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Source: Catholic News Service

Picturesque but utterly vapid 19th-century period piece about a French ex-soldier (Michael Pitt) sent to Japan by a silk merchant (Alfred Molina) to purchase healthy eggs to restore the local silk business ravaged by a silkworm-egg epidemic; he becomes obsessed by a concubine (Sei Ashina) of the baron (Koji Yakusho) with whom he does business, while his schoolteacher wife (Keira Knightley) waits patiently behind. Francois Girard directs the story at an excruciatingly slow pace, and Pitt's droning narration -- he and the other French characters speak with flat American accents -- together with dialogue that is less than inspired create a general tedium unredeemed by a final plot twist. Upper female nudity, nongraphic sexual encounters, adultery theme, a restrained brothel scene and the image of a hanging corpse. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Columban: Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit’s life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor. 
<p>After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture. </p><p>Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.</p> American Catholic Blog Jesus was never a careerist or a glory-monger; he did not demand to be hailed as a king or lauded as a hero. He came to live among us, to suffer with us, and to serve us from the heart. He came to teach us how to love.

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