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J.A.A. Purves

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  1. So, is Alissa Wilkinson the only film reviewer out there asking these questions?: "But about three-quarters of the way into the movie, I started to feel extremely uncomfortable, and that discomfort only increased as the movie skidded toward its conclusion. The movie was asking me to root for the heroes — but I wanted nothing more than for them to fail in their quest. And while that could work in a satirical film, Ready Player One is far from satirical. On the contrary, it seemed blithely unaware of how disturbing it was. Ready Player One is set in a dystopian future. But it seems to have no idea how dystopian it really is. The year is 2045, and the world has gone to shit. It’s gotten so bad that most people prefer to spend their time in a massive video game called the OASIS, where they engage as characters in various worlds and collect coin, the in-game currency. We learn all this in voiceover from Wade (Tye Sheridan), a teenage orphan who lives with his aunt in a trailer park and plays in the OASIS as an avatar called Parzival. Wade loves the OASIS. It’s where he’s met his friends and where he spends his days. And no wonder — the real world is a wreck, and everyone in it spends all their time in the OASIS too ... An early shot in the movie pans across the trailer park where Wade lives, trailers stacked high. Inside each trailer is a person wearing VR goggles and looking kind of ridiculous, because they are in the OASIS, playing games or fighting or whatever. It’s one of the more frightening things I’ve ever seen in a movie, largely because it’s only a few notches past the world we inhabit now. It’s like a scene from Black Mirror: a world of people so distracted by their shiny technology that they have entirely neglected the stuff of human life. They’d rather just escape into another world, created by a couple of programmers. To me, that seems transparently dystopian — not that the world is bad, but that nobody cares anymore about fixing it ... There’s no sense in the film that anyone really should be paying attention to what’s brought their civilization to this place. (Which, for all its described evils, still has the wealth and technology available to deliver piping hot pizzas via drones.) It sounds overly pedantic to say this, and it probably is, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going on in the world outside the OASIS. Were people starving? Or fearing for their lives? Can everyone afford to have headsets, or does this neglected world include people who have to live in the dystopic ruins without escape? What kind of unrest has driven them into this dystopic state? And why doesn’t anyone think it can be fixed? Isn’t it horrifying that they’ve just left it all behind altogether? This would be some pretty salient Black Mirror-style warning about technology and bad social systems if it were just left there. The solution would be to see the OASIS destroyed so that people are plunged back into the real world and resolve to change it. But Ready Player One presents itself as a story about a gang of brave, scrappy heroes who are motivated to save the world — but only the virtual world, the one that keeps them from engaging with what’s really going on in the physical world. And the movie applauds this. It very obviously wants us to cheer for our heroes as they try to save the OASIS from destruction. I sat watching this all unfold, disturbed by the implication here: that we out in the audience are supposed to be on the side of escape. In fact, we are on its side, engaging in a movie that functions as an escapist fantasy itself."
  2. Den of Geek, January 11, 2018: “Fahrenheit 451 is one of the seminal dystopian works in all of fiction. Ray Bradbury's classic work is disturbing and increasingly prescient sci-fi. In the 1953 novel, released during the peak of the McCarthy era panic, books are outlawed and ‘firemen’ go around to make sure that they go up in smoke, lest any unapproved ideas make their way out into the world. Ramin Bahrani and Amir Naderi are adapting Bradbury's book, and Bahrani will direct. The timing, of course, as we find ourselves on the receiving end of an increasingly bizarre parade of "alternative facts" couldn't be more appropriate. In the unlikely event that the words HBO and Fahrenheit 451 in close proximity to each other aren't enough to get you excited, perhaps the cast will. Michael B. Jordan will play Guy Montag, the young fireman who starts to realize that maybe he's in the wrong line of work. HBO veteran Michael Shannon will play Captain Beatty, Montag's commanding officer at the fire department.The Mummy's Sofia Boutella has joined the cast as Clarisse McClellan (via THR).”
  3. January - Why Liberalism Failed (2018) - by Patrick J. Deneen - Waiting on the Word (2015) - by Malcolm Guite - Prince Caspian (1951) - by C.S. Lewis - The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods (1921) - by A.G. Sertillanges - Paris in the Present Tense (2017) - by Mark Helprin - Four Quartets (1943) - by T.S. Eliot February - Some Permanent Things (2014) - by James Matthew Wilson - Thomas Traherne: Poetry and Prose (1650s-1670s) - by Thomas Traherne - The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill (1920s-1960s) - by Winston Churchill - A Country of Marriage: Poems (1973) - by Wendell Berry - The World of Silence (1948) - by Max Picard March - Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948) - by Josef Pieper - Letters to a Diminished Church (2004) - by Dorothy L. Sayers - Liturgy and Personality (1933) - by Dietrich von Hildebrand - Tickets for a Prayer Wheel (1974) - by Annie Dillard - The Consolation of Philosophy (525) - by Boethius April - The Word in the Wilderness (2014) - by Malcolm Guite - Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York (2016) - by Francis Spufford - The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson (2017) - by Homer - The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in the Western Tradition (2017) - by James Matthew Wilson May - Feel Free: Essays (2018) - by Zadie Smith - Rumi: Poems (1260s) - by Rumi - Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (2009) - by James K.A. Smith - The Innocence of God: Does God Ordain Evil? (2012) - by Udo Middelmann June - Whose Bible Is It?: A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages (2005) - by Jaroslav Pelikan - Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith (2007) - by Scott Hahn - Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith (1989) - by Peter Gillquist - Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism (1993) - by Scott & Kimberly Hahn - The Orthodox Church (1963) - by Timothy Ware - Confessions (A.D. 397) - by St. Augustine July - An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845) - by John Henry Newman - Endless Life: Poems of the Mystics (2014) - by Scott Cairns - Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy, and Tradition (1990) - by Alasdair MacIntyre August - The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings (2015) - by Philip & Carol Zaleski - Art and Scholasticism with Other Essays (1920) - by Jacques Maritain September - Building the Benedict Option: A Guide to Gathering Two or Three Together in His Name (2018) - by Leah Libresco - Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic (2018) - by Peter Kreeft - Stunned by Scripture: How the Bible Made Me Catholic (2018) - by John Bergsma - Freedom from Reality: The Diabolical Character of Modern Liberty (2017) - by D.C. Schindler - The Embassy of Cambodia (2013) - by Zadie Smith October - An Introduction to Philosophy (1921) - by Jacques Maritain - We Have Been Friends Together & Adventures in Grace: Memoirs (1944) - by Raissa Maritain - The Meaning of Tradition (1964) - by Yves Congar - The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking (2015) - by James Matthew Wilson - Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity (2014) - by Prue Shaw - The Divine Comedy (1321) - by Dante Alighieri, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow November - Vita Nuova (1294) - by Dante Alighieri - On Beauty (2005) - by Zadie Smith - The Book of Other People (2007) - edited by Zadie Smith - Genesis (1988) - by Frederick Turner - Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864) - by John Henry Newman December - The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: A History (2009) - by Joseph F. Kelly - The Horse and His Boy (1954) - by C.S. Lewis - Taken In Faith: Poems (2002) - by Helen Pinkerton
  4. Absolutely agreed. Any liturgical prayer, poem, or song (even if spoken aloud in Greek or Latin) can still be explained to lay congregations so that they understand the meaning. The fact that a text may need to be explained is not an argument against the text itself being used in church or liturgical practice. This isn't even to mention the fact that rhythm and cadence for prayers (particularly for prayers designed to be spoken aloud communally) does matter, and pretending that it doesn't matter is more destructive (of beauty, of memorization, of music) than the revisers will admit. Meanwhile, Anthony Esolen just weighed in on the translation "lead us not into temptation" as being accurate from the Greek text:
  5. Someone could, of course, inform Pope Francis that the line has been changed and butchered over and over again by almost a century of modernized English translations. “And let us not be put to the test” (Bible in Basic English), “And do not lead us into hard testing” (Complete Jewish Bible), “Do not bring us to hard testing” (Good News Translation), “Don’t allow us to be tempted” (God’s Word Translation), “Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge!” (The Message Bible), “Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted” (New International Reader’s Version), “And don’t let us yield to temptation” (New Living Translation), “And do not bring us to the time of trial” (New Revised Standard). The theological problems with some of the above, notwithstanding, The New Century Version is the one that gets it wrong in the sense the Pope complains of (“And do not cause us to be tempted”), which is not the same sense as “Lead us not into temptation.” “Lead us not into temptation” was never understood by the KJV/English Book of Common Prayer as implying that God causes temptation. See Matthew Poole’s 1660s Commentaries: “The term temptation in the general signifieth a trial, and is sometimes used to express God’s trials of his people’s faith and obedience, but most ordinarily to express Satan’s trials of us, by motions to sin; which may be from our own lusts, Jam 1:13,14; or from the devil, who is therefore called the tempter; or from the world. These are the temptations which we are commanded to pray against: not that God leads any persons into such temptations, unless by the permission of his providence.” In other words, praying “lead us not into temptation” is the same as praying “protect us from temptation” and it is understood as such by anyone who stops to think about it. Of course, the word “lead us” is also associated with a shepherd leading his flock (Psalm 23), so praying for Him not to lead us to temptation is asking for direction, whereas praying “help us to avoid times of trial” implies much more modern agency and has its own theological problems given that Christian theology does not necessarily direct Christians to avoid the world’s troubles or promise them that they may avoid trial. __________________________________________ See also: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” has been changed to “Do no bring us to the time of trial, but deliver us from evil.” Why? For the sake of clarity? (That is the usual answer.) I know, because every sense in my body informs me, and ever misinclination of my mind, what is temptation, from which we seek deliverance. But “the time of trial?” That sounds as if the Supreme Court is in session. - William F. Buckley, Jr., “His New Prayer,” November 17, 1977, Buckley: The Right Word, 1996, pg. 110 __________________________________________ Among other things, we aren't going to expect the current Pope to have an ear for the rhythms and poetry of old liturgical English.
  6. This film is absolutely beautiful. The visual imagery is gorgeous, not to mention the Persian art styles interlaced in the fairy tale story within a story. Not only does the film offer a very strong young female character (among other strong woman characters), but she is believable, vulnerable, and feels real in ways that even the recent self-assured independent Disney princesses have not been. The main story and the fairy tale story are both haunting, and they mesh together with a wallop with an ending that is revealing of deeper tragedy and redemptive at the same time. My wife and I loved it. If she's not careful, Ms. Twomey is going to start taking various awards away from Pixar.
  7. This is still a work in progress, so let me know what else any of you would add from published books for this year - https://underlyingassumptions.org/2017-books-to-read/
  8. I'm still playing catch up around here, but I was able to write a little about this lovely film.
  9. Brett McCracken: “When I knew him, Kogonada talked a lot about Postman and cited 'Technopoly' often. He worried about the ways technology might be making us dumber and number; numb to the beauty which is everywhere around us if only we have eyes to see and interest (or attention-spans?) to look. This techno-skepticism is on display in Columbus. Richardson’s character proudly flaunts her antiquated flip phone, which she calls a “dumb phone” because it has no Internet access. She prefers spending time at libraries and trying to remember facts rather than resorting to Google. Happier and more alive to the beauty of her hometown (refreshingly unburdened by the wanderlust and status envy stoked by the “connected” life), she provides a compelling model for what joyful resistance might look like in a technopolized world. Indeed, at a time when more and more are noting the disturbing psychological and de-humanizing effects of technology, Columbus offers a glimpse into a world we can have if we want it: a world of serendipitous discovery rather than utilitarian Google search; quiet contentment rather than clattering consumerism; sensory encounter rather than disembodied distraction; a world where the physical nouns (people, places and things) in front of us are more compelling and comforting to us than the digital abstractions we might find on the other side of a hyperlink. Cinema is often framed as escapism, and indeed it has that quality. We watch movies to visit far away places and times, and to understand the experiences of others. But cinema at its best, and certainly Columbus fits that bill, doesn’t stop at escapism; it helps us return well to reality, with new eyes to see and love the world beyond the screen.”
  10. I'd be happy to write a review of it. I'll message you for more details.
  11. It's time we had a thread on this film. I just saw it over the weekend, and it is very easily one of the most important films of the year (whether last year or this year). It's beautiful. It gives glimpses into the values that Berry has been advocating for decades (including precious footage of a debate back in the '70s). It focuses very much on farming and agriculture, turns very bleak and then offers reason for hope if the members of the audience would only start acting on what they know they should act upon. Watch your theaters for it and order the DVD.
  12. Well, that certainly looks headache inducing. Sort of Speed Racer meets Transformers meets World of Warcraft to equal a Tron knockoff. No thanks.
  13. Same here. As a rule, I always wait to close to the very end voting date in order to watch a few of the nominated films I haven't seen yet.
  14. March - Conserving America?: Essays on Present Discontents (2016) - by Patrick J. Deneen - Whose Justice? Whose Rationality? (1988) - by Alasdair MacIntyre April - The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (2017) - by Rod Dreher - Tales from the Perilous Realm (1997) - by J.R.R. Tolkien - The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981) - by J.R.R. Tolkien May - One Man’s Dark (2017) - by Maurice Manning - Letters to Atticus, Vol. I - by Cicero - The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. I - by Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp - Passage to Modernity: An Essay on the Hermeneutics of Nature and Culture (1993) - by Louis Dupré - The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? (2005) - by David Bentley Hart June - Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life (2016) - by Tish Harrison Warren - The Singing Bowl (2013) - by Malcolm Guite - Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (2017) - by Anthony Esolen - Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year (2012) - by Malcolm Guite July - Orthodoxy (1908) - by G.K. Chesterton - The Thirty-Nine Steps (1914) - by John Buchan August - The Silmarillion (1977) - by J.R.R. Tolkien - The Long-Legged House (1966) - by Wendell Berry September - For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (1973) - by Alexander Schmemann - Another Turn of the Crank (1995) - by Wendell Berry - The Hobbit (1937) - by J.R.R. Tolkien October - Metaphor and Reality (1962) - by Philip Wheelwright - On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom (1997)- by John Chrysostom November - The Life of Samuel Johnson (1790) - by James Boswell December - The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 (1983) - by William Manchester
  15. So some life and family issues stopped me from participating in the nomination process as much as I was hoping to, but this is looking good. While I ought to spend some more time trying to discuss what I was trying to get at by this list, I can say that, as the one who first envisioned this list, I think there are easily more than 25 films among our nominated & seconded films that meet the theme I was going for here. Some of you have made some comments and asked some questions that I will get around to discussing a little more. I am also beginning to think things through in more detail now that we have a group selected list of films to choose from. For starters, am I right in seeing that there are only 8 films from our top 100 list as prospective nominees? By my count, this includes: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days Double Life of Veronique, The Fearless Ikiru New World, The Punch-Drunk Love Through a Glass Darkly Wings of Desire Out of these I see Ikiru, Wings of Desire and Double Life of Veronique as absolutely essential for the theme. I can certainly see arguments for the others, particularly for Fearless. The New World is interesting because it is John Smith who goes through the longest and most elaborate waking up process and yet he rejects it in the end. It is certainly a film about being awake to the hidden and spiritual realities of the created things around us.
  16. While the story itself doesn’t sound very impressive, the reviews for this one are looking good. A.A. Dowd: “In Lynne Ramsay’s fragmentary, ferociously beautiful ‘You Were Never Really Here’ (Grade: A-), Joaquin Phoenix takes a scary new shape—a bulkiness every bit as psychologically revealing as the bony odd angles of Freddie Quell. Phoenix plays Joe, a muscle for hire. (“I hear you can be brutal,” someone says to him, awe and a little fear on their breath.) If the idea of this particular actor starring as someone paid to bring the pain sounds implausible, then you just haven’t seen the human wrecking ball he’s made himself into this time, complete with a shaggy gray beard that seems to enhance his fearsomeness and his outsider vulnerability all at once. You also haven’t seen his way with a hammer. The character and story come from a novella by ‘Bored To Death’ creator Jonathan Ames. Ramsay, the Scottish director who made ‘Morvern Callar’ and ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin,’ twists that source material into an existential nightmare noir. There are shades of ‘Point Blank’ and ‘The Long Goodbye,’ of ‘Taxi Driver’ shattered into shards, of ‘The Limey’ suffering a nervous breakdown. And in the sinister, serpentine swell of its Johnny Greenwood score—coupled with the sight of Phoenix playing another mad war veteran—it sometimes suggests ‘The Master’ reconfigured into something more savage. All of those influences shine dimly under the skin of ‘You Were Never Really Here,’ but it remains its own bewildering animal, unmistakably Ramsay’s. She is said to have arrived at Cannes with the DCP only yesterday. Who knows if the movie is done—it ends with no credits, just an empty black screen, the void out of which Greenwood’s thrumming cacophony emanates. But if the version we saw is unfinished, at a refreshingly brisk 85 minutes, it’s to great elliptical effect. Ramsay has made a terrific short story, economical as hell but also so moment-for-moment gripping that you want to pore over its every shot, its every dark cranny.” Bilge Ebiri: “‘You Were Never Really Here’ not only turned out to be the best film in the official competition, this 88-minute nervous breakdown of a movie provided just the jolt this Cannes needed. Based on Jonathan Ames’s novel (loosely, I’m gonna guess), it follows the agitated, fragmented inner journey of Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), a kind of vigilante for hire who finds missing people. The plot ostensibly concerns his search for the daughter of a local politician who’s involved in a child sex-trafficking ring. But as depicted by Ramsay’s frenetic, staccato editing style, Joe does not think in linear fashion. His mind is a tangle of memories and flash-forwards and what-ifs, all rendered in short, sharp, shock cuts. We see glimpses of his childhood with an abusive father and feel his impotence at not being able to help his mother. We glimpse footage of a girl killed in Iraq (is it Iraq?) and we understand that somewhere along the way, Joe wasn’t there for her as well. His world is a kaleidoscope of failures both real and imagined: Standing on a train platform or drinking from a water fountain, he sees young women looking at him through dead or wounded eyes. Are they just pointedly posed bystanders, accusing specters from his past, or ghosts of failures yet to come? Some have compared ‘You Were Never Really Here’ to ‘Taxi Driver,’ some to ‘Taken’ — both understandable references. The film it reminded me most of is John Boorman’s Lee Marvin–starring genre deconstruction ‘Point Blank,’ which also disposes of the particulars of its standard-issue crime story and opts to create meaning through style. But another film it closely resembles is Ramsay’s own ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin,’ in which Tilda Swinton’s character’s overwhelming sense of maternal guilt cast her in a kind of surreal waking hell, as she repeatedly replayed her recollections (some clearly unreliable) of a failed parenthood. In Ramsay’s cinema, emotion is memory, and it feeds the present and the future. So, in ‘You Were Never Really Here,’ Joe’s absence is both his great shame and his great skill: When he infiltrates a bad guy’s compound, he vanishes. The film’s action scenes…well, the film has no action scenes, that’s the whole point. When we catch up to a confrontation, whatever has to happen has already happened — we catch a glimpse of a bloodied head, a slit throat, a shot of our hero stepping away from the camera. Because he disappears; that’s what he does, for better and for worse. He’s like a superhero whose special powers are self-loathing and self-negation. As much as he needs to break free of his demons, his demons are also partly the reason why he’s able to do what he does. He could even be a stand-in for an artist, come to think of it.”
  17. (A&F links to I'm Not There (2007), Carol (2015), and thread on Selznick's book.) Alissa Wilkinson: “Because kids grow up to be adults, giving them smart and artful cinema seems just as important to their development as giving them smart and artful books — to give them, essentially, a training ground for learning to approach the world with serious, sustained attention. But kids’ movies that treat their young audience as if they’re smart and capable of appreciating lush visual storytelling are rare. I’ve been mulling this idea for the past week, as I had one of the worst moviegoing experiences of my life last weekend, when I screened Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. Unsuitable for both adults and children — few of whom likely enjoy feeling like a movie is instructing them to laugh at designated points — it might have been a bearable 20-minute episode of TV. As a feature film, it was unforgivable. But Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck, which premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, is Wimpy Kid’s polar opposite. Gorgeous, moving, and innovatively told, it may even be too smart for some adults. Kids will get it just fine, though ... Wonderstruck feels like a magical fairytale, though nothing about it is supernatural. Told partly in color and partly in black and white, the film contains long stretches that are virtually silent, with musical accompaniment (composed by Carter Burwell) that sometimes adds atmosphere, and sometimes punctuates what’s happening on screen, similar to how musical accompaniment worked during the silent-movie era.” Katherine McLaughlin: “Adapted by Brian Selznick from his illustrated children's novel, with Carol's Todd Haynes directing, this is a delicately crafted film that continually references the process of turning the written word into elegant visuals and vice versa. Yet it is this ambitious detail that detracts from the telling of the tender coming-of-age stories, with huge portions unfolding via people scribbling on pads or reading aloud to keep the audience up to speed. Rose's narrative takes the form of a silent film with Julianne Moore as a screen siren and Carter Burwell's score providing playful accompaniment. Haynes' 1970s New York echoes Martin Scorsese's crumbling inner-city grit as seen in Taxi Driver, though the overall tone is much sweeter, like Hugo. Wonderstruck shines brightest when its characters interact with the setting or the incredible panoramic model of the city. As the children roam the halls of the American Museum of Natural History their curiosity is realised with a spirited vigour. Haynes' camera whooshes between the different time periods and cinematic stylings, with his film painting the progression of the city over 50 years. It's part heartfelt love letter to New York's history and part ode to the ever-changing visage and vibrations of cinema.”
  18. Still waiting for August 25th. There is no way the Dardenne brothers should have to wait this long to get a U.S. release.
  19. Finally, in what feels like a long drought of the last six months of 2017, I just came across this gem.
  20. Right. We do not want to just select mostly or even all from our Top 100 list. As far as "revelation of darker realities", evil, etc., I'd argue that we already did that with our Top 25 Horror Film list. So far I've wrestled with limiting how I'd define "waking up" by the idea of getting rid of "default settings" or unwarranted assumptions, or by "conversion" in let's say an anti-Kirk Cameron sense. I've been interested in a long time in stories about waking up - stories where a character realizes that there are deeper, even sacramental, realities behind the scenes. In this sense, out of the entire Top 100 List, I'd see Ikiru or Wings of Desire as prototypical examples. Ikiru's Watanabe is a character who eventually sees the world as a little enchanted, and this fundamentally changes and redeems him. He has a sense of what really matters. I apologize that it seems as if I'm circling, rather than articulating, what "waking up" could or should mean for this list. I will admit that I've been reading Charles Taylor, Louis Dupré, and Hans Boersma recently and, while nominating films, I am personally specifically looking for films that can hint at what Taylor calls the "enchanted world" that modernity has for the most part lost or rejected. Thus, all or any films touching on waking up to sacramental reality would fit perfectly with this list. A film considered to be "spiritually significant" or concerning matters of faith is not always going to touch on waking up to the spiritual reality underlying material reality. Indeed, I think that most of our Top 100 do not do this. Mere spiritual significance can focus on conviction of sin, the nature of evil, the possibility of miracles, conversion, the nature of religious belief, false prophets, moral awakening, atonement, death, eternity, etc. Out of all those themes, my personal plan is to look for films that focus upon the ideas of conversion and awakening. Additionally, as I said the other thread, I'd advocate for films that "focus on stories where characters' eyes' are opened to spiritual realities, both with and/or without institutionalized religious contexts. I would want to craft the list in such a way that it is attractive, challenging, and inspiring to any thinking person, wherever that person may currently be in thinking through what he or she believes." This may be a balancing act, but I believe it will be worth it. All that said, I'd think that The Tree of Life, Doctor Strange, The Truman Show, and Inception are all absolutely on topic, regardless of precisely where I'd think each film would rank inside or outside the final Top 25.
  21. So I'm going to make a very rare exception to one of my own rules and nominate a film that I haven’t seen yet. I only haven’t seen it because I haven’t been given a chance to. According to the film’s website, they plan to have a DVD distributor by the end of this month. We are planning on finishing voting on nominated films by mid-June. Most of us probably haven’t seen this, but you can watch the first 4 minutes of the film here. Given these first minutes and everything I’ve read from Wendell Berry, this strikes me as being very much a film about waking up to the spiritual/sacramental realities around us. In fact, I believe this is exactly the sort of film that, if we can use our lists for advocacy, we should persuade many other people to see. (A part of me even wants to ask if we could trade our #1 spot on this list and a promise to enthusiastically promote the film for advance DVDs from the filmmaker/distributor.)
  22. Title: Upstream Color Director: Shane Carruth Year: 2013 Language: English IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084989/ YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SilYsr_3vrA Link to the A&F thread on the film: Title: The Illusionist Director: Sylvain Chomet Year: 2010 Language: French IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0775489/ YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMqpU7lUlLg Link to the A&F thread on the film: Title: La Belle Noiseuse Director: Jacques Rivette Year: 1991 Language: French IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101428/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFijVVdPnDc Link to the A&F thread on the film: N/A Title: Joe Versus the Volcano Director: John Patrick Shanley Year: 1990 Language: English IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099892/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmQDIne3CLo Link to the A&F thread on the film: Title: Rumble Fish Director: Francis Ford Coppola Year: 1982 Language: English IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086216/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kx_jtFN0H8 Link to the A&F thread on the film: N/A
  23. Title: Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry Director: Laura Dunn & Jef Sewell Year: 2016 Language: English IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2335444/ YouTube Link: Link to the A&F thread on the film:
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