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Gunner Palace

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Raw and unfocused but affecting anti-war documentary chronicling the daily lives, fears and frustrations of soldiers serving in a U.S. Army unit known as the "Gunners" and stationed in a volatile area of Iraq, traveling with them on hazardous night patrols and raids of houses of suspected insurgents, as well as showing them relaxing at the bombed-out former palace of Uday Hussein, now converted into barracks -- complete with swimming pool and putting green -- from which the film derives its title. Directed by the married filmmaking team of Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein -- from footage Tucker spent two months collecting while embedded with the troops -- the (mostly) apolitical movie, shot in no-frills verite style and told entirely from the soldiers' point of view in their own uncensored words, is by turns sobering and surreal, resulting in snapshots of combat drudgery which add up to a war-is-hell message that will resonate with viewers whatever their political stripes. The film contains much strong language and recurring images of wartime violence. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. 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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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, please fill my heart and soul with the confidence that you will always provide what I need, when I need it, and let me be obedient to you.

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