Tag Archives: movies

Spiritual Warfare & Demonic Strongholds: Unclean Spirits/Mental Demons Pt. 2

Content note: brief mention of suicide

So in the last post I tackled mental/emotional issues, most specifically depression, as demonic strongholds that are often symptomatic of our fallen world that is external to us and bound to produce such a heavy , demonic burden on the mind. In today’s post, I want to take it a bit further to the manifestations of mental demons –> i.e. spiritual warfare, and it’s more all-encompassing than just depression.

8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ”

1 Peter 5:8

 

As I stated in my introductory post for this series, I wanted to explore/use media and pop-culture to illustrate some of these ideas. There are two souls that I wish that more folks knew when it came to film/animation: Satoshi Kon & Darren Aronofsky.

Satoshi Kon.jpg(Satoshi Kon)

The late Satoshi Kon ( died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer) was a prominent  film director and animator and had a penchant for making some of the most surreal animted cartoons (anime) ever to hit TV and silver screens. His emphasis on human consciousness, the blurred lines between reality and dreams, and the ability of the invidual to relate to the outside world are some of his most recurring themes. Some of his most influential work includes the likes of Tokyo Godfathers, Millenial Actress, Paprika and Paranoia Agent. For today’s post, I will focus on Paranoia Agent.

Without spoiling too much, Paranoia Agent is a 13-episode show in which a pair of detectives are charged with uncovering  and finding the identity of “little slugger”, serial attacker/ killer. As the name of the show might suggest, however, the detectives, throughout the show begin to realize something rather perplexing about the nature of the serial tormentor- he may not actually exist, at least not in physical reality. Soon enough, after several episodes in and victims revealed, you begin to realize the unifying theme of all of the “lil slugger’ attacks: he seems to attack those in situations of immense emotional vulnerability – in times where reality seems to be so burdensome,  that the victim, rather than dealing with the situation, the lil slugger comes roller-blading right along with his golden baseball bat to strike the victim and place them out of their misery. The victims typically don’t die but they are unconscious and afterwards, they are more sober-minded. It is suggested throughout the show that the lil-slugger is actually not real but nothing more than a neurotic defense mechanism to protect the victim’s ego from being overwhelmed from outside attack.

Now, this may seem like a random selection at this point, but what I adore about the way Satoshi Kon wrote and conceived of this show is that the Lil Slugger simply is not physically real, rather he prowls around, seeking someone to devour. Preying on the emotionally vulnerable is lil-slugger’s technique and seems awfully similar to how scripture warns of the devil’s behavior.

This of course gets increasingly interesting when we think of the lives of those who are oppressed, systematically. Who else is more emotionally vulnerable than the meek and the poor in spirit? Perhaps this explains the rampant drug abuse/addiction., sex abuse/addiction, etc. we see in oppressed communities of color, especially , something to put them out of their misery. This of course has clear echoes to my last post , as some will sadly seek to do this through suicide. One thing I’ve always loved about Jesus, especially growing up in the pentecostal tradition, is that He is not some nifty narcotic and shot to our vains , He forces us to DEAL with our issues through the power of forgiveness and the refining fire of the holy spirit (Holy Ghost Fire, us pentecostals like to say) , he deals with the unclean spirit and fights and overcomes.

Next time.. I will dive into Darren Aronofsky’s portrayal of a demonic stronghold many are far too familair with – drugs. Til’s next time 😉

 

October Series: Demons & Spiritual Warfare

Fall is here and October is starting in a week! The season of pumpkin-flavors, changing leaves and Halloween is here to stay for a while. With the season of witches and goblins stead approaching, I find no time better than now to dive deep into a topic that has always been of interest to me and that I’ve wanted to explore here at PJ! And that’s.. demons/spiritual warfare..

Having been raised in the pentecostal tradition (and still very much a part of it) ,  demonic strongholds and spiritual was always been stressed in the life of a Christian. I would like to take the next 4 weeks or so to explore different aspects. I will do so using the various forms of spiritual captivity we see represented in pop culture- film, shows, comics, etc. It will also include an examination of the “pop-culture” demonology of our time and comparing how that really holds against what is taught in Scipture and the experienes of the oppressed/margins. It will be a fun and informative series for sure! Feel free to give your input and suggestions on the matter!

International Movie Review: Ballad of a Solider

It’s not everyday we Americans support Russian cinema, but as a die-hard fan of war/guerilla-warfare/geopolitical struggle movies, I simply could not pass this one up(besides, I have no beef w/ Russia!). I happened across this film this past summer out of my desire to familiarize myself with a culture that I felt I had marginalized in my own mind and through my ( K-12) education – Western Europe is all that matters and Eastern Europe did not come up unless they were villains. Being touted as a masterpeice of Russian film, Ballad of a Soldier was bound to come up in my search.

Without spoiling things too much, this film is essentially about a young Russian soldier, Alyosha, fighting amidst the Second World War who, because of an act of valor, is given a 48 hour furlough. The film, then, follows what Alyosha uses this time to do as he attempts to make his way back home to his home village to see his mother. From the romance he encounters, to sending certain messages back on behalf of his fellow platoon members, this film is sure to take its viewers on an emotional roller coaster!

One of the reasons why this film is so highly praised by many ( if not, the MAIN reason), is because of how skillfully and artistically the film illustrates the personal side/effects of war. All too often, we see many films that, whether knowingly or unknowingly (though I’d tend to think the former..) glorify the corporate violence and attacks that are imparted between any two (or more!) factions in war. The rapid gunshots, the glorious explosions, the clear “good guys vs. bad guys” dichotomy – ya know, all that’s characteristic of most war movies is considerably downplayed, if not down right forsaken in this film. Grigori Chukhrai (the director of this film) , makes the personal, deeper-dimensioned moments that Alyosha experiences more glorious, more real, and more appealing than the violence that’s portrayed in the film! Chukhrai gave us a masterpiece of a film that illustrates the destructive, hellish, love-void reality of war in a way that is sure to stick with all who see – many report not being able to watch this film without crying! Just check the IMDB!

Chukhrai’s Ballad of a Solider is short yet hard-hitting, “violent” yet peaceful, angsty yet tear-jerking and for that I give this film a 4.5/5 stars!! Highly recommend it – but make sure you have a box of tissues by your side 😉

There’s no real trailer for the film, but here’s a clip that’s about 8 min. long from the movie – you can watch the whole thing for free on youtube!