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Brian D

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About Brian D

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  • Occupation
    Family medicine doctor
  • Favorite movies
    Of Gods and Men, Munyurungabo, Phantom Thread, New World, Where the Wild Things Are, Dead Man WalkingThe Apostle, Into the West
  • Favorite music
    Arcade Fire, Sara Groves, Innocence Mission, Uncle Tupelo
  • Favorite creative writing
    Novels: Gilead - Marilynne Robinson, Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevsky, Cry the Beloved Country - Paton, Auralia's Colors-Overstreet, Short stories:The Tumblers - Nathan Englander, My Mother's Garden - Katherine Shonk

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  1. The Growing Older page looks wonderful. Just wondering...is there a way to make the page pop up more easily on a Google search? If you search for "arts and faith growing older top 25 films", you will find Andrew and Ken's pages. Those are excellent in and of themselves, but is there a way that a Google search could yield direct access to the online top 25 list itself? This not for my own sake but for others who would like to find it easily as they search.
  2. I would really enjoy doing a piece on the Growing Older list in relation to the concept of legacy. How does the concept of legacy manifest itself in the lives of these characters? Along with this, how do the films themselves (especially works like Limelight and the Varda films) function as a legacy handed down by their directors? As we grow old, what kinds of legacies do we hope to leave? As filmmakers reach their mature years, what kind of legacies do THEY want to pass on to those who will come after them? This topic could be quite a fruitful one, and in fact could be discussed in relation to almost every film on the list. Space likely wouldn't allow for treating all of the films, but there is quite a bit of potential for a wider overview.
  3. I'm making my way through this top 25 blurb by blurb. I feel this list unlocks these films as one would unlock a box of precious treasure - carefully and with loving attention.
  4. Thank you so much for that piece on your blog, Ken. You have many wonderful observations there...many things I hadn't noticed even after 3 viewings of the film.
  5. Malick...life of Christ...a film called The Last Planet...maybe just a little exciting for us at A and F? https://thefilmstage.com/news/terrence-malick-begins-shooting-new-film-the-last-planet/ Reports are coming in that the elusive filmmaker has begun shooting his next film near Rome. Various Italian publications are reporting that Malick has embarked on a shoot for his new film The Last Planet near Anzio, south of Rome, notably in the nature reserve of Tor Caldara. The film will reportedly convey passages “in the life of Christ” through representing evangelical parables. One Big Soul adds that the shoot has actually been underway for a few weeks.
  6. Brian D

    Ahmed

    Fun to see you there on the Croisette asking questions of the brothers, Joel!
  7. Brian D

    Ahmed

    Fun to see you there on the Croisette asking questions of the brothers, Joel!
  8. My laptop seems to struggle with being able to access the Arts and Faith messenger. I've managed to send messages intermittently, but not today. Ken, would you mind sharing your email address with me either here or by sending it to me at [...] I wanted to send you another message or two in relation to my blurbs. Thank you!
  9. Hi Ken, In regard to the blurb I'll be writing for You Can’t Take It with You in the top 25 : I really liked the way you crystallized this film’s value (above) for the list in terms of Grandpa Vanderhof’s fruitfulness in old age. Do you mind if I expand on that particular point for my blurb? I can’t think of a more helpful perspective or way to approach the film for this top 25. Gratefully, Brian P.S. I wanted to send this as an individual message but I couldn't get that A and F function to work.
  10. Brian D

    Madadayo

    Spoiler alert: The scene is closer to the end, quite soon after the depression over the cat has lifted. I wondered why the tone was more serious rather than the tone of celebration that I would have expected. It may be one in which the hare is mentioned...I don't recall for sure. I suspect there may be a cultural aspect that I am missing. Thank you!
  11. Brian D

    Madadayo

    Spoiler alert: The scene is closer to the end, quite soon after the depression over the cat has lifted. I wondered why the tone was more serious rather than the tone of celebration that I would have expected. It may be one in which the hare is mentioned...I don't recall for sure. I suspect there may be a cultural aspect that I am missing. Thank you!
  12. Brian D

    Madadayo

    Question : can someone please explain to me what is going on in the scene in which the wife keeps filling up the professor's sake cup while the professor is singing? The thing that confused me here was that the students at that moment appear to be frozen in some sort of fear or apprehension rather than their customary joviality and laughter. Why are they suddenly so serious?
  13. Brian D

    Madadayo

    Excellent, Ken. Hearing this analysis from a professor really gives Madadayo a boost in credibility in my mind. I was on the fence about some aspects if it, but I realize from your take that some of my concerns may vanish as I shift a bit and focus on some other very fine aspects of the film.
  14. Brian D

    Madadayo

    In our upcoming Growing Older top 25...time to finally have a thread of its own! This is what I wrote on Letterboxd about the film: Students, you love your professor. That is so very clear throughout this film. You love him so much you stay by his side and follow him even into his old age. That is quite remarkable. Still, your devotion to him has hints of idolatry. Is he really “pure gold”? Is this not a bit too much? Especially since it is not always clear what you are learning from him. Are you learning to drink deep into the night to somehow show the world that you are alive? What are you learning from him? I wish I understood his impact on you, and I wish it was clearer why his impact was golden. Students, I do appreciate the example of your friendship with your professor. This kind of friendship with the elderly is very rarely found on film, let alone in real life. I am grateful to have been able to taste some of this over the 2 hours of this film. I see your camaraderie with your sensai in many ways here, and it is lovingly detailed. Students, I love most of all the way you stand fast with your professor as his age overwhelms his emotions. The passage with the “lost one” is the most resonant one in the film, not only because it is a deep check on the notion that your professor is perfect but also because it shows so much about how you are faithful friends. Even yet, would you lay down your life for your friend? My own Master once said, “Greater love has no one than this…” Students, would you do this for your professor? I am not a filmmaker yet I am one of Professor Kurosawa’s students. I have learned not a little about life, films, and storytelling as I’ve watched him dream out loud on screen. This film is many times more special because it is the Professor’s final film. The ending is somehow the perfect final scene for the final film of Kurosawa’s career. It has a rare finality, a period at the end of Kurosawa’s lifelong film novel.
  15. It's so good to know that, Ken. Maybe we can think about how to share list responsibilities more in the future, or have others plug into the multiple roles you've had to fill this time around. We do so appreciate the way you've led and inspired us to get the list going and to work toward the project as a community. I think this is a fine list, and surely the end result (blurbs and all) will be special indeed. I would be very open to contributing an essay to a Growing Older - themed book. One idea for a theme I could suggest would be something related to growing older and preserving/consolidating memory before death…preserving memories, pieces, fragments of who a person is before they pass from this world…retaining those fragments so they are not forgotten. This idea can be seen in both Varda films on our list in the way the director captures pictures of herself and her subjects in the later years of her life. The central figure of Poetry, similarly, struggles to put into poetry something of herself that will outlive her decaying memory and body. Finally, the forest of trees in The Man Who Planted Trees is a beautiful image that captures some of the essence of the man who planted that forest. That's a related theme idea that I would find intriguing.
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