that she was going end her life on her twelfth birthday. Death was a choice for Paloma not an inevitability. She was not afraid of dying. She welcomed it. To Paloma, the choice to die meant defying the world system. It meant that her background, her experiences, her knowledge and her family would play no role in shaping who she would eventually become one day.

Paloma is fascinated with art and philosophy and as her final project she decides to document the world around her using her fathers camcorder. She makes obvious observations about those in her direct circle. Some so blatantly point out the hypocrisy in the adults around her that one can’t help but smile and laugh.

However, when Paloma begins to document the life of her superintendent Renee Michel (Josiane Balasko) and her growing relationship with the new neighbour Kakuro Ozu (Togo Igawa) Paloma is challenged to re-think her pessimistic outlook towards the world.

I’d highly encourage that you to watch the film before you read further. The trailer can be seen here.

*******SPOILER ALERT********

The world is a dark, treacherous system and whether we like it or not we are born into it.  Paloma draws a strong similarity between our lives and the life of a goldfish in a bowl. Both are on show for those around to see, both have the ability to become mundane and boring, and whether you’re a human or a goldfish, you face a certain death. Paloma decides that she isn’t going to live her life in a fishbowl like everyone else; instead, she is going to take her life into her own hands and end it at the ripe age of twelve.

The world system represented in this film is also a parallel of the harsh religious system we see in so many of today’s churches. We have to act a certain way, we have to do certain works, and we have to meet certain expectations in order to even be acknowledged as a fish in the fishbowl. Interestingly, the only way out of either one of these systems is death.

The beautiful connection between Paloma and Madame Renee Michel is the fact that they both see the system for what it is. They recognize the façade that is played out in front of them daily. They also see that they don’t belong in this cookie cutter world. They are seen as “outcasts” and it is this connection that acts as the foundation for a quirky unique friendship. This is seen beautifully in the scene where Madame Michel takes the dress that she borrowed back to the drycleaner – except it had a stain on it. The lady at the drycleaner yelled at her for making a stain on the expensive dress. Paloma turns to Madame Michel and says “so, you also get into trouble for making stains.” This is such a picture of how we are so far from perfect, yet the world and religious system place these high expectations over our lives that we are set up just to fail.

The fishbowl theory is illustrated beautifully in the description Paloma gives to her father regarding differences between the game of Chess and the Japanese game of Go. Chess is a game where you fight to survive through the death of your opponent. Go, on the other hand, is an elegant and organic game and the focus is on producing life rather than killing to survive. Throughout the film we see different characters playing either one of the two games. In one scene, we see Paloma and Mr Ozu playing Go (a game that produces life) and in the very next scene we see a homeless man on the street playing Chess – the game of survival. We can fight to survive, or we can fight for life, however… according to Christ if we want to save our life, we need to lose it first. Ahh the paradoxes!!

There is an interesting scene where Paloma flips a flipbook illustrating her mother’s addiction to anti-depressant pills. I saw this as a beautiful picture of what we decide to sew into our lives that’s what we will reap. The flipbook shows a pill being planted, watered and eventually a plant full of pills growing. It’s a picture that her mother was feeding her depression by constantly consuming these pills. Christ calls us to partake of him; he is the grain of wheat that fell to the ground so that we could live. He died so that we could live. I’ll speak more about this later on…

I just love Paloma’s documentary that we see of the beginning of the relationship between Madame Michel and Mr Ozu. Madame Michel sees herself as being extremely low class and she is constantly putting herself down.

“I am a widow, I am short, ugly, and plump…I live alone with my cat, a big, lazy tom…neither he nor I make any effort to take part in the social doings of our respective species. Because I am rarely friendly – though always polite – I am not liked, but am tolerated nonetheless…”

When she said the above, I thought to myself, when I was involved in a religious relationship with Christ I saw myself as below perfect, just tolerated by Christ. However, when Mr Ozu enters her life, he treats her as an equal. He invites her into his home, he takes her out to dinner, he speaks to her like a human being – he sees her for who she really is, not how she perceives herself.

I just love how when Mr Oku invites Madame Michel out to dinner she politely declines by saying something along the lines of “I am your superintendent, not your neighbour” and Mr Oku replies, with a smile on his face, “Why can’t you have both qualities at once.” We are fallen human beings, yet Christ calls us to dine with him, as equals. WOW!

Their relationship is something extremely special, he admires her for who she is, not for what she does or says. She appreciates the fact that although Mr Oku comes from a rich family, he is different, he is normal, he also does not fit into the cookie cutter mould of the system. He abundantly gives gifts to Madame Michel expecting nothing in return. What a picture of our Christ and how he pours his life into us abundantly, yet he has no expectation for us work for his love and attention, he expects nothing in return, this is a selfless love. Mr Oku never forces himself towards Madame Michel, although it is clear that he desires to take their relationship to the next level. He makes this known by saying to Michel that “we can be friends and whatever we want” he repeats this twice. Our Lord doesn’t force himself on us. He is the perfect gentleman, longing for our love, but never forcing us into a relationship.

The morning after Mr Oku said this to Madame Michel, she wakes up in a strangely good mood. She is happy, maybe there is more to life than the mundane. She goes outside to remove the trash, and the homeless man from earlier is in the street. Madame Michel walks into the road to help move him off, and we are shocked when the dry-cleaning van hits Michel resulting in her death.

At one point in the film, Paloma feeds the goldfish one of her mothers anti-depressents. Within seconds, the fish is floating belly upwards. Paloma is planning on over-dosing on her mothers pills when she ends her life on her twelfth birthday. The death of the fish is extremely symbolic as it acts a shadow of what is to come. She flushes the fish down the toilet and forgets about him.

After Madame Michel’s death Paloma finds that her goldfish actually survived the anti-depressant. Madame Michel found the fish in her toilet and kept him in a different bowl. This is a really nice picture of the fact that a common goldfish who also seemed bored by the mundane, managed to hold onto his life and survive the inevitable.

Now for the most profound and astounding line of the entire film – this line has changed the way I feel about Christ and the way I see how he feel about me forever. This line gave me an astounding revelation of the 100% pure, raw love that Christ has for us and that we should have for him.

“What matters isn’t the fact of dying or when you die. It’s what you’re doing at that precise moment. So Renee, what where you doing at the time of your death?

…………You were ready to love”

WOW! Now think about the precise moment on the bloody cross that Christ is hanging, the moment just as he passes from life into death, what was he doing? He was ready to love. He was ready to love his PERFECT bride. He died to be with her, my pathetic use of words fails me as I try to convey this type of love that I have seen.

I also saw the fact that before we can love Christ, he commands us to lose our lives, to die. I have never thought of it in this way before:

“Lord Jesus, I am ready to love you, I am ready to love you the way that you love me, unfailing, never-ending and whole-heartedly. I am ready to die, I am willing to die, to lose everything that I “think” I hold dear for the sole purpose of loving you” These are not just words any more to me, this is a profound reality. I have never felt more ready to love to Christ, more happy to lose my life so that I can love him without hindrance or distraction.”

“We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4:19

Megan x

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

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Okay – this was an awesome “feel-good” film with a beautiful storyline. Also a great film to catch a sighting of our wonderful Lord. The film is about a fishing expert – Dr Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) who is somewhat blackmailed by his boss into taking on a project that is being looked after by an extremely wealthy Sheik called Sheik Muhammed (Amr Waked).  Sheik Muhammed has a vision of bringing the sport of Salmon Fishing into the dessert. With the help of Harriet (Emily Blunt) the three of them embark on an uplifting journey of faith and fish to make the impossible possible.

Trailer can be viewed here.

I’ll give a breakdown of the characters first:

Harriet was a stunning picture of The Bride of Christ in the beginning of the film she was in a relationship with a man called Robert (Tom Mison). Robert is a picture of Adam or The First Man. Dr. Jones is a reflection of Christ, The New Man. He was also a picture of The Body of Christ… we’ll get into that in a second. Sheik Muhammed was a representation of The Father as well as Christ.

Sheik Muhammed (The Father) had a vision or a plan to cultivate a garden in the Yemen. the Yemen was a barren, dry void land (sounds a lot like the Earth in the very beginning…). He wanted to bring life where there was nothing but death. He specifically mentions that he wanted to bring the colour “green” to the Yemen. The Father needed someone to implement his plan, to help him bring it into it’s fullness. This is where Dr. Jones came in..this is a reminder of how the Father needed the Son for His eternal purpose.

Let’s backtrack a little bit… Dr. Jones was an “expert” in the field of all things fishing. When Harriet presented this “new” concept of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen he thought it was pure madness. How often do we deem ourselves “experts” in Christ? We can be presented with a totally new, fresh exciting aspect of Him, yet, our “knowledge” often prevents us from taking that “step of faith” forward to seeing it or should I say HIM come to Life.

Just pause and think for a minute, how big is the country you live in, now what about the the Earth, now the Galaxy, now the Universe, which by the way, is expanding daily. And all of “that” is summed up in Christ. How could we ever be an expert in Him? He is soooo big!!! Makes a lot of sense to me why we need all of eternity to get to know Him. Yet Dr Jones was an “expert” in this particular field and he stated that the whole project “impossible” – well he actually deemed it “theoretically possible .. just like putting a man on Mars is theoretically possible”

Deep down inside Dr Jones knew that – at a cost – the project could work. What was interesting was that he made the cost so extremely high that he thought Harriet would decline him. Our cost to the Father was also extremely high.. yet he paid it without giving a second thought – just as Sheik Muhammed paid the figure without a second thought. He knew what He wanted and was willing to pay whatever the cost to get it. Sounds familiar?

Harriet was in love with Robert. Robert was called to the war in Afghanistan. Here he was involved in a bomb explosion and presumed dead. Harriet worked on the project with Dr Jones and they began to find that they had feelings for one another. Dr Jones’ marriage was falling to pieces and Harriet had lost all hope in Robert ever being found alive.

In order for the project to work, Dr Jones required Salmon. He was not able to get them from the waters in England. Their last resort was from a fish farm. These fish were bread for one purpose – to be killed and sent to the shopping centre as food. Just like our fate while we were in Adam was surely death.

Dr Jones found the faith to believe that when the fish were released into the river, that they would recognise that they needed to swim upstream. He believed it was in their DNA, rooted in their inner being. Saints, the river is Christ. We were born to live in Him and swim freely IN Him. But for too long we have been in captivity, being spoon-fed a false testimony of Christ. He’s bigger than a 2×4 stagnant plot of water. Our spirits recognise His currents, He is the River. We – as a body – can know Him, and swim upstream in Him. He created us to do just that! To partake of His divine life and live freely in Him. Just like the fish in this film were able to come out of captivity and into freedom – we can too! Hallelujah!

The project in the Yemen was a split picture of Genesis and 1st John.

Genesis – it was a picture of a void, empty Earth. The plan was to bring Life to the Earth. Everything was going according to the plan. The fish were doing what they were supposed the garden was green – it was perfect. But a few men who opposed the plan plotted to destroy the garden. They did this by flooding it with the dam waters. The water (which is a picture of “death”) swept through the sanctuary and tore it to pieces. This was a picture of the fall.

1st John – The Yemen is a picture of fallen mankind. Dry and dead with no “life” living inside of them. Whilst everything appeared to “together” on the outside there had to be death for there to be new life. The flood waters are a picture of The Cross. They wiped out everything. But then there was a new day. On this new day, there was life in the river – some of the fish had survived. Robert (who is a picture of Adam) was back in the picture – it’s funny how the old man, although he is dead, has a sneaky way of making his way back into our lives every now and then. Harriet was faced with a choice – just like we are. We can choose to go back to our old ways and live in Adam. Or we can choose to let go of our past, and I mean all of it, and life in Christ (for Harriet this was Dr. Jones).

Harriet saw the life that the project was producing and she decided to stay with Dr Jones (Christ). The new day meant that Adam was out of the picture, and there was a rebuilding of the project. Just as Christ is rebuilding His house! Dr Jones said that the project would look different now (just like Christ looked different after Resurrection). He wanted the project to involve the community (it could not be done as an individual). Christ (Dr Jones), The Bride (Harriet) and the Father (Sheik Muhhamed) stayed in the Yemen, the new land (New Jerusalem) to bring their united vision of LIFE where there was once death.

The opposition in this film is a mirror image of the opposition found in Christ. Sheik Muhammed had a vision and a plan for a barren land just as the Lord, our Father has an eternal plan to bring Life (which is His Son) and give that life freely to us to live in Him, through Him, from Him and for Him. The opposers plotted to kill the Sheik (just as Christ was plotted against). In the film, the opposers never succeeded at killing the Sheik and his vision came into being in the end. In reality, the opposers never succeeded at killing our Christ and his vision will come into being in the end. It’s already happening. Just like Harriet and Dr Jones made a choice and left their old lives behind to be apart of The Father’s (Sheik Muhammed’s) plan and vision – we can make that choice too. Yes Today. It’s not a plan that comes with the “end times” He wants it now, on the Earth. He wants his garden back, He wants a dwelling place where he can walk with man in the cool of the day again. All we have to do is let go of the old, say goodbye, put it to rest and then we can turn to Him fully, we can give ourselves fully to His glorious plan! “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” I’m not saying it’s easy…. but I am saying it’s worth it!

For His beautiful garden, house, bride and more!

Megan x