Lilies of the Field (1963)
Director: Ralph Nelson
“We build a scha-pel,” says the Mother Superior, to the young black handyman who has showed up for a day’s work and a day’s wages. She has a thick German accent. She and her sisters are newcomers to America, refugees in fact. And the scene is not promising. We are in a near-desert somewhere in Arizona.
“Who’s we?” says handyman.
“You!” she says, pointing at him. She is used to command.
“I ain’t gonna build you no chapel,” says he.
Our film this week, Lilies of the Field (1963), might well be an artistic exploration of several powerful verses from Scripture, without any attempt by the director, Ralph Nelson, to drum them into people’s heads. “Except the Lord build the house,” says the psalmist, “they labor in vain that build it.” But how can you build, when you lack the materials for it? Should you then consume yourself with worry? But Jesus says, “Behold the lilies of the field; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was n…
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