David Lynch – the elephant man

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The movie is based on the true story of John Merrick a man who suffers with a deforming disease who lived in 19th Century London. Nominated for eight Oscars and winner of BAFTA awards for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Production design.

Soul Stars – Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, Sir John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller

What we like

  • The movie successfully portrays the plight of John Merrick who is constantly judged, used and abused because of his appearance. Then finally rescued.  But even the rescuers struggle with their intentions.  Deeply moving on many levels

Soul experience

  • Here was a man with much to lament. He had a body that segregated him from others. He had ill health, he was tormented and left as though he had no intellect. And yet John rose above all of this and was able to see beyond the physical. Taking refuge in other kinds of beauty. Beauty that does not change, does not wilt but remains the same. Within we are complete and always beautiful

To reflect on

  • In the movie John Merrick references the 23rd Psalm and a poem Nothing Will Die by Alfred Lord Tennyson:


  •  23rd Psalm
    The Lord is my shepherd;
    I shall not want.
    He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
    He leads me beside the still waters.

    He restores my soul;
    He leads me in the paths of righteousness

    For His name’s sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil;
    For You are with me;
    Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
    You anoint my head with oil;
    My cup runs over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life;
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord


  • Nothing Will Die by Alfred Lord Tennyson
    When will the stream be aweary of flowing
    Under my eye?
    When will the wind be aweary of blowing
    Over the sky?
    When will the clouds be aweary of fleeting?
    When will the heart be aweary of beating?
    And nature die?
    Never, oh! never, nothing will die;
    The stream flows,
    The wind blows,
    The cloud fleets,
    The heart beats,
    Nothing will die.Nothing will die;
    All things will change
    Thro’ eternity.
    ‘Tis the world’s winter;
    Autumn and summer
    Are gone long ago;
    Earth is dry to the centre,
    But spring, a new comer,
    A spring rich and strange,
    Shall make the winds blow
    Round and round,
    Thro’ and thro’,
    Here and there,
    Till the air
    And the ground
    Shall be fill’d with life anew.The world was never made;
    It will change, but it will not fade.
    So let the wind range;
    For even and morn
    Ever will be
    Thro’ eternity.
    Nothing was born;
    Nothing will die;
    All things will change.


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