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Oliver Twist

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Fine and handsome new version of Charles Dickens' oft-filmed classic about an orphan boy who gets involved with a gang of thieves headed by the elderly Jewish ringleader Fagin (Ben Kingsley), and the efforts of a kindly gentleman to rescue him from their clutches. Director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Ronald Harwood have streamlined the complex novel, as most versions have done, but the essentials are all there, and beautifully performed by a top-notch cast, bolstered by lavish production design and an evocative score. A brief violent episode, a few scenes of menace and a hanging make this recommended entertainment for all but the youngest children. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus: The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.
<p><b>Joseph</b> was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus' body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus' body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.
</p><p><b>Nicodemus</b> was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John's Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus' burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.
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