Utterly obsessed with their own depiction in film and literature, a group of particularly persnickety Mennonite critics are flocking to the Schanzenbachdorf Theatre this week to look for the slightest of “errors” in the new Sarah Polley film Women Talking.
“Oh, I’m ever-so-excited to watch Women Talking and find all the ways they got it wrong about Mennonites yet again,” said critic Peter Kroeker. “The best thing about spending all my time looking for slight errors in portrayal is that I don’t have to spend any time at all thinking about the message of the film or its implications for our community.”
Kroeker is really hopeful that within the first few minutes, he’ll be able to spot the wrong head-coverings or even slight errors in the Plautdietsch accent used in the film.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll mess something up,” said Kroeker, “which is why over the past 6 months, I’ve read through The Mennonite Encyclopedia from front to back. One’s always got to be prepared when watching a new Menno film.”
Kroeker was seen sitting in the front row equipped with a Bible, a copy of the original Miriam Toews novel, two pounds of sunflower seeds, and his cell phone, “for fact checking,” he said.
“If I can find these flaws, any flaws, in this movie,” said Kroeker, “then it’s a whole lot easier for me to go on living in blissful ignorance about the significant problems within our Mennonite traditions.”
When it was suggested that filmmakers and writers often make creative choices and have no intent or obligation to stick to the facts in such a way that would please an anal-retentive obsessive Mennonite man with nothing better to do, Kroeker scoffed and said he had no clue what any of those words meant anyway.
“That sure doesn’t sound like Plautdietsch to me,” said Kroeker.
In other news, the Schanzenbachdorf Theatre will be shutting down after the screening of Women Talking, until such time as there’s another Mennonite film that everyone can flock to simply for the purposes of tearing it apart during the next week’s Bible Study.