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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), R
Analysis Date: September 21, 2001
CAP Score: 57
CAP Influence Density: 0.78

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN (R) -- Corelli spies Pelagia and the rest is history.

This is a wartime love story. Captain Antonio Corelli (Nicolas Cage) is an officer of the Italian army, heading an occupation of Greek land as a strategic maneuver. On the island of Cephalonia, Greece Corelli meets the love of his life, Pelagia Iannis (Penelope Cruz). While passing in review for the townspeople, Corelli spies Pelagia and the rest is history.

As part of the occupation, officers are entitled to commandeer lodging in local homes. Guess which home Corelli decides to occupy? Met with some resistance by Pelagia's father, Dr. Iannis (John Hurt), the town's physician, Captain Corelli tries to be humble and non-invasive but Pelagia lets him know in no uncertain terms that he is not wanted.

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Pelagia is more educated than the rest of the town's women. She has been raised by her physician father and educated in medicine and literature. For that reason, Dr. Iannis advised Pelagia that she should marry a foreigner; that none of the headstrong townsmen would stand for her superior intellect nor should she be expected to ignore it. In the movie, Greek men are expected to be dominant in marriage. Blindly grasping for false superiority because 'that's the way it is supposed to be' is no match for Pelagia's educated mind, that is assuming polarization in the first place. Dr. Iannis knew that a marriage between Pelagia and a townsman would always be a power struggle.

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Though the husband is head of the wife and family as Jesus is the Head of the church [Eph. 5:23], such submission does not make the wife inferior to the husband. "As Jesus is head of the church." Does Jesus "command" or "dictate" to the church, or is He the chief servant of the Church? Husbands, remember Jesus' admonition that to be first you must be "last" and serve all. [Mark 9:35] A good leader knows when *and* how to be a follower. A good leader becomes good by teaching and letting others lead. Teach those in your dominion to fish for themselves rather than give them fish, then let them.
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Earlier in the story, Pelagia had fallen in love with fisherman Mandras (Christian Bale) and become engaged to him. Being engaged to Mandras, Pelagia must keep herself pure for him and forsake all others. That she did -- until Captain Corelli started playing his mandolin. She fell head over heels in spite of her prejudice against foreigners and in spite of her father's honorable supervision.

Mandras shipped off to fight the Germans on the mainland, leaving Pelagia to fend for herself but with the help of her picturesque mother, Drosoula (Irene Papas). Drosoula was the very image of matronly protection and insistence on the correctness of tradition. We could maybe take a lesson form Drosoula?

In Mandras' absence, Corelli moves in on Pelagia. Little by little, inch by inch until she starts to show signs of interest, then he opens both barrels to full bore. Yes, there is nudity and intercourse in this movie [1Cor. 7:2], but it is after all rated R [Ps. 12:8]. Well, "R" does not excuse sin in sinema. "R" is just a failing tool for parents to gauge the entertainment diet of their family. And it does *not* keep out the underage moviegoers.

In the middle of the romance comes the Germans. Mussolini surrenders and the Germans descend on Cephalonia and take over the Italian occupation. Now comes Captain Gunther Weber (David Morrissey), a meek German officer wanting to "get along" with the occupied people. The Italians warily yield to the overpowering Germans but now comes a new dilemma -- the townspeople must now tolerate not only the Italians but now the Germans as well. As it turns out, Mandras returns to lead a group of Greek rebels to fight the Germans.

But Pelagia is now in love with Corelli. What to do, what to do!? Pelagia had been writing over an hundred letters to Mandras over the months and came to doubt him since he did not answer a single one of them. Why would he not write back? Even a foxhole soldier has time to write back home? As it turns out, Mandras could not read or write. Kinda gives perspective to Dr. Iannis' misgivings about Mandras' marriage to his educated daughter, doesn't it.

There is much more to the complexity of *Captain Corelli's Mandolin* but the need to summarize it is shadowed by the need to inform parents and grandparents of the more pointed content. As noted above, there is the nudity of intercourse in this movie, unmarried of course, not that intercourse between a married couple as public entertainment is acceptable. [Hebr. 13:4; Col. 3:5]. In addition, there are a gaggle of prostitutes baring their wares. One of the town's women is hung. There are graphic and brutal executions, body mutilations and gore of warfare [Ps. 11:5]. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section


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  • Eph. 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
  • Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
  • 1Cor. 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively extreme vulgar and vile entertainment with impunity] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to willingly embrace it].
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
  • Col. 3:5 Put to death [defeat, expunge], therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Ps. 11:5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • Firearms, frequent, both offensive and defensive
  • display of the war machine, building forced occupation
  • graphic injuries, including a gunshot to the head, mutilations
  • long sequences of warfare and battle with many deaths
  • a hanging by the neck
  • multiple graphic executions
  • Many dead and bloody bodies
  • single graphic executions, one to the head of a woman
  • earthquake disaster terror

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • three uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • "shoot me" by a horribly injured man

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • rear male nudity - repeatedly
  • open mouth kissing
  • man in towel only
  • sexual suggestion
  • multiple female nudity
  • prostitutes
  • stripping for sex
  • intercourse

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking - repeatedly
  • drunkenness - repeatedly
  • drinking - repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • a single use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted (deaths by police action or warfare are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime)

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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