The other night I watched a movie called Shooting Star. Available through Amazon Prime, this is an independent, subtitled film from South Africa but easy enough to read your way through.
Phillip Schuman, apparently a real person, was a piano prodigy whose mother was dying of cancer and whose father forbid him from playing the piano. Phillip pays a high price for the childhood pain his own father never resolved. Yet he senses and believes that the higher price would be to abandon his gifts. Indeed Phillip needs music as much as he needs air or water or food, and he cannot resist or bury this call inside. On brick steps, he draws the chalk outline of piano keys to help him with his compositions. He completes them in his bedroom, nowhere near the locked-away instrument.
You can imagine what this is like for him – the complex emotions he feels for the unbelieving father who is denying him the life he is called to live, and for the mother who believes in him and prays for him even as her own life is slipping away.
There are religious elements in the story similar to the manner in which faith was treated in Chariots of Fire or Unbroken – as part of a real life dealing with real struggles.
You want to ask the father, “Don’t you see what you are doing here?” He does see, actually. He sees that he has become the father he promised himself he would never become. Yet he did. The price is terrible.
There are two struggles often at work in our lives – the kind of questions that fill a night sky when someone looks to the heavens and wonders what is ahead. How do you become the person you are meant to become? How do you keep from becoming the person you have promised yourself you would never be?
Both of these questions are asked but not answered in this poignant film. That’s found in the living and choosing that become the answers.
“A shooting star doesn’t mind the dark; isn’t scared of falling, or of going its own way, isn’t afraid of standing out above the rest,” Phillip explains to a friend. A shooting star becomes what it was always intended to be – a light shining in the darkness. That is certainly something we all need to see.
Enjoy your magnificent journey.
– Minnie Lamberth
The Magnificent Journey
Vol. 3, Issue 12