The War of the Vendee
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Larry Walsh, a member of the spiritual committee at Trinity Heights, said, “Coincidentally, religious liberty was the issue in 18th century France when a handful of enlightened politicians who hated the Catholic Church imposed their will on the nation and murdered anyone who got in their way all in the name of fraternity, equality and liberty.”
After more than three years of religious persecution, the Vendeean people in Western France formed a band of Catholic counter-revolutionaries made up of priests, peasants and some nobles.
“With few weapons they charged into battle, sometimes only armed with pitchforks, their rosaries and emblems of the Sacred Heart,” noted Walsh, who noted that the government had killed hundreds of thousands of people, burned cities, poisoned wells and slaughtered animals in one of the first state-sponsored acts of genocide that was done to stifle religious freedom.
Director of the film, Jim Morlino, said he opted to make this movie because for one thing, he simply had never heard of this story before.
“Let's see: major 6-year civil war ending in all-out genocide; as many as 400,000 dead; countless martyrs for the Catholic faith... and practically no one has ever heard of it? That seemed odd to me,” said Morlino. “Of course, the story didn't seem to end well, in a ‘Hollywood’ sense, but ‘the blood of the martyrs waters the seeds of faith,’ and the victory of the Catholics of the Vendee was the restoration of their religious liberty, the reopening of those churches that had been closed by the government. I think as Catholics we share in that victory.”
Regina and Dr. Richard Ratino are sponsoring the screening of the film in Sioux City. Regina, who is a member of the Diocesan Pro-life Commission of the Southwest Deanery, said The War of the Vendee is a great pro-life film that promotes the culture of life.
Given the fight for religious liberty that this nation is facing today, local organizers believe the film is especially fitting.
“I hope none of us ever has to lay down his life to defend the Catholic faith and her free practice, but with the events of the last couple months in Washington, who knows what could happen? I think the courage of the French Catholics in this film can serve as an inspiration for us all,” Morlino said.
The film’s cast of actors features more than 250 young people, ranging in age from 2 months to 21 years.
The original musical score — one of the highlights of the production - was composed, orchestrated, and conducted by a young, up-and-coming Hollywood talent named Kevin Kaska. The score is performed by an 80-piece orchestra of Hollywood’s finest musicians and a 30-person choir from many churches throughout the Los Angeles area. Kaska has already worked on some of the industry’s biggest films such as The Dark Knight, The Passion of the Christ, Transformers, Inception and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Navis Pictures’ last film, St. Bernadette of Lourdes, that was released in 2010 was an official selection at the 2011 John Paul II International Film Festival in Miami, Fla., has been broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and is distributed in the USA by Ignatius Press.
Trinity Heights also hosted a viewing of St. Bernadette.
Navis Pictures is a small, independent, Catholic film production company in Danbury, Conn., dedicated to providing young actors with opportunities to work on beautiful and meaningful high production value films.
“I am convinced that people of all ages, and of all states in life can be edified and uplifted by watching the amazing performances of the young people in this film,” said Morlino. “They are simply the future of the church. What you'll see in The War of the Vendee is pure, innocent, God-given joy and creativity - focused and polished a little, and then offered back to almighty God - if that doesn't move you, you probably don't have a pulse.”
The director asked for people to keep them in their prayers and possibly consider buying a couple DVDs as gifts. He noted that every night Navis Pictures (a.k.a. the Morlino family) remember all their supporters in their family rosary intentions.
The film will be presented in Trinity Heights’ Marian Center.
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