Monday, February 6, 2012

K is for Kitsch

Back in June 2008 I wrote this about a film maker who came to Erie to interview our Joan Chittister for a documentary she was hoping to complete.

"The director of the Women’s Studies Dept. at Loyola University of Chicago is on a sabbatical, taking time to produce and film a full-length documentary. Her thesis is that the visual portrayals of nuns in pop culture (movies, greeting cards, T-shirts, print ads, TV commercials, even Halloween costumes) don’t show or do service to the reality of who nuns are and what they are doing in our culture today."

Well, she did it and the film A Question of Habit made the rounds of film festivals last spring and, in January, reached a broader audience when a PBS station in her hometown of Chicago showed it to their audience.

When the directors were in Erie they taped our community’s Evening Praise and took a copy of our CD "Te Deum" home with them. When I first viewed the film I had forgotten that fact and was so surprised to all of a sudden hear us singing--both in the middle as background and at the very end as the closing music.

The one-hour documentary shows real nuns behind the kitsch that current American culture has turned the image of the habit-and-veiled nun into. Joan and Helen Prejean are the "real nuns" that appear throughout and both do a great job. Hopefully the film will continue to be shown to a larger and larger audience.

A visitor this week.