As part of my Romanian language studies, I like to watch Romanian movies. Ideally, I would watch each movie three times, once without subtitles, a second time with them, and a third time without them. That usually doesn’t work because either I don’t have enough time or the movie doesn’t have subtitles in English.
Although it sounds like just having fun, it really does teach me the language. I learn when to use what phrases. I learn new vocabulary. I learn how to pronounce words. I learn about the culture and mannerisms. A translator we had to hire once said she honestly thinks watching TV is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language. And nearly everyone I know tells me they learned English by watching cartoons. So there’s my argument: seriously, I’m studying.
Today, I decided to watch “Binecuvântata Fii Închisoare” (“Bless You Prison” in English). It’s based on the autobiography of Nicole Valery-Grossu, a woman who was thrown into prison during the communist era, simply because she belonged to a different political party. The film follows her arrest, her imprisonment without trial, her torture, and her eventual experience of faith. Although I miss a lot since I don’t understand the language very well, there are some parts of the film that need no translation.
I found myself blinking away tears during the scene in which Nicole discovers an old Bible and smuggles it back to her cell. The women carefully tear out pages so each can share a portion of this book so precious and so forbidden. Oh, that we would crave his words like men and women in prison!
Watching the women celebrate Easter together touched something deep in my heart. In a dark cell, one woman lights a thin piece of straw and then solemnly begins to pass the flame to the other women. As guards shout and bang on their door, they sing slowly, deliberately, defiantly, “Hristos a inviat din morti…” (Christ has risen from death). And soon other cells begin to sing, filling the prison with defiant worship. Oh, there is power when we worship the true King! There is power when we do not hide our love.
Watch the video free on youtube. Even though you won’t be able to understand most of it, it’s a great look at the state of Romania during communism and at the power of faith.