The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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March 2, 2001 Issue

Movie packs Lent message

Film tells story of love and reconciliation

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

Anyone looking for a charming, entertaining and thoughtful film can find it in Shower, a Chinese film with subtitles, available at larger video stores. Shower has all one could ask for in a film - except a car chase - comedy, drama and engaging characters and a delightful and meaningful story.

It begins when a mentally retarded young man sends his older brother a hand-drawn postcard that suggests their father is dead. The brother, an up-and-coming young businessman, reluctantly returns to old Beijing where his father is still running the family business - a male bathhouse. The older brother remains for a few days and we're treated to scenes of the father and younger son at work and play - two activities that they enjoy with equal relish. We see an exploration of both the father-son relationship and that of sophistication vs. simplicity.

The bathhouse is more than a place where neighborhood men can wash away dirt. They also relax and socialize - two old men stage daily battles between their crickets. The father even helps a quarreling husband and wife with their marital woes.

While this Chinese movie is set in a communist country and religion is never mentioned, the overall effect is deeply spiritual with its reconciliation theme and the overpowering baptismal elements. It's ideal for Lent.

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