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New movie about St Maximillian Kolbe coming in 2024

We went to see a short presentation about a new film being made about this great saint: “Kolbe’s Passion”, I believe it will be called.  It featured a short clip of his experiences in the starvation bunker.

Most of us know how St. Maximillian Kolbe died:  he took the place of a man condemned to a starvation bunker, and the man survived Auschwitz while St Maximillian Kolbe did not.

This is more of a critique of the presentation, rather than that of the movie itself.

We assume there is much more to the film, but unfortunately the presenters spent most of their time pointing out their needs (cameras, flights to Poland, housing, etc.) and very little time describing the plot of the movie itself. We were left with the impression that it focused mainly on the activities in the starvation bunker….but then why the need to film in Poland?  Any studio in the U.S. would suffice.  I am sure there is a reason, but it never was made clear.  To be honest, we should have asked that question at the time.

The promoters are young Catholics and I admire their enthusiasm…it was inspirational, to say the least.  Sadly, I think this was a missed opportunity, since potential investors are going to be looking for more details than what were presented here.

One other thing we noted at this presentation…..people in their 30’s comprised the bulk of the audience.  It was great to see so many young people so enthusiastically behind this movie.  Unfortunately, we did not see many older people likely to have “deep pockets”  for the financing required.

Help get the word out and perhaps find someone to host a presentation.

Fortunately, there is a link to get further information that you can find here.

We truly hope this movie will get made, but hope that they will take this advice and do a better job presenting this project to future investors.

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Movie Review “Sound of Freedom”

Review of “Sound of Freedom”

Sound of Freedom MovieChild trafficking doesn’t quite fit the bill for most family entertainment; and quite frankly, I prefer movies that tend to be uplifting.  So, I really wasn’t motivated to watch this movie; however, since Jim Caviezel was the star, and Angel Studios produced it,  I was anxious to check it out.  It’s based on a true story, and I discovered this movie had a realistic feel to it, rather than being a documentary…. and to me that made it much more watchable, since I am not a big fan of documentaries (yes, I know..I should be).

Although riveting, it is also sad and yet has an ending that is heartwarming.  Alas, if all reports are even half-true, millions (and we mean many millions) of children are sex slaves to traffickers, and few of them are likely to have happy endings.

Those in the U.S. have watched an estimated 500,000 undocumented aliens stream across the Southern border each year and we have to wonder….how many of these are child traffickers?  The same can be said for some European countries.

Well..back to the review of “Sound of Freedom”:

Casting was great…not just Jim Caviezel, as well as the supporting cast….including the children.  Cinematography was also great.  It was thought-provoking….you can’t help wonder how many children are exploited annually….and what finally becomes of them? Of course the movie doesn’t tell us that.

Note:  the movie was made in 2018.  It is arguably even truer today than then.  The production company initially had a distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. However, after the Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Fox, Sound of Freedom was shelved.  The film’s producer, Eduardo Verastegui, spent more than a year getting rights for the movie from Disney. Unfortunately, as soon as Disney released the rights for the film, the COVID pandemic hit and prevented the producer from getting it released.

The real-life Tim Ballard, the DHS agent played by Caviezel, has testified at a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee and shared footage of the sting operation portrayed in Sound of Freedom with the media. CBS applauded Tim Ballard and “Sound of Freedom” in 2014 for their efforts against child trafficking. Yet, today, the same mainstream media is dismissing the film based on Ballard’s work as a “paranoid” QAnon conspiracy. Why the sudden shift?

Spoiler Alert:  Watch for it!  Some actual footage of the sting operation plays during the final moments of the movie (or was it during the credits?) …but you’ll have to be looking for it…it flashes by quickly, with some of the faces blurred out in the images. By the time Tim left Colombia, he and the team had rescued over 120 victims and arrested more than a dozen traffickers,” reads text on the screen. I found that part fascinating.

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Free showing of movie about Our Lady of Garabandal during Holy Week

The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the remote village of Garabandal, Spain are covered on our page here at the Catholic Travel Guide. A movie has been made about these apparitions titled  “Garabandal: Only God Knows”.

When the coronavirus first reached Europe in early 2020, the Garabandal movie was playing in theaters in France. It had already premiered in 29 countries and had been seen by almost 300,000 people. More than 10,000 people had already seen it in France alone and many more were expected to fill the theaters during the scheduled screenings in the months of March and April.

All of this was canceled when the theaters were forced to close due to the coronavirus. They also had to postpone the premieres planned for the month of March in Singapore, Switzerland and Australia, and during April in the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, and Holland.

The producers of the movie have announced that from April 3-12, 2020; that is, from the Friday before Holy Week through Easter Sunday, “Garabandal: Only God Knows” will be available for viewing online free of charge both in Spanish and English on the film’s official webpage: https://www.garabandalthemovie.com

It will be available in all countries, except for the following countries, where they hope to premiere in the near future in movie theaters: Canada, Singapore, Holland, Brazil, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, and Belgium.

You can also view it beforehand through Amazon Prime.

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Our take on the Netflix Movie “The Two Popes”

Many of you have heard of….or have even watched…the Netflix movie “The Two Popes”.

If you do plan to watch it, be aware that it is mostly fiction…..as the intro states:  “inspired by true events”.  So why watch it at all?  Well, we wanted to find out what it was all about….any time the Catholic Church is portrayed in the secular media we hold our breath waiting for them to show The Church in a bad light.  Not so, in this case.  The acting was good, and, so long as you realize that it is fiction, it makes for an interesting hypothetical.

Spoiler alert:  if you plan to watch “The Two Popes”, then don’t read below until afterward.

The movie shows Cardinal Archbishop Bergoglio meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome to discuss the Pope’s retirement.  There is no record of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio actually going to Rome and meeting with Pope Benedict XVI before he retired.  In fact, there is no one who can even remember Pope Benedict XVI’s talk of resignation before he suddenly voiced his intention to do so on February 11, 2013.

The movie accurately describes the announcement being made in Latin, a language many of those present did not even understand.  As a result it took a while for word to spread.

And other parts of the story are factual….Bergoglio’s role in Argentina’s dirty war that saw thousands murdered ( including priests) was mentioned briefly.  But, his true role in all of that remains unclear to this day.

And of course, Pope Benedict leaving the Vatican for Castel Gandolfo, on his helicopter flight, was accurate.  Many of us watched it live on TV that eventful day.

Brief mentions of Ratzingers’ background are reported and some around him actually shout out and call him a Nazi.  Although it is true he spent some time in the Hitler Youth when he was a teenager…. the movie fails to point out that enrollment was actually mandatory.  He later did much to aid the Holocaust victims and improve Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

Phot courtesy NetflixWe did like the shot of the two walking in the Vatican Gardens…..one of our favorite places in the Vatican.

And, it is here in the Vatican Gardens that Pope Emeritus Benedict resides today in The Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.  So he has not really left the Vatican.  Sorry…..you won’t be able to visit him on your tour of the Vatican Gardens….but you can get a glimpse of where he lives.

Overall, we enjoyed the movie as entertainment, and think you will too.  Perhaps one day we will know more of the true story….just why did Pope Benedict XVI retire?  Great fodder for conspiracy theorists!


An interesting note:  Although not shown in the movie, Pope Benedict XVI visited the tomb of the only other Pope in history to have resigned:  Pope Celestine V.  He did this on April 29, 2009, on a visit to L’Aquila, Italy, view the devastation of the damaging earthquake that had taken place there.  This took place before he announced his own resignation, and while there, he did something unusual that people did not quite realize was significant at the time.  He left his Pallium (the sign of his apostolic authority) there at the tomb of Celestine V without giving an explanation.


If you would like a more detailed, critical review of the film, click here for an article by John Mulderig at The Catholic News Service. (Link will open in a new tab, this page will remain open)