This is a first for us; we are giving technical support to St Mary the Virgin’s Church, for their showing of a biopic which examines Protestant reformer Martin Luther’s personal battles, and his transformation from a simple monk into leader of the Protestant movement and, in the eyes of the Vatican, an ecclesiastical terrorist. Please note that it will be shown on a Saturday, at the church and is a free event.
The makers of Luther had the difficult task of having to tackle not only complex theological issues by also putting them into proper historical context. Joseph Fiennes is very good as a young monk driven by personal demons, strong religious conviction and a deep sense of outrage over injustices and corruption. Peter Ustinov is also very good in one of his last roles, while Bruno Ganz is moving as Luther’s friend and mentor Johann von Staupitz. A great effort is made with costumes and production design and early 16th Century Germany is successfully brought to screen despite the small budget. Even some minor historical flaws (the Pope worrying about Turks threatening Vienna years before it really happened) could be forgiven.
The film has been criticised because it was partially financed by Lutheran groups. This means that it is not as balanced as it might be considering Luther’s controversial role in the German Peasant’s War and his developing anti-Semitism. In the second half Luther becomes less of a historical movie than a routine noting of the important events in Luther’s life, including the marriage to Katharina von Bora (played by Claire Cox).
However, even with the apparent lack of objectivity, Luther proves to be an interesting and accurate depiction of the life and times of the man.
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Venue: St Mary The Virgin