I don’t go to movies all that often, so I never have any hope of seeing all of the Oscar nominated movies before the Academy Awards. However, I always try to make it to the showing of the nominated “Short films”–particularly the animated short films, which are always my favorite.
After seeing them this year, I have a clear favorite: “Adam and Dog” [here is a link to a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_STqA3dgNJU]
The name “Adam” certainly is suggestive to a theologian, and, sure enough, it is a glimpse into the Garden of Eden, with the addition of a new character not described in Genesis. In the movie, we are first introduced to the dog, merrily exploring paradise until he meets Adam. They strike up a friendship–which includes throwing a stick–until Adam gets involved with Eve, and they go off and leave Dog to his own devices. Dog searches for Adam, of course, but when he finds them, he is shocked and scared to see them running, grotesque and fearful, and finally walking out of paradise downcast. Dog stands at the edge of paradise with a few other animals, watching them go, and as they all turn away, Dog, too, turns back–but it is only to retrieve his stick, and then he follows Adam and Eve out of paradise into the world. They each bend down to greet him, and the three wander off together.
Do you think I loved this story? You bet I did–and not just because of the dog! If I were writing the story of Adam and Eve’s mythical fall from grace, this is exactly how I would have told it, because what the dog adds to the story is the continuing, ongoing, unwavering presence of love and compassion that DID accompany Adam and Eve out of paradise. Even then, God did not abandon God’s children, and even in the face of their turning from God/disobedience/hubris/broken relationship–whatever you want to call it–God continued, and continues, to abide with God’s people, making sure that wherever they go, they don’t go alone. That is the beautiful, powerful theological message I took away from this short film–and the fact that the divine presence was embodied by a dog was just icing on the cake. I highly recommend it.