Unforgiven didn’t just win the Academy Award for best picture this year. It deserved to win. (How many times can you say that about a movie?) But if you’re looking for an old-fashioned good guy/bad guy/gunbattle-at-high-noon western—even of the vintage Eastwood “spaghetti” variety—forget it! Unforgiven will seem like accidentally picking up Dostoyevsky when you wanted Jack London.
Clint Eastwood’s character—a widowered pig farmer fighting to eke out a bare existence with his two young children—has a dark, murderous, alcoholic, gunfighter past. Still possessed by the powerful memory of his sainted, deceased wife—a woman who had miraculously tamed his boozing and butchery—the pig farmer reluctantly gets drawn into avenging the slashing of a young prostitute.
Try this for a summary: Unforgiven is a morality play that emphasizes moral ambiguity—performed with brutality by dirty, rain-soaked, anti-heroes. Sound inviting? Seriously, even unforgiving film buffs can be forgiven for giving Unforgiven four stars. (Scenes of violence, though contextual and by no means gratuitous, make this film unsuitable for children and sensitive adults.)
Germany – The pro-life movement in the former East Germany has launched a signature campaign against the abortion pill RU-486. At last report, over 40,000 people have signed the petition and pledged that they will boycott the products of the giant company Hoechst, whose French subsidiary Roussel-Yclaff manufactures the pill. (International Right to Life Newslatter – Winter 1992-1993).
England – On February 4, Britain took its first steps toward allowing euthanasia. The courts ruled that a 22 year-old accident victim, who was not brain dead, could be starved to death. The House of Lords also approved three motions:
- That competent adults may consciously refuse medical care which they know to be essential to their lives.
- That competent adults may allow their family members to refuse treatment, should they become incapable of doing so.
- That doctors may deprive incompetent patients life sustaining treatment such as artificially administered water and food. (IRLF – Winter 92/93)
Northern Ireland – The Brooks Clinics, a British chain of “Family Planning” and abortion referral centers which opened a branch in Belfast in September, continues to face strong opposition from both Protestant and Catholic sections of the community. Since it opened it has been picketed regularly by Catholics and Presbyterians. Rev. Ian Paisley and his supporters are prominent among the picketers. Brook Clinics are funded by the British Eastern Health Board with tax money. In a new move to get rid of the clinic, city councils are conducting studies and making recommendations. To date, fourteen of Northern Ireland’s twenty-six City Councils have called for the closure of the Belfast clinic. Objectors to the clinic point out that, per head of population, Northern Ireland has the lowest percentage of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in the U.K. They also state that there is no need for an abortion referral agency.