Ithaca Blog

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Can Fall Creek Pictures Bring Back "God Grew Tired Of Us"?

It must have been a contractual point that had "God Grew Tired Of Us" in and out of Fall Creek Pictures in one week. Certainly it is not a reflection on the quality of this award-winning documentary, nor its ability to draw an audience (given time for word of mouth to spread), nor its importance.

"God Grew Tired" tells the story of the war in the Sudan, which orphaned thousands of children, who fled hundreds of miles on foot, in journeys lasting years, to asylum in a United Nations refugee camp in Kenya. 3800 of them were selected for refugee status in the United States, and the film tells the story of three of them. One of the featured men is John Bul Dao, who came to Syracuse.

The film documents - not overly graphically - the horror of the war in Sudan, and the attendant horrors of genocide and deprivation, mass starvation and rampant disease. It also documents - again, in a gradual revelation - the mental and emotional challenges of survival, beyond the physical ones.

The challenges of survival abate somewhat in America, of course, but not entirely.

First, there are the challenges of a new and perplexingly modern country (before coming here, the men never, as one says, "used electricity", worrying about its possible complexity). Then there is the problem of money, when even with steady jobs and substinance living, the men find they can barely make ends meet, which they never expected in this land of riches. And then there is the harrowing loneliness of a society where people scarcely speak to one another - much less dance or sing together, as in the homeland the men knew.

John Bul Dao worked and went to college in Syracuse, and today is a leader for peace and humanitarian work. It is startling to think of a man with such a story here in central New York. But then it makes you think of the story of each of us, and the struggles behind each individual life to become better and more free. It makes you think about your neighbors, and speaking to them.

We hope that Fall Creek Cinema or Cinemapolis, its sister cinema, will bring the movie back for more people to see.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

No comments: