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Guest, March 9, 2008
Posted March 9, 2008
Posted March 9, 2008
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
A man fulfills a promise to a friend, and forces another man to see the error of his ways. There are layers to this film I've yet to explore, and I expect it to reward me for years to come. It's rich in the way that great literature can be rich, but it's also highly cinematic and narratively daring. Spiritually, the film explores honor, madness and forgiveness.
Amazon (DVD): B000F8O2QU
Amazon (Unbox): B000R9ZCLQ
EDIT: BTW, I really want to nominate this film, originally released in 1983, but seeing as how I championed the shorter cut released only last year, I can't in good conscience nominate it this year.
Adam's Apples (Adams
A question: was there a minimum time since release before films were eligible?
OK, so no 07 films, except those that have an IMDB date of 06. So Norbit (as an example) isn't eligible.
So some to nominate:
Into Great Silence
IMDB: (IMDB link)
A&F discussion: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=13153
A&F discussion: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=8436
175 movies automatically nominated is a lot; would it be possible to get a ranked list? (Or is there already one posted and I just can't find it?)
Since LOTR is considered en bloc, I'd also nominate
The Godfather Trilogy
IMDB: (IMDB link), (IMDB link), (IMDB link)
The films show the fallen nature of humankind, but even more they show the ways that sin, even when we enter sin trying to do good, is corrosive and destructive. The most explicit scene in this regard is from the first film - the baptism scene, while Michael as godfather renounces evil, great evil is being done in his name. Michael, and his father before him, never planned on the descent into which they fell, but fall they did.
Posted March 10, 2008
The Wicker Man
It is one of those rare treats that manage to question your belief system. Pitting Christianity against early pagan druidic rituals is just one of the intellectual pleasures of this cult film. As the local teacher tells the Sgt, it's easier for a child's mind to understand reincarnation than resurrection. It gets them past all those rotting bodies.
Wikipedia: The Wicker Man
Amazon (DVD): B000HEVTCW
Trailer on YouTube:
Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)
Arts and Faith Discussion
This film is an emotionally powerful and compelling view of Ernesto Che' Guevara and the events that shaped his view of the world. Exploring ideas of compassion, self sacrifice and grace, the film encourages viewers to confront their values and beliefs in regards to the "least of these".
Posted March 10, 2008
The Da Vinci Code 2006
I am nominating The Da Vinci Code as the most significant spiritual film of the 21st century! Why? Because it takes anyone willing to suspend judgement on a 21st century romp through religious myth in search of authentic spirituality. The Da Vinci Code is what Marshall Mc Luhan would call today as "the juicy piece of meat used to distract the watchdog of the mind" How? Using images, symbols & metaphors (the language of soul) it distracts the mind in order to speak directly to our collective psyche. Daring the unthinkable, it challenges religious beliefs & dogma and opens the way for discovering a higher truth. Two years since its release, and 7+ years of collective fear and manipulation for war ... The Da Vinci Code remains the most significant film for uncovering authentic spirituality.
For an in-depth analysis see "SYMBOLISM v.s. SPIN: The Code's Post 9/11 Message", posted on this site @ Reel Power Coach Blog, or Google "SYMBOLISM v.s. SPIN" article
Children of Men (2006)
The portrayal of a fallen and broken world, as well as questions of hope and the redemption that a birth can bring. While deviating significantly from the source material, virtuoso filmmaking from director Alfonso Cuaron brings this dystopian world to life in a visceral and moving way.
Arts & Faith discussion
Flock of Dodos:The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (2006)
A calm, objective exploration of the Creationism ("Intelligent Design") movement and its attacks on the theory of evolution by natural selection.
It exposes the somewhat uncomfortable facts that truth can wear an ugly face; that plausibility, likeability and authenticity do not always go hand-in-hand; and that people on both sides of the "circus" do not always conform to stereotypes.
This film makes compulsive viewing for anyone interested in the interface between science and faith. It may not change minds; after all, as Gerd L
GU, that link isn't really a topic, it's a blog post that got a link in "A Look Outside". It's closed for replies...I suggest you start a new topic. (That movie is a good suggestion...I'll have a reply to make if you create a topic.)
The New World
A&F discussion thread
The longing for Eden is at the heart of this film. Treating the settling of Jamestown in 1607 and the story of John Smith and Pocahontas, The New World stands as a poetic witness to the mystery of the human heart in relation to itself, to others, and to nature.
Youtube trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zLPM8FLMtk
So it's not the date that's listed next to the movie's title that counts? And what happens if a movie has not gotten a U.S. release at all? (Not that I'm going to be able to nominate such a movie...but the question seems logical.)
Edit: Oh, and besides, IMDb says that IGS got at least one U.S. festival showing in 2006...
David Smedberg wrote:
: Edit: Oh, and besides, IMDb says that IGS got at least one U.S. festival showing in 2006...
Yes, I saw it at a festival in 2006, too. Apparently it premiered in Toronto in 2005? (Does "U.S." exclude Canada, then? For Hollywood-studio purposes, "U.S." usually INCLUDES Canada ... though this is admittedly less-true where independent films are concerned.)
Alan Thomas wrote:
: Argh. Children of Men likewise isn't eligible; it's U.S. release date is in 2007.
No, its U.S. release date was Christmas 2006, and the fact that it was released on the day of the Nativity itself was mentioned in many of the American reviews; however, it did not go into "wide" release until January 2007. (A film like Into Great Silence, on the other hand, never really had a "wide" release to begin with, right? So we're not really paying attention to whether a film's release is "wide" or "limited", right?)
The Mosquito Coast
Arts & Faith topic
The necessary counterpart to any tale of modern missionary zeal, The Mosquito Coast tracks the manic collapse of a man struggling with some of Peter Weir's favorite themes: the conflict of faith, personal loss, and the little worlds we often create for ourselves as a way to avoid either of these. The film is spiritually significant as it is a cautionary tale against a very specific notion of independence, of seeing the world as a place that can be fixed with hard work and ingenuity. The clash of its main character with a local missionary becomes a brief, but effective, parable for contrasting visions of humanitarian interests in third world contexts. And the end of the film, unforgettable in its reversal of Heart of Darkness references, is a vivid microcosm for much of Weir's work.
: FWIW, in cases where there are disputes, the IMDb USA release date will prevail. In the two cases above, CoM and IGS, IMDb's USA release dates render them ineligible. If IMDb is incorrect, you can submit a correction using their system.
So ... given a choice between what you know to be right and what the IMDb gets wrong ... you'll go with what's wrong?
In any case, the IMDb happens to be correct about Children of Men -- it's right there:"USA 25 December 2006 (limited)".
So my previous question stands: Are we disqualifying "limited" releases in favour of "wide" releases? If so, then on what basis do we accept any film that has never had anything BUT a "limited" release?
Incidentally, while Children of Men IS eligible by the current rules, Amazing Grace is NOT (because, like Into Great Silence, it played only festivals in 2006, before going into release in 2007).
Posted March 11, 2008
Arts and Faith: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopi...=Hayao+Miyazaki
The beauty of childhood is captured perfectly in Hayao Miyazaki's viscerally inticing masterpiece. Chihiro is the epitamy of childhood: naive, self-centred but ultimately, innocent and kind. Miyazaki's film is a testament to the imagination of children and the innocence of youth. This generation's Alice in Wonderland, Spirited Away grabs you with its loveable characters, awe-inspiring hand-drawn visuals and wonderful story. This is a film that ignites the child within every person and is arguably the greatest animated film of the new millenium. Spirited Away is a window into the mind of a child, and the beautiful ideas that lay dormant within.
Amazon (DVD): http://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Away-Hayao-...3390&sr=1-1
Yes, I'll go with what's wrong, Peter, just to float your boat. Thanks for correcting me on CoM; it's in. There are two USA release dates, which is frustrating! Limited releases do count; I had only seen the 2007 date. And Amazing Grace is out. (I'll make the database updates later tonight.) Let me be clear(er): Any film with a USA release date of 2006 or earlier is eligible. Releases can be wide or limited, direct-to-video, or broadcast.
Thanks for correcting me on CoM; it's in. There are two USA release dates, which is frustrating! Limited releases do count; I had only seen the 2007 date. And Amazing Grace is out. (I'll make the database updates later tonight.)
Let me be clear(er): Any film with a USA release date of 2006 or earlier is eligible. Releases can be wide or limited, direct-to-video, or broadcast.
Posted March 11, 2008
Argh, now look what I've stirred up.
In hindsight, I think the "what Alan says is eligible is eligible" method may be best...certainly simplest.
In story that plays out in multiple time periods, Tomas is obsessed with finding a cure for his wife Isabel's terminal illness, to the extent that he ignores her requests to put down his work and go for a walk with her in the snow. Centuries later, Tomas becomes a space explorer searching for the Fountain of Youth, which he hopes will restore Isabel's earthly life. What he finds instead is that life has an existence beyond mortality, and that by continuing his search, he is missing out on time he could have been spending with his wife. Though it is ultimately somewhat confused (and confusing), Aronofsky's meditation on the meaning of life, and a life well spent, is quite rewarding and well worth the draining experience of watching it.
The United States of Leland
Leland P. Fitzgerald is an awkward, socially frustrated boy who is left behind by Becky, the girl he loves. He sees the same frustrations in Ryan, Becky's mentally handicapped sister, and in what he thinks at the time is a benevolent act, Leland kills Ryan. Afterward, however, Leland tells his mother, "I think I made a mistake." Leland is arrested and enters a juvenile detention center, where his teacher Pearl, a struggling writer, befriends him because he smells a book in Leland's story. Through Leland's journaling and his conversations with Pearl, his loneliness and frustration slowly cohere into a bleak worldview that seems to offer no hope or escape, except for the enduring possibility that Leland really did make a mistake.
Posted March 15, 2008
Bruce Almighty is described by its distributors as a "supernatural romantic comedy." It's primarily a rom-com, and the issue/obstacle that comes between the story's lovers (Jim Carrey as local TV news correspondent Bruce, and his girlfriend Jennifer Aniston as kindergarten teacher Grace) is Bruce's self-absorption and life-owes-me-a-living attitude. But this self-focus is challenged when God, played by Morgan Freeman, decides to allow Bruce to BE God for one week. Before sending Bruce off to his new role as the Almighty, he explains to him "the rules" about being God, such as no one can know he is God, and he cannot violate anyone's free will.
Bruce --already grossly self-centered-- uses his new powers to embark upon a hyper ego trip of re-ordering everything (including the sizes of not only the moon but even Grace's breasts) to his liking. And his ultimate feat is to exact cruel revenge upon his TV station colleague Evan (Steve Carell) to the point where Evan loses his anchor position so that Bruce can get the job instead. But he simultaneously offends Grace by his mounting egocentricity, and she ultimately breaks up with Bruce.
My favorite line in the movie happens as Bruce pleads for God's help in winning Grace back. When God reiterates "the rules," Bruce asks: "How do you make someone love you without violating their free will?" To which God laughingly replies: "Welcome to my world, son!"
The remainder of the film is Bruce relenting of his narcissism and trying to get Grace to forgive him. The climax involves a truly touching and even profound scene that explores the concept of prayer. Without giving away the end, I will merely say that Bruce gets "saved" by ... Grace. And he also gets saved by blood.
The film's overriding message of reliance upon God, and its many clever inside puns based upon Bible passages make it a delight for the Evangelical Christian. But even people of other faiths can enjoy this film since it keeps the entire "God" concept fairly generic while still illuminating profound truth through its undeniable humor.
The Good Son
A very young Elijah Wood stars as a troubled pre-teen boy grieving over the recent death of his mother. His father reluctantly leaves him behind with cousins while he goes to Japan on business. Wood makes friends with his same-aged cousin played by Macaulay Culkin who turns out to be a brilliant yet secret sociopath. As Culkin diabolically frames Wood again and again for his own heinous crimes, including cruelty to animals and causing a multi-car pile up, Wood pleads to his non-spiritual and cooingly sympathetic child psychologist that it's really Culkin who has been doing these things, and that the boy is "evil." She kindly smiles and says: "Oh, but I don't believe in evil." To which Wood replies in a simultaneously dark yet frightened tone: "You should."
The film never once mentions God or any form of spirituality EXCEPT for that one crucial exchange between Wood and the psychiatrist. It instead very cleverly points out how things can go alarmingly wrong on a moral level when a child (Culkin) is raised by loving parents who provide a nice home, a good education, and yet only choose to teach him about facts and science (the kind of science that does NOT believe there's such a thing as evil). It dismantles the foolish assumption that compassion and character will arise naturally as an incidental bi-product of a loving environment. The total vacuum of any overt moral teaching leaves open the gateway for Culkin to flourish in the capacity of finely calculated evil. He was taught from a very early age to think with accuracy and precision, and he uses those skills with lethal success.
The film is an excellent treatise on the doctrine of the inherent evil of mankind, and a compelling argument for the need to actively train children in morality --and possibly even religion and spirituality-- starting at a very young age.
Posted March 15, 2008
Autumn in New York
Richard Gere stars as a successful and complacent playboy who falls for a twenty-something Winona Ryder. It holds up for brutal scrutiny his idealized and self-satisfied lifestyle of unbudgeable bachelorhood, serial boyfriend-hood, thoughtless two-timing and "playing the field" (especially with women half his age). The film exposes how the weightier ramifications of infidelity and a lack of commitment almost always fall far more heavily upon the woman than the man, harming her permanently on both social and emotional levels, yet leaving him free to walk away to his next conquest.
The film does not ever once mention God or spirituality, but it does drive home the need for women to be protected from predatory men. It also insists that the best protection should ideally come from her own family. And yet on the man's sdie of the fence, it puts forth that the much-admired playboy life Gere has built for himself should be discarded by contemporary men and no longer strived for as their ultimately wish-fantasy. It instead advocates that men should seek to foster the virtue of self-control (although it never once used the word "virtue") and be more conscious of the vast, deep, and life-changing damage they are capable of inflicting on women through their own selfishness.
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