None. Though Vanessa Redgrave’s performance might be seen as slightly suggestive or indecent, there is no nudity or sex in this film.
The plot turns on Henry VIII’s attempt to annul his arguably incestuous marriage, for which he had received a special dispensation from the pope.


Film review:Translated by www.rabudo-ru.com


[I saw it more than two years ago, because my friend saw another similar “strange grace” today, so I thought of this one. Looking back, the harvest of that summer is still far from the source of truth and life, and I have to experience the following late summer, late autumn and long winter.]

On July 6, 471 years ago, Thomas Moore was killed.

Previously, I only heard that the author of Utopia was killed by those in power. Until a few weeks ago, I further knew the specific reason for his killing: he did not swear to recognize the divorce between Henry VIII, the then king of England, and Queen Catherine as legal, nor did he recognize Henry VIII as the head of the Christian Church.

It was a noon in early summer this year. A good friend and I passed by an audio-visual shop near Liangma River to see if there were any films about European history.

The shopkeeper said, it seems not. That’s not surprising. According to the experience of my friend and I over the past few years, this kind of DVD is really rare, so it’s just asking.

However, we still hope to have an unexpected discovery and continue to look among the shelves with calm time. As usual, my eyes were full of common covers, which seemed irrelevant to my goal.

Just as I was about to give up this search, I heard my friend call me:

“How about this?”

I turned from the inner aisle back to the middle row and took a DVD from my friend. “It’s about Henry VIII.”

As we grew older, my friend and I became less and less fond of the so-called “emperors and generals” stories. Most of them were nothing more than fighting and killing and the law of the jungle. The so-called strategy and intelligence were only used to hate, control and make use of people more than anyone else. Henry VIII seems to be no exception.

The light bronze cover is printed with brick red English characters: a man for all seas; The following is a big picture with black and yellow as the tone: two men sitting almost side by side are obviously not dressed up as modern people. The one on the left looks more luxurious, dressed in a golden robe, squinting at the man in black who seems to be thinking; Look carefully, there are three lines of small white English characters printed at the bottom of the photo: 1966 winner of 6 Academy Awards including best picture; Between the photo and the large English characters on it are four small brick red Chinese characters: sun, moon and Zhongjing.

Turning over, there are three small stills on the upper left, and several people in them are not dressed in modern Europeans: black robes, red robes and so on. The following is a large piece of English characters printed in green to introduce the plot, publishing companies and actors. Four lines of tiny black Chinese characters are sandwiched in the lower part of the middle, which can only be seen with your eyes:

The film is adapted from a true story of history. In the 16th century, the lecherous King Henry VIII changed his mind and fell in love with Anne, so he wanted to divorce the queen. He cut off contact with the Pope to avoid being restricted, but he still had to seek the support of domestic nobles, so he asked Justice Thomas More to sign his divorce decree. Thomas Moore was a principled and rational man. He was a famous British politician at that time and wrote the far-reaching Book Utopia. At this time, he was placed in a dilemma: whether to adhere to principles without succumbing to the obscenity of the corrupt king, or bow to the lustful, violent and hopeless Henry VIII? Finally, he resigned as Lord Chancellor and refused to sign. The intensification of his contradiction with the king made him finally framed and died by Henry VIII. What he left to future generations is a sense of compassion.

This is the typical language of DVD Chinese plot introduction, which is not attractive, but the story itself is quite profound: in England in the 16th century, the king of a country and his queen had the theory of “divorce”, and in this matter, they were subject to the Pope. Three palaces and six courtyards, wives and concubines are in groups. Isn’t it natural in the world at that time? As a courtier, why should Thomas Moore offend the ruler because of the king’s marriage. A good justice is improper. For what principle is it that principle is more important than life?

We asked the shopkeeper if the film was of poor quality and could be returned. The shopkeeper said it was no problem. I paid. Out of the audio-visual store, my friend had to go to work in the afternoon, and I went to the library to borrow books as planned. We said goodbye and made an appointment to watch it together when we saw each other in the evening.

The viewing process is enjoyable, and the most unforgettable is the dialogue, which is very different from our impression of those films that have won Oscars in recent years, which has enhanced my interest in that period of history.

Near the end of the film, it is not just because of interest. We seem to be saying goodbye to a great friend. Moore was finally convicted of treason. At the last moment of his life, he stood on the guillotine and said:

“The king asked me to be brief,

I am a loyal subject of the king,

Naturally, I would be brief:

I died as a loyal servant of his majesty,

But I am first and foremost a faithful servant of God. ”

Then the masked executioner knelt on one knee to Moore, who told him:

“I forgive you, really.”

The executioner stood up, Moore approached him and added:

“Don’t be afraid of your responsibilities. You’re sending me to God.”

Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asked, “Sir Thomas, are you sure?” Moore replied:

“He will not refuse a man who comes to him with joy.”

……

Moore left his family, his friends, US, where he was happy to go

At night, we can’t sleep.

Thanks to the Internet and the library next to Zizhuyuan, we soon learned that Moore’s departure was at 9 a.m. on July 6, 1535, a summer morning. Moore eventually left the tower of London, which was only two kilometers from his birthplace. 57 years ago, he was born into a wealthy lawyer family. After being baptized, his parents gave him a name that was well known to almost all Londoners at that time: Thomas.

Two Thomas

The reason why Thomas was well known in London at the end of the 15th century is that a Christian saint named “Thomas” appeared in the city at the end of the 12th century. He was Thomas Becket. He was born in about 1118, served as Lord Justice of Henry II, and was later appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, He was called “Thomas of London” by his contemporaries. Although nearly 360 years apart, the birthplaces of the two Thomas are only less than 20 meters apart! Not only close neighbors, but also surprisingly similar, both Thomas were killed by the king named Henry because they opposed the king’s attempt to get rid of and control the church. Both Thomas were appointed as justices by the King Henry who finally killed them, and they were eventually canonized by the Holy See. However, so far, The coincidence is not over yet – in the 1960s, the films about the two Thomas were released one after another and both won Oscars. The film called Becket was in 1964, and a man for all seasons was two years later!

No matter how to explain these coincidences, at least three points seem clear: first, in the four centuries between the two Thomas, the dispute between the king and the Christian church not only existed in England, but also sometimes important and even fatal; Second, in this kind of dispute, those who fought against the king were the prominent figures in the king’s camp, who eventually rebelled against the expansion of kingship until they sacrificed their lives; Third, such conflicts have not completely withdrawn from people’s perspective in the modern western world, and the characters in the conflict and their experiences and choices have become one of the sources of modern western literary creation. What do these phenomena mean? What impresses me most about observers outside the social traditions in which such conflicts occur is that the existence of the Christian Church is clearly a major obstacle to the autocratic rule of kingship in Medieval England. The conflict between Thomas Beckett and Henry II is that the latter is dissatisfied with the former’s safeguarding the judicial power of the church from the control of kingship, while when it comes to Thomas Moore, Henry VIII is dissatisfied with the refusal of the Lord Chancellor appointed by him to support his divorce. Not only that, Moore also refuses to recognize the king as the supreme leader of the church. The king controls everything in the Kingdom, the church is in the Kingdom, and the king controls the church – it’s natural, otherwise what’s the name of the king? However, why did the king of England fail to rule the church for at least 400 years in the Middle Ages (the Magna Carta, which was forced to be recognized by King John in 1215 between the two Thomas, is a well-known proof, in which the first article defines the principle of inviolability of the so-called “freedom of election of the church”? Answering this question undoubtedly requires an in-depth exploration of the history of England and wider Europe, especially the long process of the spread of Christianity in Europe. In this regard, I always remember the views of American historian Brian Tierney, especially the opening text of his book the crisis of church and state 1050-1300 with selected documents published in 1964:

… it is complex and difficult to maintain order and unity among groups larger and more diverse than the extended family system. In the long run, strength alone is not enough. The most common measure is to give the ruler who controls the state’s coercive machine a sacred title and act as the leader and symbol of the people’s religion. Ancient societies usually attributed magic to their leaders; The Pharaoh of Egypt, the Inca King of Peru and the emperor of Japan are all revered as gods and men; The Roman emperor has the title of high priest Therefore, we should not be surprised that medieval rulers also pursued spiritual and secular supreme power. The real exception is that in medieval Europe, there were always at least two claimants claiming this title, each of whom commanded a huge set of government machines. One hundred years later, no one could completely dominate each other. Therefore, the coexistence of duality continued, … it is precisely the existence of two power structures competing for people’s support, rather than the compulsory obedience of a single power, which greatly increases the possibility of human freedom. Again and again, in real life, people in the Middle Ages found that they had to choose between conflicting appeals for allegiance to them according to conscience or self-interest.

The reasons for this unique situation of binary coexistence are probably extremely complex. First, it may be related to the division of the spiritual world and the secular world by the original Christian doctrine, and the origin here may be traced back to the tradition of “prophetic protest” in ancient Hebrew society. According to Matthew, this division was made by Jesus in response to a serious practical problem. The gospel of Matthew says that the Pharisees gathered together and consulted, trying to find a handle on Jesus’ words and trap him, so they sent their disciples and Herodians to Jesus, “Teacher, we know you are telling the truth. No matter what others think, you faithfully preach the word of God, because you don’t look at people’s status. Please tell us your opinion: should Caesar be taxed?” When Jesus knew their malice, he said, “why do you frame me, you hypocrites? Show me a tax money.” They gave him one. Jesus asked them, “whose image and name are these?” They answered, “it’s Caesar’s.” So Jesus said to them, “let the things of Caesar belong to Caesar; the things of God belong to God.” When they heard this, they were surprised and left him. However, this verbal division itself is subtle. How can it be implemented into life? The later development history of Christianity shows that different Christian sects have different understanding and practice of this division. The surviving and widely spread sects are those who fled from Jerusalem. They are followers of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. After Stephen’s death, these Jews returned to the diaspora originally established in the Hellenistic world. Through them, they converted to Jewish compatriots who spoke Greek, There are also “God fearing” non Jews and converts to Judaism. In the fourth century, Christianity was recognized by the Roman emperor. During this period, the differences between eastern and Western sects gradually had a decisive impact on later European history. The Christian sects in and around Constantinople regarded the Roman emperor as the head of the church, while in North Africa and Western Europe, believers have established monasteries far away from the political center, And continue to explain the division between Caesar’s things and God’s things in theory. For them, neither the emperor nor the king can be the leader of the church at the same time, because the church has its own leader – Jesus and his apostles. Of course, neither the emperor nor the king will give up the tendency of autocratic rule because the Western church adheres to the division between the state and the church. They have successfully merged the church for many times. The so-called clergy of many churches are actually officials of the state. It seems that the Western church can not avoid becoming a tool of state rule. After all, Western churches are also composed of people. How many will be indifferent to power and wealth? However, the kings and emperors of Western Europe not only failed to complete the incorporation of the church once and for all, but also failed to control the secular power for hundreds of years in the middle ages. By the end of the middle ages, they were not far from the status of “virtual monarch”. How to explain this perverse phenomenon? In my opinion, the existence of such characters as Thomas Beckett and Thomas Moore is one of the key factors causing this situation. Their life choice makes the binary separation of spirit and secular in Christianity not completely empty talk. More fundamentally, their life choice means that secular values can not always dominate everything in the world in which they live, It is not natural to obey the emperor or king. The belief in God and its knowledge tradition accumulated over many generations provide people in the Empire or kingdom with the possibility of judgment and choice.

Utopia and the kingdom of God

In today’s world, Thomas Moore’s name is most associated with Utopia and the pioneer of the Communist ideological movement. At the same time, he is also regarded as the representative of Western European humanist scholars. From these reputations, Moore is likely to be an activist who rejected the Christian tradition. At least he should support the “Protestant revolution” at that time. If so, Moore might be on the side of Henry VIII, because the king of England was famous for opposing the holy see in history. His divorce from Queen Catherine was the beginning of his break with the Holy See. However, Moore was killed by the king because he refused to take an oath to recognize Henry VIII’s divorce as legal, and was eventually canonized by the Holy See. Moreover, Moore had many fierce debates with Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant revolution in the European continent. It all focused on Moore

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