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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Up and Down

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Absorbing kaleidoscopic interweaving of several plot strands which combine to create a vivid picture of the present-day, post-communist Czech Republic: black-market smugglers who inadvertently steal a baby; a likable but loutish ex-soccer hooligan now on probation (Jiri Machacek) whose partner (Natasa Burger) is obsessed with having a child and "buys" the infant; and a seriously ill college professor (Jan Triska) who, after many years, summons both his grown son (Petr Forman) from Australia and his long-separated wife (Emilia Vasaryova) to meet the woman (Ingrid Timkova) he's been living with for many years -- and by whom he sired a child -- and hopes to marry. Jan Hrebejk's film, shot in actual Prague apartments and streets, brilliantly deals with heavy-duty issues like cultural assimilation, national identity, love and hate, and the effects of globalization in an entertaining Altmanesque way, and ties the disparate story elements together neatly by the conclusion. Rough, profane and crude language, racial epithets, a brief but sordid sexual situation, a short scene of violence with some blood. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted.

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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome: There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D.. 
<p>There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’s death in 54 A.D. Paul’s letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. </p><p>In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims. </p><p>Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.</p> American Catholic Blog While the future may be uncertain to us, we can rest comfortably in the loving control and sovereignty of our Heavenly Father. We can trust his plan, and we can rely upon his fatherly design and control.

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