Pacifist-Thriller ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Lures Reluctant Mennonites into Movie Theatre


For decades rural Manitoba movie theatres had trouble convincing more conservative elements of the population that attending movies was not actually explicitly forbidden in the Scriptures. Ever since the invention of moving pictures in the late 19th century, Mennonites have found excuses not to attend. This has all changed, however, with the release of the new film Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of pacifist soldier who enters the battlefield without ever touching a weapon.

“Finally, I’ll have a chance to sit in a dark room with strangers and stare at a screen,” said one local Mennonite pastor. “I haven’t been to a movie since they showed Ben-Hur at the community centre in 1971.”

Never before has Hollywood released a war film that celebrated the life of man who refused to kill.

“Movies are filth,” said one local, “but this new Mel Gibson film seems like a wholesome story the whole family could enjoy. Finally Hollywood is responding to the demands of Mennonites for films that reflect our values.”

Hacksaw Ridge is being marketed to Mennonites as a “film” rather than a “movie” since, apparently, this makes a big difference.

“We don’t go to movies,” said the pastor. “We go to films. It’s totally different,” but, when asked, he couldn’t articulate precisely what that difference is.

In addition to finally having a chance to watch a pacifist “film,” many locals are also looking forward to tasting popcorn for the first time.

(Photo credit: by CharmaineZoe’s Marvelous Melange/CC)

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