Slaying a dragon is one of the many noble goals that a knight has. Typical fairy tale stories tell of a knight that attacks the dragon's cavern to save a kidnapped princess. Dragon slaying is a tricky business. These monsters have tough hide, sharp talons and nasty fire breath. Though the prospect is perilous, the brave knight always attacks the dragon and emerges victorious.
Dragons are not just mythical monsters but they also represent the things that we should defeat. In fairy tales, the dragon is the embodiment of the knight's fears. In Christianity, the dragon represents all the Evil that Christians should struggle against.
|Saint George slaying the Dragon.|
The movie “There be Dragons” will not be named as such if the story has no dragon in it. Dragons abound in the movie and the protagonists faced those monsters in their own ways. “There be Dragons” shows a writer that is researching about the Opus Dei founder, Saint Josemaria Escriva, for his new book. The writer discovered that the saint has a connection with his father, of whom he had never seen for a long time.
The movie presents two parallel, but intertwined, stories of Saint Escriva and the fictional childhood friend, Manolo. Saint Escriva and Manolo took a different path when dealing with life and the turmoil, which is the Spanish Civil War. Saint Escriva took the path of a believer in Christ while Manolo took the path of a non-believer.
Spain, during the civil war, is a land of chaos. It is the time when people are forced to choose which side to support. Either you are a communist or a fascist. Either you support the Church or you are the one who mock them. Francisco Franco led a rebellion against the popular communist government of Spain. In time, the Spanish Civil War became an international affair. Communist volunteers came pouring in Spain to support the government while Nazi Germany supported Franco. Cities were bombed and many civilians died. Death toll on both the fascists and communists were high. Priests and devout Catholics were mocked and executed for their Faith.
|Saint Escriva contemplating about his new religious society.|
Spanish Civil War is not the best time to be a priest. But Saint Escriva chose to fulfill his vocation and wrestled with the dragons that threaten his faith in God. The communists’ hatred to the Church and the Catholic faithful forced Saint Escriva to flee for a lot of times. He was forced to conduct the Holy Mass in secret. He even saw a priest friend executed on the streets. The movie showed us that even a saint has a hard time defeating his inner dragons. Saint Escriva refused to go on their journey through the Pyrenees. It is the low point of his life but God enabled him to conquer his dragons.
Reviewers of the movie gave it low approval points. It is understandable because parallel stories within the movie usually confuse the audience. It is confusing because it is hard to distinguish who is the focus of the movie. The story of Saint Escriva is sometimes upstaged by the story of Manolo, which has plenty of battle scenes. Another complaint is that viewers who don't know Saint Josemaria Escriva have a hard time grasping his story.
The things that made “There be Dragons” shine is its theme that all people can relate to. All of us has our own dragons that we have to face, even if we try our very best to avoid them. They are the dragons that will destroy our hope, our faith and our love to the people around. The question is will you face these dragons bravely like the knights of times past? Or will you be a coward and flee from them forever?