Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

From the final scene of City Lights.

When people learn I’m a filmmaker, I usually get a few questions:

Q. Have you ever met anyone famous?
A. Well, I once walked down a stairwell in Los Angeles with Walter Matthau. My guess is he had taken the stairs to avoid people on the elevator. He watched me warily as we plodded down the staircase together, just the two of us, then decided I wasn’t going to pester him for an autograph after all. He may even have given me a half-smile before entering the parking garage; I can’t really remember. I’ve also met a few well-known actors in eating establishments. Once, I sat near Faye Dunaway in a small restaurant in New York City. And yes, she held her cigarette up in the air at an angle and blew an endless cloud of smoke toward the ceiling. Then there was James Whitmore. A real gentleman. In my twenties, I worked as a production assistant on a film he was starring in and had a long conversation with him one day in his trailer. Turned out he was from the same area of Upstate New York as my grandmother. There have been a few other “stars” along the way; not much to write home about.

Q. Have you made any films I might have seen?
A. Maybe, though my viewing audience until now has been largely outside the United States. See if something looks familiar on IMDb:

Q. What is your favorite film?
A. I get asked that question a lot, and it’s hard to answer. Sometimes, I can’t remember myself! So, I’ve drawn up a list. (You can check it out here.)

"Lobby Card" for City Lights.

And now, back to where we started… the picture of Charlie Chaplin at the top. That image is taken from the very last shot of City Lights, released in 1931 and widely considered by critics his masterpiece. On a side note, Chaplin made this as a silent film, even though the “talkies” had been in vogue for several years. I first watched City Lights during my film school days in the 1970s and, frankly, had forgotten about it until it played a few weeks ago on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). It is now on my list of “favorite films” and I’d like to tell you why.
There are many brilliant comedic scenes in City Lights that would warrant placing it on anyone’s list of favorite films, but it was the ending that got to me. I had forgotten all about the ending, and when I saw it again, watching with fresh eyes after the passing of many years, I found myself moved to tears. I daresay you would be moved to tears as well.
Briefly, the story goes like this. Chaplin’s beloved Little Tramp character falls in love with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill), and when she interprets his chivalrous attentions as those of a genteel, wealthy man, the Little Tramp plays along. He does, in fact, come into a fistful of money through a hilarious set of circumstances, but maintains the pretense of being a wealthy suitor by giving the blind girl the money she needs to avoid eviction from her apartment as well as afford expensive eye surgery to restore her sight.
Flash forward to the ending.
The Little Tramp is just out of jail (he has served a few months’ time for a crime he did not commit) and happens by a flower shop owned by the once blind flower girl. She has had the surgery and her eyesight is restored. It doesn’t cross her mind that the ragged Little Tramp could be her benefactor, but when she pins a flower on his lapel as a kind gesture (she is, after all, a kind lady), and presses a coin in the Little Tramp’s hand, the sense of touch overtakes the sense of sight and she realizes…
Aah! I’m still crying. Ninety years after the film was made, I’m still crying. Here’s their final dialogue as taken from the title cards:
“You?” she asks the Little Tramp.
He nods shyly, asking, “You can see now?”
Showing a powerful mix of emotions, she replies, “Yes, I can see now.”
CUT TO the Little Tramp in closeup and fade to black. The end. And pass the Kleenex.

Virginia Cherrill, the flower girl, her sight restored.

Simple, sublime, spiritual, and arguably as powerful now as it was nearly a century ago. This, my friends, is why we create and esteem art. It elevates our souls. And, of course, I can’t help but think what a powerful parallel to the ministry of the Man from Galilee, who healed the physically blind and the spiritually blind. Who walked among us as a Little Tramp (I mean no disrespect), spurned and disregarded by the ruling elite, put to death between two criminals. Even today his name is freely used as an imprecation.
One day, we will see him clearly. We will, perhaps, recognize him initially by the touch of his hands, those calloused, carpenter’s hands that caressed us in our darkest nights and wiped the tears away. Who paid the ultimate price that we might see. We will look in his face and know him completely, thoroughly, just as he knows us completely and thoroughly. Together with him, we will inhabit eternity, our eyes truly opened.
Charles Chaplin himself, as far as I have been able to tell, was not a believer. I suppose we will find out in Eternity. Interestingly, he said this: “We live by faith more than we think and achieve by it more than we realize. I believe that faith is the precursor of all our ideas.”
Thank you for City Lights, Charlie. You have blessed my soul.
And God bless all of you,

Cris and the crew were out shooting winter exteriors in Minnesota just a few days ago. Not unlike Charlie Chaplin, Cris is both acting and directing (and he is also the screenwriter). 
Let Me Have My Son is being made, folks! Like us on social media to get the latest updates and show your love and support with a tax-deductible donation to Messenger Films.
A video report from Cris on the set this weekend!
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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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