Joel Mayward

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About Joel Mayward

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    pastor | writer | youth worker | film guy

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    Portland, OR

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    Pastor, Writer

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  1. Our list has gone public! Feel free to share with your social media networks: Part One: Part Two: The final ten films: 1) Arrival 2) Silence 3) Our Little Sister 4) Hail Caesar! 5) Knight of Cups 6) Hell or High Water 7) Loving 8) Queen of Katwe 9) A Monster Calls 10) Tower Thanks to everyone who nominated, voted, and wrote blurbs!
  2. For myself, I've recently chosen the posture of disconnecting from social media--particularly through deactivating Facebook--as both strategy and protest. Due to the nature of the "conversations" that I saw happening regarding politics, with the polarizing and the trolling and the hatred, I've chosen to intentionally not be in the midst of that argument on those terms or in that manner. Because of my chosen vocation, I've been given a voice/platform in people's lives as a pastor and spiritual leader, and I try to steward that well in social media contexts, especially around questions of politics and religion. So in addressing Trump supporters in conversation about their views and decisions, I've chosen to do that only in face-to-face contexts, either due to intentionally seeking them out because of an ongoing relationship with them, or responding with hospitality and grace when they seek me out. I try to stay well-informed and be a non-anxious presence, but disconnecting from social media also means narrowing my engagement--instead of a wide network of connections through Facebook, I'm now limited to my immediate social context of church, family, friends, and neighbors. It's a strategically smaller approach, but one I find to be more emotionally stable for myself than delving into the social media vitriol, as well as potentially capable of long-term sustainable change. I can't recall which essay it's from, but I remember Wendell Berry writing about ecological crises and conservation of our natural world, where we can begin with cultivating health in our own backyards and patches of land, that the small acts of nurture and health do matter and affect the whole. So the big-picture issues and angles I focus on are those people's individual stories and paradigms: How did they come to this perspective? Who are they listening to for wisdom and input? Who or what are they afraid of? What ideology have they bought into, consciously or unconsciously? Or, to make things very concrete: do you know or have befriended any refugees/Muslims/LGBTQ/Latinos/African-Americans/Republicans/Democrats/evangelicals/etc.? What's your experience been like? May I introduce you to my friend(s) and listen to their story? In many social spheres, I find myself as a bridge-builder, a person connected to various communities and conversations on a variety of sides--conservative and liberal; evangelical and mainline Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox and Pentecostal and Anabaptist and all sorts of types Christians; religious and non-religious; academic and blue collar; white and POC; etc. I'm not sure if this is quite what you're looking for, Steven, but it's the conversational approach I've taken in this political season.
  3. I thought of Life of Pi too, and you're correct: he explores Hindu, Christian, and Muslim faiths, but doesn't mention Buddhist beliefs, IIRC. I am, admittedly, no expert on the various expressions of Buddhism, and it may be presumptuous on my part, but recognizing the Buddhist influence and history within Japanese culture made me wonder if these exemplary Japanese directors had explored or expressed Buddhist themes, particular Zen. I've not yet seen a Kenji Mizoguchi film, so I can't speak to his portrayal of children or Buddhism--anyone else have insight into this?
  4. I was hoping you'd comment, Andrew, as your knowledge of Kurosawa far surpasses my own. While Buddhist practices within the films themselves may be peripheral or seem absent, is it fair to say that Japanese Buddhist culture has an influence or can be assumed in many of Ozu's films? I recall reading in Paul Schrader's Transcendental Style in Film about Ozu and Zen culture, how his films' structures embody Zen practices and ideas. While I haven't seen it, Kim Ki-Duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring is about the life stages of a Buddhist apprentice/monk as he grows up in a monastery, from his childhood into old age.
  5. Regarding children, coming of age, and Buddhism, I immediately think of the films of Japanese directors like Ozu and Kurosawa. Many of Ozu's films center on the experiences of children, like Good Morning and I Was Born, But.... The films of Hayao Miyazaki often have underlying Buddhist themes and ideas, as well as Shinto themes, and those are nearly all about children/youth or have child protagonists. Bertolucci's The Last Emperor also comes to mind.
  6. First image. Apparently this film is slated for a 2017 release. It also has a few cast members:
  7. Mine too. I still appreciate La La Land, but this has all of that film's strengths, especially as it explores art and vocation, with none of its weaknesses. My review.
  8. I will have to let it percolate a bit more in my mind, but seeing this in a packed theater was deeply therapeutic for me. A quiet, peaceful film celebrating art, marriage, and vocation.
  9. Finally watched this last night, and without overspiritualizing things, I think there's a reason I waited until this week to watch the film. With its emphasis on the care for the poor, refugees, children, the sick, and its emphasis on the praxis of love and compassion, it's a remarkably relevant film. It manages to reveal the dehumanization and humanization of both the rich and the poor, which is a remarkable feat in itself--neither the wealthy nor the impoverished are able to escape their own selfishness and depravity, but each also displays moments of mercy and grace. There are several of those fourth-wall breaks which are done with great subtlety, which made them all the more effective--Vincent is staring directly into the eyes of the rich as well as the audience, which is really effective in eliciting a response. I did wonder whether the film was more mythology than biography, and whether it elevates St. Vincent to...well...sainthood, in that he's over and above everyone. His struggles often feel more external than internal, and while he does speak of his inability to actually accomplish anything, the film does seem to lionize him. I'm not aware enough of his actual biography to know which events or conversations were historical and which were created for the film, but the scene with the infant and the wealthy women around the table just wrecked me; it is the most single more powerful moment in the film for me. This film is one more reason why we should rethink creating a Top 100 list. I'd advocate for its inclusion.
  10. Ryan, thanks for clarifying, and citing Cabaret as an example is a helpful distinction. I also like "Films on Encountering the Other," but the idea of cultural upheaval is interesting on a number of levels. Lots of good possibilities for films. We've gathered a lot of unique and brilliant potential list ideas in this thread.
  11. I like this a lot too, but I think it needs a bit more teasing out, definition, and explanation. For example, I'd be much more interested in "Top 25 Films on Encountering the Other" rather than "Top 25 Films about Worldview Debates," if that makes sense.
  12. I still plan/hope to see it (I bought it!), but finding the time has been tough.
  13. Reading through this thread again, and I think I am still reeling that this is a reality now.
  14. Your description made me chuckle when I read it, but then I immediately felt terrible for doing so.