There is a scene in the Revenant that has really stayed with me. Months after watching the film I still contemplate this scene. Wonder at the director’s intent and try to work through the scene’s intention.
Everything you see on screen in a film happens for a reason. Nothing is left to chance. Every scene has intent. Every setting a potential character.
The scene that has stayed with me long after the film is a moment in which Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) enters the crumbled edifice of a church. This dilapidated structure has suffered, even in these early days of civilisation, but its foundation and structures remain. In fact within the fading church there is life as trees have put down roots bringing new life and growth.
It could be argued by some that the church today is in a similar position.
Dilapidated, fading, crumbling.
Recent articles lament and equally celebrate (depending on the slant of the publication) that the majority of people in the UK claiming to have no religion.
The truth is churches are closing, numbers are decreasing and desire for any notion of God is fading rapidly. Millennials, consumer culture, pick and mix theologies and various reasons are given for this. I do believe people are searching though.
People are searching for understanding. Searching for spirituality, authenticity and searching in places other than churches to find it.
I believe there it still life in the church though. I believe that changes are coming. Changes that will remove old structures, old ways of thinking and an adaption to what church can/should in 2015. Dare I suggest church evolution??
That’s where the gap comes in.
While Glass stands in the church ‘grounds’ he stares at the picture of Christ on the wall at his crucifixion momentarily.
However in this sequence my eye was drawn not to Christ on the cross but the gap in the wall.
This gap is significant because this gap allows entry and exit simultaneously. I would guess that its location is not accidental either.
It is not just the gap in the wall but the cross itself that can be identified as both entrance and exit to the church.
Those who enter find shelter here.
Those who enter find signs of life they may not expect.
Those who enter can rest from the constant battering of their surroundings.
Those who enter can stay as long as they need to.
However the same can be said for those on the way out.
Those who exit are ready to take on the next stage of the journey.
Those who exit have sheltered, recovered and found life in its fullness.
Those who exit may see a bigger picture and possibly a new frontier.
Those who exit may be ready to move outside of the structure, the confining walls and move into some bigger, greater and explore something new.
Articles can speak of decline.
The Revenant showed me that while the foundations and the gap in the wall remain, help for those on the way in and those on the way out exists.