This evening I saw Rodrigo Plá’s impressive movie “La Zona”, about human reactions when in a rich area of a Mexican city, separated as an enclave from the rest of the poor city by walls and private security people, robbers kill one of the inhabitants, who take revenge in their own hands while protecting their secure life. It is a very hard movie, not only because of its plot itself, but also because some very profound logics of human behaviour are unwrapped: violence and greed are all at once not strange to us, to the viewers of the movie. Do we not live in protected zones of many kinds, keeping our privileges by keeping others out and policing our neighbours dictatorially when these privileges become threatened? To me, the movie is also a metaphor for the contrast between rich and poor in our world and it explains how people become trapped in violent logics so as to maintain the advantages of power, status and wealth.
This is not the most beautiful side of our human nature and behaviour and I came out of the movie with pain in my heart. The young Alejandro, who befriends Daniel, one of the persecuted robbers in the zone, gives hope: in him profound and compassionate humanity works its way to the surface of existence. The mystic Jan Ruusbroec wrote that compassion is the deepest of human characteristics, and the theologian Jon Sobrino insists that compassion is the starting point of every serious theology into which we sometimes have to be shocked. These ideas are also present in the movie and they stimulate me to change myself, the people around me, and the world.
Added later: While talking to a friend, it struck me how this movie also invites me to think about the Church as a holistic, inclusive and universal endeavour. The Church is about bridging in a life giving way murderous differences and separations … it’s about constructing frontierspaces of encounter on borderlines of separation.