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'Mother Teresa,' the Movie Hollywood Couldn't Make

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (ANS) -- Genuine Christian faith is rarely treated with respect by Hollywood, says Mark Thorn in an article for the Web site of Australian Christian Television, writing about a new movie on the life and work of Mother Teresa.

Ironically, Thorn says, Hollywood producers seem to be embarrassed by it.

"And therefore it would be out of place for Hollywood's film makers to promote the concept that faith and love can be genuine and people who exhibit these traits do not always have ulterior motives," he writes in a review of a new movie that is sure to be welcomed by people of faith around the world.

"This is why Hollywood could not have made the upcoming feature movie Mother Teresa," Thorn writes.

"Instead, it was made by Italians, and stars a cast of actors who, although masterful in their craft, are -- except for Golden Globe winner Olivia Hussey who plays the lead role -- not well known," says Thorn.

Nevertheless Thorn believes that Mother Teresa is a powerful piece of cinema.

"Costing over U.S. $20 million to make, and shot on location in Northern Italy and Sri Lanka, it is well acted, well-produced and lovingly crafted into a two-hour experience of a life that we could all do well to emulate," he says.

In no way is Mother Teresa sugary and embarrassing, Thorn writes.

"It’s not a movie that glosses over the harsh realities Mother Teresa faced, but rather represents her life with balance, sensitivity, and full dramatic appeal," he says.

Thorn believes Italians have "a masterful flair for producing movies of great beauty and heartfelt relevance."

"Mother Teresa is no exception. If you had the opportunity of seeing Franco Zeffirellis' 1977 classic Jesus of Nazareth, starring Olivia Hussey as the Virgin Mary, then you will agree that some of the best faith-embracing films come from Italy, The Passion of the Christ being a notable exception," Thorn says.

Produced by Luca Bernabei, who has produced many biblical films including The Apocalypse, starring Richard Harris, and directed by Fabrizio Costa, Mother Teresa represents an achievement they both seem to have been working up to for some time. Costa has also directed a movie on Fatima (Fatima, 1997) and a biblical epic Maria: Daughter of Her Son (2000).

"All in all, Mother Teresa is a movie that will leave a lasting impression on your soul. It is a movie made for these times," Thorn says.

Thorn reports that in keeping with the spirit of charity displayed by Mother Teresa, the Australian distributor has partnered with charities including Christian Blind Mission Australia, Compassion, Catholic Mission, Samaritan’s Purse, and Childcare International to distribute between $3-4 (Australian) from every ticket sale to charity.

To ensure the charities are supported, tickets can only be purchased online from or via telephone:1300 725 728.


Mother Teresa began screenings at selected Greater Union, Hoyts and independent cinemas, starting April 18 in Brisbane, May 5 in Sydney, June 2 in Melbourne, June 30 in Adelaide, and July 20 in Perth and Darwin.

Costing more than $20 million to produce, and shot in Sri Lanka and Italy, the movie tells the story of Mother Teresa from the time she first received her calling to near to the end of her life.

Thorn says this magnificent movie faithfully captures the poverty, death, and hopelessness Mother Teresa worked so hard to alleviate, telling the story of her commitment and faithfulness to her calling with warmth and charm.

He says lead Actress Olivia Hussey (Jesus of Nazareth, Romeo & Juliet) delivers a masterful performance as Mother Teresa. "Her acting is captivating -- yielding a highly complex character motivated by love for humanity and a strong calling from God."

"This is a movie to be experienced in your heart, and shared with friends," Thorn says, adding: "It provides an ideal venue for group bookings by church youth groups and outreaches, as well as being a great night out for those who appreciate quality movies."

The film is expected to raise more than $100,000 (Australian) for charity through the contribution of between $3-4 per ticket to a wide range of charities.

The Australian distributor, ConDios Entertainment’s Managing Director, Ben Watson-Brown, calls it a "Tribute" to Mother Teresa.

"I’m sure this is how she would have wanted it," he said, "seeing her life still supporting the sick and needy, even after she has left us."

Mother Teresa is distributed by ConDios Entertainment, an independent distributor specializing in films that speak to the heart.

Bookings can only be made through the ConDios Web site or by phoning 1300 725 728.

Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Garden Grove, CA. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in Sept., 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.

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