The Jewish Cardinal tells the amazing true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to ...
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The Jewish Cardinal tells the amazing true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism at a young age, and later joining the priesthood. Quickly rising within the ranks of the Church, Lustiger was appointed Archbishop of Paris by Pope Jean Paul II - and found a new platform to celebrate his dual identity as a Catholic Jew, earning him both friends and enemies from both groups. When Carmelite nuns settle down to build a convent within the cursed walls of Auschwitz, Lustiger finds himself a mediator between the two communities - and may be forced at last to choose his side. Written by
This one takes time...and becomes quite moving as it nears its conclusion.
I know very little about the real life Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. I am not Catholic nor am I French--so it isn't surprising I don't know much about the man. So, in light of this, I cannot say that the film "Le Métis de Dieu" is accurate or not in its portrayal of the career and personality of the Cardinal. However, I assume it was pretty accurate because the film neither portrayed him as a saint or as a jerk. It gave many examples where he was a strong and admirable man and a few where he was pushy and less than perfect...hence their mentioning his unflattering nickname 'the Bulldozer'. For me, the best bio-pics are ones that neither strive to destroy nor canonize the subject of the film--and this movie seems to do this.
When the film begins, Jean-Marie is about to become a Bishop in 1979. This move was made by the new Pope, John Paul II, and it seemed to take Lustiger by surprise, as this Jewish-born priest seemed content to remain at his post in a local church. However, he very quickly rose through the ranks of the church--becoming a Cardinal by the mid-1980s (a VERY fast rise to this position). The remainder of the film is about this period and immediately after. In particular, the focus is on how Lustiger managed to reconcile his Jewish heritage with his faith-- particularly in light of opposition from many sides, including his own family as well as both Jews and Catholics! This all comes to a head when the world's Jews are outraged when a Carmelite nunnery is started on the grounds of Auschwitz--and the Cardinal is called upon to help mediate. This isn't easy, however, as his own mother was murdered there and many of the Poles aren't particularly concerned about offending the Jews. And, in an odd twist, the Pope, for once, seems less than cordial towards Lustiger and his appeals to get these nuns off the property. See the film and see how all this works out.
This is a film that starts relatively slowly and works to an exciting and very well-acted finale. Overall, this is a fascinating film for anyone--Jewish, Christian or whatever.
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