THE FILM – THE DRESSMAKER
We did go to ‘The Dressmaker’ the other night and with the help of Peter Berg, discovered some very valuable insights. The Dressmaker was particularly skilled at envisioning what would make each person particularly glamorous. So good did they all look, that there was a wonderful sense of equality about them. There were only a few scenes when this was most apparent, for the remainder of the film was about the real nature of each character.
What was most intriguing about this story of the characters, was essentially a modern parody of many of the Shakespearean themes of people’s character, tragedy, revenge, exclusion, greed, love, humour, comedy. I did study Hamlet, King Lear, Richard The Third, and the Merchant of Venice, but if I’m honest remembered little about them. So I was the beneficiary of Peter and Jane’s insights.
In theological college, my Doctrine lecturer highlighted the Godly insights of Shakespeare and his insights around the real character of people. In the typical bold, garish irreverent ways of Australian movies, the story within The Dressmaker, told us a lot about ourselves. While such characters were all on display in this tiny little outback village, it was not about this little village, it was really about the universal story. As much city life as country.
What fascinated me was that it was just an entertaining example of the simple truths Jesus highlighted in today’s gospel. People spend enormous time and effort devoting their energy to looking good, and important. It was typical of the human habit of creating in our minds stories of our life to justify wrongs or to build egos at the expense of others. In Jesus day it was typical, ‘Of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widow’s houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.’
If you happen to watch the Melbourne Cup on TV, you would have witnessed a great deal of this on the TV coverage. But then this is the human story. Some are really bad at it, Most of us have at least a touch of it. The tragedy, is that we all struggle to truly face up to the interior journey of self discovery where Jesus offers to teach us the fullness of human experience. The paradox is... that the interior discovery of who we are, actualizes the hidden gifts of life, and heal and transform the lost or hidden wounds and fears of our past. This was essentially the story of the dressmaker.
The main character of the film began recalling and reliving her past and in many ways, drew a number of others to do the same, so that many of them uncovered greater truths and to a degree recaptured much of their lost and distorted life.
Many of Jesus teachings are about daring to look within to discover so much more of who we are. It is a call to genuineness. A call to discover so much more integrity. We often get discouraged by the pretense and insincerity in the world. But God’s mission of reconciling the world to himself through Christ was mapping a way for us to embrace life more freely. Remember his wonderful encouragement. “The truth will set you free”.
It is the inner truth of being. As we live this depth of truth so we exude a truth in the world around us.
The journey could be said to have small beginnings. He emphasized this is the simple example of the genuineness of the poor widow, who displayed a wonderful spirit of generosity and devotion to God in the small coin she contributed to the work of God.
It was not the amount that Jesus was highlighting whether large or small, but it was an example of deep and inner honesty. This, was true integrity of spirit that the life of Jesus envisages for all.