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When I first saw GODFATHER III I felt it perfect.

I was astonished by the harsh reviews and harsh reaction to the picture.

I was extremely impressed by all the performances particularly those of Sofia Coppola who showed a wisdom beyond her years and that of George Hamilton who revealed depths unplumbed before or since.

I watched the film again tonight on the big screen in The CineForum.

Again, I say the picture is perfect.

One person with the truth is a majority.

I look forward to Coppola’s new cut.

His work, in all its variations, always interesting is.

People start their lives trying to get on. They do what they must to survive.

When successful at survival people strive to get honest. Michael wants out of the family business.

He almost succeeds but the third step, the fatal step, trips him.

For after people get on, get honest they seek honors.

This Michael does with murder soaked money donated to charitable causes in such vast amounts it renders laughable the thought crime does not pay.It pays. It pays voluminously.

Michael seeks redemption in the Vatican Garden in a scene which his old, wheelchair bound protector Dom Tommasino watches acutely aware that Michael is no longer fit to lead. We must bear our crosses privately as Jesus bore his. Yes, the weight of them crushes us. That is how it is in life. Nonetheless, crushed we rise stronger. Foremost among his many confessed sins (which leave his confessor visibly shaken) is the order of the hit on his brother Frodo.

But what Michael (and all reviewers) have never understood is that Frodo killed Frodo.

His betrayal of Michael that led to the near murder of Michael’s entire family was an act beyond forgiveness. It is as beyond forgiveness as a son going against his father for the sake of his boss/employer.

We can always get a boss/employer. We have but one father.

THE GODFATHER is about family, not just the personal family we are born into but also (and more importantly) the extended family of those who trust us with their lives.

Michael in the end fails both families.

He fails because he is the product of an education system designed to create failures.

For more on that read John Taylor Gatto and many others.

Eli Wallach, as Don Altobello,is superb as the worm hidden in the apple.

Michael’s problem is that it took him too long to worm him out.

Michael is a man desperate to be loved.

The whining, opening letter begging forgiveness from his children lets me know from the start Michael is on the verge of absolute collapse.

All the things he wants, forgiveness, love, redemption, understanding these are the treasures no man can possess unless he first gives them away freely. In fact, to achieve these treasures we must, as Jesus did, lay down our life knowing we can pick it up again.

The scenes with Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini are the film’s most troubling.

Vincent is a man who wants power but who completely lack self control. He wants the submission other men yield to power.

He revels in it. The look on his face as he takes over from Michael while other men pay him homage is orgasmic.

He is not a man fit to inherit the throne.

It would be truly interesting to see his story played out in THE GODFATHER IV.

In the end Michael has gained the world at the cost of everything he valued.

THE GODFATHER Trilogy is a magnificent parable for our times as the curtain gets rung down moment by moment an Act Three as we face the loss of everything we love.

Michael’s father is a born man of honour. In seeking the honors of this world Michael reveals himself without honor absolutely corrupted. He has failed to understand that his father became not a gangster but rather the protector of his family. In every sense his father was a father. Michael fails at everything. His charity is not charity. It is an effort to keep his taxes down. What he gives he gives with expectation of return. He does not give for the sake of giving. Every move he makes is consciously calculated to bring him profit.

As for love, let Anna Akhmatova have the final word:

Twenty-first. Night. Monday.

Twenty-first. Night. Monday.
Silhouette of the capitol in darkness.
Some good-for-nothing — who knows why–
made up the tale that love exists on earth.

People believe it, maybe from laziness
or boredom, and live accordingly:
they wait eagerly for meetings, fear parting,
and when they sing, they sing about love.

But the secret reveals itself to some,
and on them silence settles down…
I found this out by accident
and now it seems I’m sick all the time.

Love is something we give never expecting to get the gift returned.

Now and then we do.

That’s why I am so happy to be alive.

I get it quite often really.

–Reg Hartt

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