Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest

The 2006 Arts & Faith Top100 List of Spiritually Significant Films

Recommended Posts

Weird. I don't even remember seeing Fiddler on the Roof on the nominations list. I hope I voted for it. :) I loved The Miracle Maker, but I must say I'm a bit disappointed to see it third on the list when Donnie Darko and 2001 didn't make the list at all.

A bit off topic: is there a thread for films that didn't make the nominations that you wished did?

If I were a rich man ... :D


My name is Darth Vader. I come from the planet Vulcan.

- Back to the Future

To me, truth is not some vague, foggy notion. Truth is real. And at the same time, unreal. Fiction and fact and everything in between, plus some other things I can't remember; all rolled into one big "thing." This is truth, to me.

- Jack Handey

The Moviegeist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Link to the thread on The Miracle Maker -- which I first heard about when it was still in production, way back in January 1998 (via Studio Briefing)!

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But the hand-drawn animation sections really look like somebody stepped in to fill the gaps in order to meet a deadline. They're so jarringly incongruous with the detail and art of the rest of it that it really looks like a patch-up job

But that's sort of the point. The 2D less-realistic looking animation is always used to depict either a story being recounted, or a parable, or something that is happening primarily on the supernatural plane. In other words, from a historical/subjective experiential point of view those stories / events are a bit more sketchy, so the animation is, well, more sketchy. I think it's meant to be jarring and incongruous, it simultaneously jolts you from an objective Jesus-of-history type presentation to a subjective and fundamentally meaningful Jesus-of-faith position.

..as a work of art, is it really deserving of placing in the top three spiritually significant films ever made? I mean... is it a more astonishing, provocative, visionary work than The Decalogue, Babette's Feast, Au Hasard Balthazar, and Andrei Rublev? Really?

I'd actually agree that it's rating at #3 is a little high, I find some of the animation a bit juddery, and some of the scenes with Tamar a very little bit cheesy, but then perhaps that says as much about how you and I like our art.

In any case, next year, as with Rosetta this year, people will judge it a little bit more critically I suspect.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In other words, from a historical/subjective experiential point of view those stories / events are a bit more sketchy, so the animation is, well, more sketchy. I think it's meant to be jarring and incongruous, it simultaneously jolts you from an objective Jesus-of-history type presentation to a subjective and fundamentally meaningful Jesus-of-faith position.

This is starting to take over the thread, if necessary we could move this over to the proper one. But that is a fairly hefty theological movement. In your study of the film, have you uncovered any intentionality in this respect from the makers of the film?


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am disappointed that The Exorcist still didn't make the list, but I anticipated this given that most Christians have an aversion to (or completely fail to understand) horror movies. The film should matter more to Christians.

Scrooge also deserved to be included.

The list is a tad too safe and conservative for my taste and, sadly, includes no genuine surprises. I would once again challenge those who voted for them to explain the spiritual significance of The Sweet Hereafter, Rosetta, and The Year of Living Dangerously. Dogville also looks like a serious mistake to me.

I cheer the lack of science fiction! lol.

Is "Money" L'Argent?

Like Path

Edited by The Invisible Man

We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The list is a tad too safe and conservative for my taste and, sadly, includes no genuine surprises. I would once again challenge those who voted for them to explain the spiritual significance of The Sweet Hereafter, Rosetta, and The Year of Living Dangerously. Dogville also looks like a serious mistake to me.

The argument over Rosetta has raged, and I don't think we have ever finally hashed it out on the board. As far as I can tell, it claims spiritual significance by its admitted link to certain traditions of filmmaking and the ease with which the storyline comports with other significant works of Christian narrative. There is something very Flannery O'Connor about the emotional ironies of the story, its off-kilter sense of redemption, and its flickering glimpses of humanity at the end of its tether. And it is a great example of film as "social-justice," actually incarnating in public policy a specific justice that it seeks to espouse. The Sweet Hereafter is an excellent example of what Schrader was going on about in his book on transcendent style in film. For all the problems with that book, the basic point is formidable, and The Sweet Hereafter is an engaging meditation on mortality. I was once opposed to YoLD, but Ron is working on swinging me back around to his point of view.

I am with you though on Dogville. It is an excellent film, makes its points very rigorously in terms of form and dialogue, but I wouldn't think of it as "spiritual" in the Top 100 sense. That being said, if being on the list gets people to see it...

I cheer the lack of science fiction! lol.

I can't wait for Panasonic to pop up on the list next year.

Is "Money" L'Argent?

Yep.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it drops off the list lol.

It is close to being a perfect film, but I agree that it probably doesn't fit the list well.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The list is a tad too safe and conservative for my taste and, sadly, includes no genuine surprises. I would once again challenge those who voted for them to explain the spiritual significance of ...The Year of Living Dangerously. ...

Ron's lengthy analysis of the spiritual significance of LoLD . Worked for me.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In other words, from a historical/subjective experiential point of view those stories / events are a bit more sketchy, so the animation is, well, more sketchy. I think it's meant to be jarring and incongruous, it simultaneously jolts you from an objective Jesus-of-history type presentation to a subjective and fundamentally meaningful Jesus-of-faith position.

This is starting to take over the thread, if necessary we could move this over to the proper one. But that is a fairly hefty theological movement. In your study of the film, have you uncovered any intentionality in this respect from the makers of the film?

I wondered if anyone would think I was saying what I think you think I'm saying. I tried to divert from it by using "Jesus fo Faith" rather than "Christ of Faith" but to no avail I guess.

What I am not saying is that MM is trying to polarise Jesus of HIstory/Christ of Faith in the way that the Quest for the historical Jesus generally has. The film is an Evangelical collaboration and so it's unlikely that we would find such an approach within it.

What I mean is that the film tries to emphasise those bits that are subjective (in the sense of more emotionally real rather than the sense of less historically verifiable). Partly this is just because things are a bit more sketchy and subjective. As Jesus told the various parables each of his listeners would imagine it slightly differently. As Mary is exorcised (and similarly to Exorcism of Emily Rose there are twolevels of reality natual and supernatural, which whilst they are linked and cannot be divorced from oneanother, seem somewhat out fo harmoy at this point.

But also I think the techniques employed jerk the viewer out of watching it as just a detatched historical drama, and into something that affects/effects* people's lives, and I guess the filmakers' desire is that it affect/effects* the life of each actual viewer.

Matt

PS I agree we should probably split out the MM top 100 discussion from the main top 100 thread.

*Even after people telling me the difference between these and trying to research it on the internet I neither understand, nor can remember which of these to use when. the overall case is simpler, but there are a few complicating exceptions taht I can never get my head around (taking the thread even further off topic)

Edited by MattPage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The list is a tad too safe and conservative for my taste and, sadly, includes no genuine surprises. I would once again challenge those who voted for them to explain the spiritual significance of The Sweet Hereafter, Rosetta, and The Year of Living Dangerously. Dogville also looks like a serious mistake to me.

I'm not quite sure I make of the "safe and conservative" critique. Are you saying that you'd like something that others think is of value, but that offends you personally to be on the list prefer (Life of Brian springs to mind ;) ), or do you mean you'd like something that you think is OK but that would offend others? OR does your point have nothing to do with offensiveness, and have a lot to do with being less commerical/more artistic/more obscure?

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MLeary wrote:

: This is starting to take over the thread, if necessary we could move this over to the proper one. But

: that is a fairly hefty theological movement. In your study of the film, have you uncovered any

: intentionality in this respect from the makers of the film?

I can't speak for Matt, but FWIW, AFAIK, I was the first person on this board to notice and articulate some of the thematic distinctions between the stop-motion animation and the hand-drawn animation, in the 'jesus point-of-view shots' thread.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The list is a tad too safe and conservative for my taste and, sadly, includes no genuine surprises. I would once again challenge those who voted for them to explain the spiritual significance of The Sweet Hereafter, Rosetta, and The Year of Living Dangerously. Dogville also looks like a serious mistake to me.

I'm not quite sure I make of the "safe and conservative" critique. Are you saying that you'd like something that others think is of value, but that offends you personally to be on the list prefer (Life of Brian springs to mind ;) ), or do you mean you'd like something that you think is OK but that would offend others? OR does your point have nothing to do with offensiveness, and have a lot to do with being less commerical/more artistic/more obscure?

Matt

I want to reply to you, Matt, but I am pushed for time this morning, so if this post is a little clunky (even clunkier than usual I mean lol) please forgive me.

No, I certainly wasn't rooting for Life of Brian; you know my feelings about that film lol. Nor was I hoping for Derek Jarman's Sebastiane lol. I simply meant that the list was a little obvious, and I was really lamenting the lack of genuine surprises. So we get Rosetta but not Mouchette; Three Colours White (included because this board seems to regard trilogies as one film) but not No End; Crimes and Misdemeanors but not O Brother, Where Art Thou? etc.

I was also lamenting the lack of genre films, which, in truth, I really have no business doing given some of the posts I have made in this forum over the past year.

My problem is that at 44 years old I have seen an awful lot of films, but I saw the bulk of them BEFORE I became a Christian, and I can't now go back and re-evaluate everything in light of my new worldview (film is no longer a priority for me in any case); so I need help, and this Arts and Faith regularly provides. In short, this forum saves me time and money. Moreover, the people who post here have turned me on to certain films that I wouldn't have ordinarily bothered with, and they have provoked me to go back and reassess others (e.g. Magnolia, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Son, etc.); but this new list didn't do much of that. I still think it is a good list though.

To return briefly to the point about genre films, I have a vague notion that a lot of westerns deal explicitly with Christian themes, but that wasn't reflected by the 100 (maybe westerns don't, but I was kind of hoping lol). Likewise horror films. Watch The Exorcist and either The Sweet Hereafter or Rosetta back to back, and you tell me which is asking the more serious spiritual questions; which one should matter more to a Christian...

Edited by The Invisible Man

We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pale Rider is another western that is trotted out in discussion about Westerns with Christian Themes. I do remember being underwhelmed by those themes when I watched it though. Same with Shane.

IM - thanks for your clarification - useful background on where you're coming from. But regarding your examples (Exorcist aside), is it really a question of conservatism, or just personal taste? I've not seen some of the films you cite so I'm asking that question without implying an answer, just curious.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pale Rider is another western that is trotted out in discussion about Westerns with Christian Themes. I do remember being underwhelmed by those themes when I watched it though. Same with Shane.

They're basically the same film, although Pale Rider is more detirmined to connect with the Christ of Revelation.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pale Rider is another western that is trotted out in discussion about Westerns with Christian Themes. I do remember being underwhelmed by those themes when I watched it though. Same with Shane.
They're basically the same film, although Pale Rider is more detirmined to connect with the Christ of Revelation.
...while Shane is the better film. Still, yeah, thematically they're pretty much the same. From my review of Silverado:

Silverado
was actually my introduction to Westerns. After seeing it, I was eager for another one, so when Clint Eastwood's
Pale Rider
came out later that year, I rushed to the theater. To my disappointment,
Pale Rider
was no
Silverado
. (Afterwards I learned that
Pale Rider
wasn't trying to be
Silverado
. It was trying to be
Shane
.)

Like Matt, I don't find either particularly fraught with Christian Themes.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about High Noon? (though I haven't seen it in twenty years, so I'm on shaky ground here).

IM - thanks for your clarification - useful background on where you're coming from. But regarding your examples (Exorcist aside), is it really a question of conservatism, or just personal taste? I've not seen some of the films you cite so I'm asking that question without implying an answer, just curious.

Tough to say, Matt, and I really don't want to sound like I'm griping as the list looks pretty sensible in the main. It's a useful thing to have, and I am grateful for it.

The first Top 100 I saw when I first came here looked very odd (it included Star Wars, Life of Brian, Blade Runner, and such, and I challenged these selections at the time); but now we seem to have a list at the other end of the scale where art movies and seemingly worthy indies prevail - and I'm still complaining lol (I say "seem to" because there are a number of films included with which I am unfamiliar; sadly, many of these are currently impossible to see in the UK). I think I just wanted my horizons broadened further is all (though I do tend to think that people with generally conservative tastes dismiss horror films far too easily).

Edited by The Invisible Man

We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've updated the "Christ figure" thread with a post on Pale Rider.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see Alan already mentioned High Noon. My apologies.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I cheer the lack of science fiction! lol.

Yeah, is this a joke? 'Cause I'm seriously ticked about 2001 not making the cut.


My name is Darth Vader. I come from the planet Vulcan.

- Back to the Future

To me, truth is not some vague, foggy notion. Truth is real. And at the same time, unreal. Fiction and fact and everything in between, plus some other things I can't remember; all rolled into one big "thing." This is truth, to me.

- Jack Handey

The Moviegeist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but there's less SF now compared to earlier lists (we have lost 2001, Star Wars, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Signs, etc.). And, no, I wasn't joking lol.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was Star Wars ever on the list? I haven't been here that long. (And just for the record, SW is more fantasy set in space than actual sci-fi.)

Invisible, I don't see why you "cheer the lack of sci-fi". Are you insinuating that sci-fi is not as spiritually significant as other genres? If so, this really is something of a narrow view to take; a genre in itself should never be judged (unless in relation to one's particular tastes); only the films within the genre should be.


My name is Darth Vader. I come from the planet Vulcan.

- Back to the Future

To me, truth is not some vague, foggy notion. Truth is real. And at the same time, unreal. Fiction and fact and everything in between, plus some other things I can't remember; all rolled into one big "thing." This is truth, to me.

- Jack Handey

The Moviegeist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was Star Wars ever on the list? I haven't been here that long. (And just for the record, SW is more fantasy set in space than actual sci-fi.)

Invisible, I don't see why you "cheer the lack of sci-fi". Are you insinuating that sci-fi is not as spiritually significant as other genres? If so, this really is something of a narrow view to take; a genre in itself should never be judged (unless in relation to one's particular tastes); only the films within the genre should be.

I think that you will find an answer to your question and a long discussion of the spirituality of Sci Fi here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I'm glad to know it made it some year.


My name is Darth Vader. I come from the planet Vulcan.

- Back to the Future

To me, truth is not some vague, foggy notion. Truth is real. And at the same time, unreal. Fiction and fact and everything in between, plus some other things I can't remember; all rolled into one big "thing." This is truth, to me.

- Jack Handey

The Moviegeist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but there's less SF now compared to earlier lists (we have lost 2001, Star Wars, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Signs, etc.). And, no, I wasn't joking lol.

Does "lol" mean something besides "Laughing Out Loud" or "Lots Of Laughs"? I'm confused.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, I'm really not sure. I use "lol" as I would a smiley, simply to indicate that I am trying to be friendly, or if I want the person to whom I am replying to know that I am typing with a smile on my face. I sometimes also use it to indicate irony. I tend to tack it on the end of sentences that might otherwise seem a little cold. It's laziness on my part, of course (though no lazier than all the FYIs, BTWs, AFAIKs, etc. with which others litter this forum - sometimes I have to decipher posts before I can read them*) - one of many bad habits picked up during my years spent hanging out in online chatrooms. I really should do better, I know. If I were better able to articulate myself, I wouldn't fall back on "lol" quite so much.

*If I were not being so self-conscious, I would have ordinarily added a lol here.

Edited by The Invisible Man

We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't even know what AFAIK stands for. (I write this with a smile on my face; note the lack of smiley.)

As to the sci-fi issue, I think I'll ressurect that thread by moving my comments over there.


My name is Darth Vader. I come from the planet Vulcan.

- Back to the Future

To me, truth is not some vague, foggy notion. Truth is real. And at the same time, unreal. Fiction and fact and everything in between, plus some other things I can't remember; all rolled into one big "thing." This is truth, to me.

- Jack Handey

The Moviegeist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...