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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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James Oldo: You’ve heard rags-to-riches stories. Today, we celebrate the reverse. 
<p>James of Oldo was born into a well-to-do family near Milan in 1364. He married a woman who, like him, appreciated the comforts that came with wealth. But an outbreak of plague drove James, his wife and their three children out of their home and into the countryside. Despite those precautions, two of his daughters died from the plague, James determined to use whatever time he had left to build up treasures in heaven and to build God’s realm on earth. </p><p>He and his wife became Secular Franciscans. James gave up his old lifestyle and did penance for his sins. He cared for a sick priest, who taught him Latin. Upon the death of his wife, James himself became a priest. His house was transformed into a chapel where small groups of people, many of them fellow Secular Franciscans, came for prayer and support. James focused on caring for the sick and for prisoners of war. He died in 1404 after contracting a disease from one of his patients. </p><p>James Oldo was beatified in 1933.</p> American Catholic Blog Charity for the poor is like a living flame: the more dry the wood, the brighter it burns.


 
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