Films of challenge and hope

The text for this first-ever column in its new location is taken from the first chapter of John Irving's novel A Prayer for Owen Meany: "I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice--not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany." Not every one of these biweekly columns will begin with a text, but it is appropriate in this case, because I am just back from my annual trek to the Montreal World Film Festival where a film version of Irving's novel, titled Simon Birch, premiered to cheers from the audience for director Mark Stephen Johnson and the young star, 11-year-old Ian Michael Smith.


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