Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A very Catholic movie

So, talking about the Advent dinner: the fabulous Cathy Jo and I combined two very important and festive things into one evening:
1. Education about Catholic holidays, and
2. Education about Hungarian Christmas

Since I am in the process of being educated in American Chrismtas through full immersion - I watched the entire Muppet Christmas Carol, and White Christmas on the big screen! - I thought it was time to show people a glipmse at Hungarian Christmas TV programs. Most of our holiday movies come from the USA, so nothing really intriguing there, but I did manage to find a movie that plays every single Christmas on TV, and it has never been released in America. I think I have figured out why.

The movie is called State buoni se potete (Be good if you can) and it is about the life of St. Philip Neri in the Rome of the 1500's. It is a very Catholic movie. There are tempting devils being burned by holy water, and an entire entourage of contemporary saints e.g. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the stern yet cuddly founder of the Inquisition. Don Filippo is raising a horde of orphan children in an abandoned church, and is pretty much the most awesome saint you can watch movies about when you are 5 (minus the trauma of the burning devils). He even plays soccer.
Adding to the entertainment factor of the movie was the fact that the English subtitles were the courtesy of Google Translate from the Hungarian original (or at least that was my best guess since it contained random sentence fragments like "Crosstown Pálinka!"). It was like watching a train wreck meet a Chinese user's manual, and it was all kinds of hilarious.
The reason why this movie probably never made it to America (apart from the whole Catholic thing) is probably the fact that the devil is played by a "Moorish" woman, and that Don Filippo cheerfully smacks kids upside thet head when they misbehave. Granted, it was made in 1984, and nobody sues anybody in Italy/Hungary for stuff like that anyway.

Also, the movie comes with a very catchy title song that gets stuck in your ear for days. You are welcome.

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