The drive into Chicago took more than two hours, and it was easy to wonder if it was worth it. We parked and walked in the sleet to the Music Box, a big old-fashioned theater, got our popcorn, and sat through the previews, first stomach-turning, then intolerably pretentious. Finally the main feature began.
From the opening moments of the first installment, we were thankful to be there. I won't try to describe the films. My colleague Agnieszka Tennant, who came to the United States from Poland a few years ago, has already done that better than I could, in the February issue of Christianity Today. But I can say something about the effect of the films.
When we left the theater, the night was transformed. The wet snow on the dark branches was beautiful. Even the expressway, Wendy said, as we crept home in the traffic—even the expressway was touched by magic.
In an essay in the March/April issue of Books & Culture, Eric Metaxas says that when he goes to the movies he wants to be transported, taken beyond himself. Every time we see a film or read a book, we enter that state of cognitive dissonance which Coleridge described as "the willing suspension of disbelief." We enter the realm of fiction, of imagination, so that we are in the familiar world but no longer of it. Instead we are walking the streets of Sherlock Holmes's London, or entering an apartment block in Poland. And yet we know, even as ...1
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