Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The problem with so many films that try to appeal to those who are tired of the usual Hollywood drivel is that they are simply bad. So the movie flops. Then a great cry goes out, “See, nobody wants to see these films. They really want the sex and the violence and the profanity,” when in actuality we (I hope I might be so bold as to say we) just want not only films that are good, but good films that are also well made.

Every once in a while decent messages and good film making collide and when they do it is wonderful. You may remember a little while back (thanks to Mrs. T) I was able to let you know about a screening of a movie called “Bella” here in Cleveland. The winner of the Toronto Film Festival (one of the largest in the world) and a number of other honors, “Bella” tells the story of the struggle of choosing life and true love and it did it with aplomb. Here is truly the case of artisans using their skill to raise the standard of man, not pander to his lowest self.

"Bella is the story of Jose and Nina, a rising Mexican soccer star with a secret and an unemployed New York waitress. Bella is a true love story that shows how one day in New York changed three people's lives for ever."

Steve McEveety, producer of Passion of Christ said of Bella, “I have not seen a film with this much momentum since The Passion of Christ. The Passion showed us how Christ died for us, Bella shows us how to live for others.”

It will open in theaters on October 26th. Perhaps (Habemus Papem, are you ready for another project?) those of you who read Adam’s Ale locally would like to get together again for eats, a movie, and discussion as we did for “Into Great Silence”. I know I would like to see it again, first because it was a good movie, and secondly because last night they showed the version that ran at the festival, not the slightly different version that will show nationally.

You can see the trailer, posters, and other cool stuff here.


I am not usually one to stay after a movie and listen to the post show discussion but fortunately those with whom I attended the movie were more in to such things. As it turns out, the discussion was led by Spanish heartthrob actor Eduardo Verstegui who told something of his life story, which was as interesting as the movie.

He started out in a boy band and, wanting to be an actor took on roles in soap operas. He came to Miami not speaking any English and was talked into auditioning for a part in a movie. He memorized five pages of monologue, which became the only English he really knew at the time and won the part. From there his career took off and he became a successful actor and singer. But he was not happy. He was not finding fulfillment in life. Something was missing.

He testifies to the power of the prayers of a mother. His mother was praying for him saying that her son was lost and no longer listening to his family. She worried that something bad would happen to him and prayed for God to touch his heart.

As it turns out, his English coach began to have conversations with him about God and how he was using his talents. The English teacher became the answer to his mother’s prayers as he experienced a true conversion of heart to the Father. This prompted him and a couple of his friends to start their own movie company, Metanoia Films, whose goal is to make a difference, to inspire others to better use their talents, to love more, and to want to be a better people. “Bella” is the first film in this attempt.

He knew it was risky. He might never work again. But he said with his Spanish accent, “It broke my heart that I offended God,” and his goal now is never again to offend his family, his friends, or his God. “If I am faithful to God and we are successful, thanks be to God. If I am faithful to God and we fail, thanks be to God. . . I was not born to be an actor, I was born to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ.” Wow. A story to inspire all of us in our lives to use our talents in like manner. There is so much more to this interesting story, but there is not room here for it.

He and his small company truly believe that they can make a difference. “Politics changes laws. Art changes hearts and minds,” and the media has a responsibly therefore to lead, not to pander. In Hollywood he reports many directors, writers, and actors want to produce these types of film but do not have the venue in which to do it. This is a hopeful start. You can help.

Being a small start up company they do not have the backing of a major studio and need support from the bottom up. Go see the film. Tell others about it. Contact your local theater chain and ask them to run this film. Organize a group to go. For more information go to http://www.bellathemovie.com/ or http://www.bellanews.com/. To contact the company via Email go to www.BellaEmails.com.


Habemus Papam said...

HP is ready and willing to accept the task!! We shall be in contact.

Anonymous said...

Is there any reason y'all can't roadtrip up here to Minnesota, watch the movie here, and we can all go to a restaurant and enjoy commentary?

Seriously. It's not as though it's snowing yet!


~ Adoro

uncle jim said...

I'm all for it ... the issue isn't the snow in MN, it is the lake effect snow on the east side of Cleveland ... Fr V and friends can get snowed in anytime after the middle of October.

Anonymous said...

We actually had snow in September 1996! Waaaayyyyy too early! (then record heat in 2005 - go figure!) Cleveland's east side is a bit crazy....(maybe I am too for living on the east side???). LM

Anonymous said...

I vote for World Blog Day here in Minnesota. If we go to the Cathedral for Mass and look real quick, maybe we'll see the Archbishop. Or at least a picture of him.

Besides...the Catholics here are really cool. I know a few of them.

~ Adoro

MJ said...

I'm all in for going! Uncle Jim it's on a Fri. and we really don't usually have snow in Oct. Why don't you come down. It would be fun and you could even make it into a road trip to see your son in Buffalo!

uncle jim said...

you been reading something somewhere to know about buffalo - thanks

you never know what might work out.


just checked calendar
i'm going to se michigan to help my wife at her fathers farm.
if you read the post on my blog about "Let him die", you read where we had visited her dad at an assisted living center.
well, he's since died, and she and her sisters [and husbands] will be doing some cleaning out at the farm on that weekend.

thanks for the invite - i'm going to come through there someday for sure.

MJ said...

Uncle Jim, sorry to hear about your wife's dad, my prayers are with you! You've mentioneed your son in com boxes here before. My oldest son is also up that way at Niagara University.

uncle jim said...

you owe me a 'second chance' story

i'd like one from you, too

and father v...

Fr. V said...

World Blog Day! WBD
I like it!
Maybe Catholic World Blog Day.

But since Catholic means universal that might be redundant.

Catholic Blog Day. CBD

Gosh it would be wonderful to meet all you people. *sigh* So glad there is at least this forum in which to meet.

HP - As soon as we discover a theater it is playing in - we'll do it! (I hope its near a good place to eat.)

Uncle Jim - AND ADORO! I owe you both some messages but am WAY behind at my desk. I will get to you soon!!!

Anonymous said...

I saw that Eduardo Verstegui guy on TV. He said his soap opera career was over because the next woman he kisses will be his wife. My first thought was, what an unbelievably beautiful thing to say.....my second thought was, oo la la, sign me up! Mrrrooow! Hubba, hubba! Arrroooo!

I'm going straight to hell.

Fr. V said...


And that is the first time I ever used those initials.

eileen said...

I would have loved to join in movie night on the 26th, but will be in NYC with my two eldest daughters.

Definitely planning on seeing "Bella" in the future.

uncle jim said...

no time like the present
somebody fina the mid point between east cleveland and nw minneapolis. mhy eye-ball estimate says somewhere around south bend. anyway, we can plan a meet there. anybody got tickets? how far off a i

uncle jim said...

this lap top of my wife's makes my bad keyboarding worse that it really is - it is slow in entering characters and i can sometimes input faster that the keyboard can respond and it leaves letters out - now the wrong letters or extra letter, thats me

uncle jim said...

ok, my eye-balling isn't very good
halfway between cleveland and minneapolis is west side of chicago out around ohare airport

we can jump in our private jet-planes and meet there for lunch and be home for dinner

Grant W said...

Hello from another "east sider"...

Maybe we can have a private Bella showing at the top of the Hancock bldg in downtown Chicago? My wife (Ellen) and I took a trip there last summer. Very nice! I'd love to go back.. *sigh*

Someone else sent me an email a couple weeks ago regarding this movie.. definitely want to see it at some point. I wonder if it will be big enough to play at the Regal Cinema around the corner?

Fr. V said...

Will let you know!

Beth said...

According to the website it's coming to Cleveland on October 26th. But I can't find anything on the website that indicates where in Cleveland it's showing. Could you point me in the right direction?