Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Church vs. State. RESTLESS HEART: The Confessions of Augustine, based on St. Augustine’s autobiography The Confessions, premieres tomorrow (9/29) at the CMN Trade Show in Dallas. And, despite its ancient Rome setting, its central conflict pitting an authoritarian secular government against  people of faith couldn’t be more contemporary.

Synopsis: A young Augustine leaves modest beginnings in Roman North Africa for Carthage  to study under the great orator and lawyer Macrobius from whom he learns all too well the art of utilizing words to twist the truth.  His natural oratorical talent leads to an invitation to Milan where he becomes the emperor’s orator.

His new position leads to a clash with Bishop Ambrose whose own oratorical abilities are seen as the threat to the emperor. The pair engage in a historic battle of truth versus distortion that has all the drama of Rocky film with words substituting for fists.  Augustine goes on to use the bishop’s own words  — and the words of scripture — to justify a  violent attack on a Catholic basilica.   Several innocent Catholics are murdered in the siege that follows, a siege that results in Augustine’s own conversion.  When Augustine speaks out against the injustice he witnessed he is removed from his position of power and willingly becomes a pariah of the state.  He goes on to become a Catholic bishop himself — and one of the most respected saints in church history.

Directed by: Christian Duguay (Joan of Arc, Pius XII); Starring: Alessandro Preziosi (Young Augustine), Franco Nero (Elder Augustine), Andrea Giordana (Bishop Ambrose), Monica Guerritore (Monica, Augustine’s mother), Cosimo Fusco (Patricius, Augustine’s father), Dietrich Hollinderbäumer (Macrobius)

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IMHO: The direction, production  and performances here are all first rate. Preziosi, particularly, stands out in the lead role. While, toward the end, I did have a question about the fate of Augustine’s son (perhaps I missed something), overall the script was strong and held my attention

RESTLESS HEART: The Confessions of Augustine is a fascinating study of how words and dramatic presentation can be used for good or evil purposes. As such, it provides a valuable lesson to our contemporary media-driven society. Today’s media are the orators of our age but, speaking through movie screens, TV shows and YouTube, they reach far more people in far less time. It’s a power, as Augustine learned in his day, which must be wielded wisely.  Of course, not everyone necessarily has the wisdom or will to do so. That’s why we the people must also be vigilant in discerning the difference between truth and mere argument.
The Bottom Line: Highly Recommended.
For more info about the movie go to To bring RESTLESS HEARTto a theater in your area with a hosted screening, contact Victor Pap of  The Maximus Group at 678-990-9032 or email

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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