Ok, first things first. Please go watch The Evidence of Hope. Do it. You could even stop reading now if you want to go watch the movie, but if you want know why I’m telling you to watch it, then feel free to read on.
While the dog was busy finding hot chocolate and shredding the packaging all over the bed in the guest bedroom, I was with two of my Writing on Social Change students at a screening of The Evidence of Hope.
Tonight’s screening was a special treat because Chad Amour, the film’s director and producer, was on hand to answer questions afterwards. Amour said he wanted viewers to feel like they are sitting in a room and having a conversation with three people as those individuals reveal how they are pursuing their calling. And, he achieved that goal. The three individuals selected for the film were of the breed that radiate inner beauty – radiate. I’ve never quite been able to capture this breed in words; they’re different, convicting, impassioned, inspiring, and mysterious. But all those words fall short. Maybe you at least know someone like that so you grasp slightly what I’m saying. In contrast to my meager attempts to describe them, the film manages to reveal glimpses of inner beauty in the natural striking way that makes these people powerful encouragers that walk among us. The Filipino pastor featured on the film reminded me of one of my Hispanic students who is a pastor impassioned to make his community a better place; Peter, the Kenyan police office, has a story that will encourage Compassion sponsors since he was able to go through Compassion’s leadership training program, and the woman who rescued children from the garbage dumps of Honduras…well, Amour said in jest after the film that if Gandhi and Mother Theresa had raised a child, it would have been this woman. That’s probably the best way to describe her – an impassioned soul seeking the good of others.
And, lest you get all freaked out that this is a heavy handed film about Christian calling, take deep breaths. It is not that, anything but that as a matter of fact. Amour explores calling in the way that most of us come to realize it — softly, in slowly unveiled pieces, in scraps of conversation and in the dings of trying circumstance. And, he represents it as most of us hope to find it — an animating energy, at times a fire that keeps us up at night and pulls us out of bed in the morning, and at times a gentle nudge down a long path of slow, small victories.
And, if you’re still not convinced to go see the film, go for the cinematography. Throughout I was struck by the absolute vibrant beauty that Amour found in the Philippines, in Kenya, and in Honduras. The breathtaking tableaus remind us that dreams and dignity exist everywhere. The individuals in this film encounter poverty, but you’re not going to see children with the bloated bellies of malnutrition or the dirty, stagnant pools of water. Instead, you’re going to see beauty, and the possibility of dreams, and the power of love — in short, the evidence of hope.
If you’re in the Lancaster area, go see the film this weekend. It’s going to be playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Zoetropolis Theater, and Amour will be on hand again for Q&A. Sure, you could just get the DVD, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear him talk about the making of the film. My understanding of it was definitely enriched by the conversation.
If you’re not fortunate enough to be able to go to a showing, you can rent it via internet streaming for $5. Trust me, make a date night with your spouse, or just watch it on your own. You’re going to be glad that you infused your soul with this message instead of absorbing whatever mind fluff is currently circulating about vampires marrying were-mermaids, or whatever is the latest supernatural pairing of the week.