June 28, 2014

HBO Documentary: 112 Weddings

I can't think of any film more timely distributed than this one. From the upcoming Synod that threatens to negate 1/3 of the marriage bona to all the hoopla over same sex marriage debate, this film will not get the publicity it seemingly deserves. I probably won't be able to watch it until it comes out on DVD, but like one of the interviewee's said, it sounds like it "should be required viewing for couples approaching their own wedding." And that would include Catholic couples. Divorce and separation; personality conflicts and contentious behavior; mood swings and immaturity; soul-mates and lovers for life...all are defined in today's marriages. And as I believe Catholics in the last 50-60 years have lacked formative catechesis - especially in marriage (look at the annulment stats...and me) - we need all the input possible as an obvious corollary to the manifold prayers prospective Catholic's send Heavenward to help discern a marriage vocation. 

["The film stresses that marriage is hard, that it takes work," Block said. "People see that as a negative, that it's a bad thing. But it's not.]


from AP 26 Jun 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — As filmmaker Doug Block sat in a coffee shop talking about his "112 Weddings" documentary, a stranger interrupted him to talk — at great length — about the state of her marriage.

She wasn't even aware of the film, which debuts Monday on HBO (9 p.m. EDT). The conversation she eavesdropped on enthralled her. As Block gets more exposure for "112 Weddings," during which he revisits couples for whom he shot wedding videos to ask how marriage has gone, he'd better get used to such interactions.

The New York-based Block has made wedding videos to earn extra money, and sensed from the beginning there was a film there. He made sure to retain ownership of wedding footage, although he doesn't use it without permission of the couples.

"I loved the idea of starting a movie where most Hollywood movies end, which is the bride coming down the aisle," said Block, who has delved into personal topics for his work before. He made a film about his parents' marriage and another about the empty nest syndrome when his daughter left for college (she's now, at 24, back home).

He knew the time was right when he called Janice and Alexander Caillet of Newton, Massachusetts, who talked at length about why they didn't need the official sanction of a marriage when Block filmed their "commitment ceremony." Thirteen years later, they were getting married.

Janice and Alexander believed their word to each other was a strong enough commitment for many years. Once they had children, the legal advantages became apparent. "We wanted to make sure that nothing was going to keep us apart," Janice said. "We didn't need anything to keep us together."

Some of the marriages ended in divorce. One couple has struggled to care for a sick child, another has hung on through the wife's depression. Children and job pressures take a toll, and the relationships ebb and flow. Block focuses on 10 couples, including No. 112 as they prepared for their wedding.

When he called the couple from his first wedding video, Sue Odierna of Mamaroneck, New York, had filed for divorce the day before. The clips from the wedding seemed to foreshadow trouble: Sue seemed a lot more excited than Steve, who later grew distant and found someone new. The more weddings he shot, though, Block said he was less able to predict which couples would last.

HBO's Trailer is here...

Copyright 2014 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

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