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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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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.
</p><p></p> American Catholic Blog Once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act. Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it. This is very important! We have to be deeply engaged with the world, but with the power of prayer. Each of us, in fact, has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world.

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