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The Devil's Playground

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
The Devil's Playground
from Film Forum, 09/12/02

Many Christians complain that filmmakers do not spend enough screen time taking faith-especially Christianity-seriously. It is worth noting, then, that a new documentary by British director Lucy Walker, The Devil's Playground, focuses on a Christian tradition, albeit a small and select denomination. Her film offers us an intimate look at four Amish youngsters, their experiences at home and their interaction with mainstream culture. (Walker's film should not to be confused with a 1976 film of the same title, which deals with Catholicism and the issue of sexual temptation.)

Doug Cummings (Chiaroscuro) offers a review of the film on his Web site, in which he mentions an echo of the only popular American movie to have dealt intently with the Amish—Peter Weir's Witness. "Walker's film … could be said to take its aesthetic cues from Weir's movie, complete with carefully composed pastoral views and continuous electronic tones on the soundtrack."

He quotes the filmmaker's own impression of her subject: "There are so many positive things about the Amish … and yet there's a price to pay, and I can't make up my mind even to this day whether I'd want to go Amish tomorrow or think that they really shouldn't be allowed. I was literally moved to tears by this life. It occurred to me that they really had it all right and we should all give it up and be Amish. I think for many people, the fascination with the Amish is that they really present some of the things we seem to have lost as a society as we've progressed."


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