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Greg Wolfe

Top 100 2010: General Discussion--**Poll re-opened**

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"The ArtsandFaith.com Top 100 Films."

As a writer and editor, I'm taught to not be redundant or verbose. Adding "spiritually significant" or "religiously meaningful" doesn't add anything to the title.

This is the list of films that matters to those who care about the arts and faith.

If I saw "The Culinary Institute of America's Top 100 Films" list I'd immediately know that the list would most likely include "Like Water for Chocolate," "Chocolat," and "Big Night."

I could decide that I'm not interested in the CIA's list of films -- because a culinary institute is not a film school or academy.

But then we're not a film school or academy. We're a particular community -- a community name whose name declares what it is all about: "ArtsandFaith."

As a writer I've also been told to trust my reader. I think we can trust those who encounter our list to know the angle from which that list has been created.

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This list will be "The ArtsandFaith.com Top 100 Films List."

Don't you think ArtsandFaith says a great deal?

Well, yes, it does. If "Arts & Faith" is a descriptor for the films on the list. To me, it says the list will consist of films in which art and faith are both prominent elements.

I do think, though, that to others the label may only identify the community that is creating the list. That, lacking a descriptor that identifies the focus of the poll, perhaps it seems clear to them that we are in fact just looking for this community's list of the best films out there.

I'd be curious to hear from other folks who've been actively nominating films recently: how do they perceive this distinction? Are they making nominations because they perceive the specific films to engage with questions of faith in ways that I'm not necessarily picking up on - and believe me, I LOVE that sort of perspective, and love the conversation that comes out of such nominations, which often points up to me themes or resonances I had overlooked. Or are they making nominations which are simply noteworthy films, without consideration of any specific faith engagement?

(I know this could sound like I'm calling folks on the carpet to answer for their nominations. TOTALLY not my intention. These are very interesting film lists indeed, and being offered as potential Arts & Faith films: it would be good to know what underlies their selection, to help clarify whether we all bring similar expectations to this process, or whether the elimination of the "spiritually significant" descriptor seems to imply a change in mandate for the list.)

RyanH has put forward Fantasia, Brazil, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, as well as films like Secret Sunshine, A Serious Man, There Will Be Blood - I'm intrigued to know whether he sees in the first batch the sort of engagement with religious themes that is clear in the second batch. Ryan? Thoughts?

du Garbandier's choices include The Importance of Being Earnest, Woman in the Dunes, Up the Yangtze, M. Hulot's Holiday, High and Low, Seven Samurai. Superb films. I'm curious to know whether dG lists them out of an impression that our poll should simply be a list of our selection of fine films, or whether he sees some distinctive in these titles that suits them for our poll. Monsieur du G?

I know that many of Leary's titles have an element of spiritual something-or-other which may not be apparent upon initial consideration: the value will come as he teases out his reasons why the film should be considered for this particular list; Killer Of Sheep, Harold And Maude, Do The Right Thing, Army Of Shadows, Black Stallion. If it's clear that our process is about engaging with the intersection of spirituality and film, there's a fascinating conversation to be had as people ask Mike "What spiritual/faith/religious element are you seeing in Black Stallion that I'm not?" But if his response was "What's faith got to do with it? Everything is spiritual. This is just a list of movies we like." - discussion closed.

Don't you think our list will be beyond the usual Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Bicycle Thief lists?

That's my hope. (Though of course the bike movie is on all three of our previous lists...)

Edited by Ron Reed

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

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Killer Of Sheep, Harold And Maude, Do The Right Thing, Army Of Shadows, Black Stallion. If it's clear that our process is about engaging with the intersection of spirituality and film, there's a fascinating conversation to be had as people ask Mike "What spiritual/faith/religious element are you seeing in Black Stallion that I'm not?" But if his response was "What's faith got to do with it? Everything is spiritual. This is just a list of movies we like." - discussion closed.

Like I said above, I tried to make a list of things that I thought representative of issues addressed uniquely by A&F, or have featured in interesting conversations here. That is an awkwardly broad principle, but I wasn't sure what else to do. So, Killer of Sheep because I know Christian is also a big fan, and Charles Burnett is a good example of the outsider auteur with a social conscience that we tend to prize in these parts. Do The Right Thing is one of the great moral documents of American civil religion, and has been batted about a time or two here. Harold and Maude because we have been negligent not to include it in the past. Black Stallion because I remember a good thread wherein I got to share my appreciation for this one with Doug and others. And frankly, stretches of Caleb Deschanel's cinematography in that film are an excellent example of what we talk about when we talk about transcendent cinema.

So those kinds of thoughts guided many choices, otherwise I simply wanted to get as many good films on the list to choose from as possible. I resonate with your concerns, but have the idea in the back of my head that the list really will look different from the traditional Sight and Sound type polls.


"...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)

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Greg, I think I see what you're saying. That for public consumption, for the way we present this to the broader readership outside our community, any sort of descriptor is redundant. Makes complete sense.

Perhaps my concern is more an internal one: that we as a community be clear that we really are looking for films that really do engage with faith, or at least which particularly interest us as a (loosely) faith-based, or at least faith-interested, community. (If, in fact, that's what we are doing. Are we? Is that clear to all members, nominators and voters? Should it be?)

Edited by Ron Reed

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

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Ron Reed wrote:

: Perhaps my concern is more an internal one: that we as a community be clear that we really are looking for films that really do engage with faith, or at least which particularly interest us as a (loosely) faith-based, or at least faith-interested, community.

Well, apparently we're voting "as a community", so I wouldn't get too hung up on the nominations process, per se. Right now we're just throwing possibilities out there; and if a film stands out as something that has been valuable to the community, for WHATEVER reason, then I'd say it's worth putting on the list as an expression of this community (and as an invitation to outsiders to take a look at this community to see what we might have seen in that film).


"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.

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RyanH has put forward Fantasia, Brazil, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, as well as films like Secret Sunshine, A Serious Man, There Will Be Blood - I'm intrigued to know whether he sees in the first batch the sort of engagement with religious themes that is clear in the second batch. Ryan? Thoughts?

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is the most explicitly "spiritual" of the earlier list, given its frequent engagement with Christianity--let's not forget the role of the priest in dealing out the core thematic conceit of the film, Alex's fantasy of being one of the Roman soldiers whipping Christ, or the comic "tap-dancing" Jesuses. But it's also very Christian/spiritual in its thematic concerns (in fact, Stanley Kubrick called its view of humanity and concerns over the true nature of goodness "Christian theology"). I'm surprised that anyone would raise an eyebrow about its inclusion in such a list. Even had the label "spiritually significant" been retained, I would have put it forth in a heartbeat. In fact, I daresay I would have suggested nearly all the same films had the label been retained.

BRAZIL does not explicitly deal with religious themes, no. But I don't think a story needs to name-check religion to have a meaningful spiritual component. BRAZIL is about the longing for something more than the world offers, for a heaven that exists only in the mind. But in the end, human fantasy is just fantasy, and cannot conquer the world around it, and thus we are left with the devastating truth that no matter how beautiful Sam Lowry's imagination may be, he lacks any ability to render it real. (I singled out Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 for similar reasons; that film is concerned with the elusiveness of contentment in human relationships, and characterizes the deeply "spiritual" longing for perfect relationship and perfect love.)

BARRY LYNDON is a broad, grand, and beautiful morality tale, and as such falls into one of the most deeply spiritual categories of storytelling that can exist. It also helps that it's one of the masterpieces of masterpieces. Whether or not the community chooses to ratify the film or not is very much in the air, but I think it's very much worthy of consideration.

Now, FANTASIA. I will submit that FANTASIA features the closing "Ave Maria" after the brooding darkness of "Night on Bald Mountain," which is as "spiritual" as almost anything out there. But I put forth FANTASIA because it's less of a thematic/narrative experience--though it certainly has themes and narratives--than it is an aesthetic one. No section of FANTASIA is more powerful or defining than the abstract "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor." I wish to see at least one entry on the list that acknowledges that the pursuit of aesthetic beauty is, in and of itself, a kind of spiritual endeavor.

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Heh. Could we say that asking why Barry Lyndon is on the A&F Top 100 would be kind of like asking why Ecclesiastes is in the Bible? :)


"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.

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RyanH has put forward Fantasia, Brazil, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, as well as films like Secret Sunshine, A Serious Man, There Will Be Blood - I'm intrigued to know whether he sees in the first batch the sort of engagement with religious themes that is clear in the second batch. Ryan? Thoughts?

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is the most explicitly "spiritual" of the earlier list, given its frequent engagement with Christianity-- . . .

BRAZIL is about the longing for something more than the world offers, for a heaven that exists only in the mind. But in the end, human fantasy is just fantasy. . .

BARRY LYNDON is a broad, grand, and beautiful morality tale. . .

FANTASIA features the closing "Ave Maria" after the brooding darkness of "Night on Bald Mountain," which is as "spiritual" as almost anything out there. . . I wish to see at least one entry on the list that acknowledges that the pursuit of aesthetic beauty is, in and of itself, a kind of spiritual endeavor.

Nice! Really appreciate your perspective on these: all interesting contenders. All of which I've seen, but none for fifteen (or thirty-five!) years - long enough to have lost any sense of these sorts of details. Thanks for pulling them into focus.

Heh. Could we say that asking why Barry Lyndon is on the A&F Top 100 would be kind of like asking why Ecclesiastes is in the Bible? :)

Excellent point! Indeed we could. And I'd suggest that it's the response to that question where things get interesting, that causes us to really engage with what the book, and the Book, are really all about. If the answer to the question is "Because Ecclesiastes has some really good writing," or "Well, two or three guys on the committee happened to really like it," I'd suggest it wouldn't belong in the Book. But because the answer is so much more than that, and has everything to do with what the rest of the Bible is also about, it makes the cut.

Which is why I want to be able to engage with that question when considering films for our list.

Need to check out for a while. Big grant to write...

Edited by Ron Reed

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

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I campaigned forever to get the word "spiritual" out of the title and then somehow this was agreed with, and then I was all, "Oops. whadidIdo??"

So I am approaching it, yes, as has been said, firstly from a perspective of all life is spiritual and we draw, in our faith, on the touches of grace and beauty that we see everywhere, unafraid to find it anywhere we look. Where the fingerprints of goodness and light are, I believe that this is attributed to God. (Before we get to deep with this, I'll also agree that some of the bad is attributed to Him as well, but my honest belief, the way that I understand and relate to the Higher Power is that He wants good and wants to bless all people of the earth, every tribe, every nation.)

(Especially scandinavia. j.k. :) )

But as Leary quite rightly points out, and I know, Ron, you know this too, there's a history at this forum to draw from. A history that has excluded works that have touched us out of fear of the "spiritual" word. This word, I still believe, needs to be taken out and shot.

So my first thought was: Brakhage. Finally we can put him on a list that says "Arts and Faith." If any director is about this, it's Stan Brakhage. But due to the abstract nature of his work, I think we've tripped up on him before (although I've never understood why, as *some* of his work is to me "more spiritual" than many mainstream releases, yet I digress)...

When I thought of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, I am thinking of someone from another culture and even faith that gives us stories about how our faith should actually look, not to mention someone that has been discussed here in years past and we might want to take a look at yet again. The Cyclist is the most perfect example. It's about a fellow that will go to any length to take care of his wife's sickness. Same thing with the Majidi films. Even though it's been many years, I remember such goodness in that little boy searching the whole city for shoes for his sister. I really would love to see those again. I would think the aspects of character found in stories like this would remind us of faith with hands and feet.

I nominated the Lonnie Frisbee film because I think every evangelical Christian should see it, and maybe some other Christians too. That particular documentary opens up the box we put God in, and I would love to have it on the list for greater exposure to friends in my own faith.

I nominated Whale Rider because it is reflective of the Christ story, it is Jesus in disguise. I know this is dangerous ground in some people's eyes, that if I like it becaue it's messianic I sound "new age" or "post-whatever," I am done with even caring about that. Luke Skywalker was once looked at in the same light (before the whole Star Wars shebang was blown in the last decade.) Point being: the ending of Whale Rider killed me, in the same way that the resurrection does. The proof of the prophecy. But better than Neo.

And Bergman. I nominated him because, well, he's Bergman. We could nominate twenty films by him (perhaps more, he made something like sixty) and I'd believe every one of them was justified.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Well, yes, it does. If "Arts & Faith" is a descriptor for the films on the list. To me, it says the list will consist of films in which art and faith are both prominent elements.

I do think, though, that to others the label may only identify the community that is creating the list. That, lacking a descriptor that identifies the focus of the poll, perhaps it seems clear to them that we are in fact just looking for this community's list of the best films out there.

I'm not sure this isn't opening up another can of worms, but would your concern be addressed by a qualifier indicating the what motivated the group putting the list together? Is that what you're getting at? Maybe an emdash after Greg's title, with a catch-all description of who we are (not possible, I know, but hear me out):

The ArtsandFaith.com Top 100 Films List--Selected by Religious Film Critics Around the World

Some of us are in Europe, some (one?) in Thailand, so ...

I was thinking "Top Religious Critics..." would be haughty. ;)

As you can see, I'm thinking it might better help to define who the group is, rather than the criteria for the various films selected. Defining the group better helps explain the choices -- to some extent.

Right?

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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You are a critic. I am a self-proclaimed reactionary.

A non-Religious one, at that.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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You are a critic. I am a self-proclaimed reactionary.

A non-Religious one, at that.

Oh, right! I sometimes forget. What's a better all-encompassing term to define the A&F crowd?


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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cinephiles


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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You are a critic. I am a self-proclaimed reactionary.

A non-Religious one, at that.

Oh, right! I sometimes forget. What's a better all-encompassing term to define the A&F crowd?

Persona suggests "cinephiles." I'm just raising my hand as another representative of those with purely amateur opinions about movies.

I also echo Ron's concern that the list maintain some distinction to justify being "Arts and Faith." The comments on why people nominated the films are illuminating--maybe some version could be linked to the title in the final list? Otherwise, it will just be a "list of movies we liked."


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)

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BethR wrote:

: I also echo Ron's concern that the list maintain some distinction to justify being "Arts and Faith." The comments on why people nominated the films are illuminating--maybe some version could be linked to the title in the final list? Otherwise, it will just be a "list of movies we liked."

What ultimately counts is not what gets nominated, but what gets voted in.

The person who nominates a film is just the first person who happened to mention that film (and if we're grandfathering, as nominees, all the films that made the last couple of lists, then there aren't even any persons attached to those titles), and presumably the first person who mentioned the film might have different reasons for nominating it than the second or third persons who would have mentioned it. (The person who nominated a film might not even vote for it in the end; he or she might just feel that the film merited consideration.)

If the nominated film doesn't get elected, then the fact that it got nominated is neither here nor there and we need not worry about it.

If, however, it gets elected, then it represents not just any one person but "the community", in some sense. And I am not sure how we would go about picking people to speak for the community. The vote, arguably, should speak for itself.


"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.

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This:

"As we mentioned before, we will ask a few of our film critic members to contribute a couple movies they feel belong on a 'best' list. This will form a 'peculiar treasures' list showcasing off-the-beaten-track movies people should know about."

Will also help mitigate this identity question. I am assuming there will be an explanatory component involved here that will make the intellectual boundaries of the list clearer. Not clear, but less unclear.


"...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

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Correct me if I'm wrong, I believe at some point Greg said that they would like to have a page for every final film. Which means they are going to need volunteers to write. And we need to actually do it this time -- far too many films on past lists were simply there with not even a paragraph about them. Just that fact can easily bring into question the validity of the list and its community, too.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Yes, we intend to have 100 pages for 100 films.

We won't be able to achieve that by the Oscars, but we'll have something of an introductory/prefatory reflection piece by that point, along with the press release and the list itself.

We'd sure love to gather the literary/cinephilic gifts of y'all for the writing up of those 100 film pages. We're going to come looking for you....

Correct me if I'm wrong, I believe at some point Greg said that they would like to have a page for every final film. Which means they are going to need volunteers to write. And we need to actually do it this time -- far too many films on past lists were simply there with not even a paragraph about them. Just that fact can easily bring into question the validity of the list and its community, too.

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Yes, we intend to have 100 pages for 100 films.

We won't be able to achieve that by the Oscars, but we'll have something of an introductory/prefatory reflection piece by that point, along with the press release and the list itself.

We'd sure love to gather the literary/cinephilic gifts of y'all for the writing up of those 100 film pages.

Yes, yes.

I believe having a page for each film is essential. First off, it will reflect the literal years that have gone into creating this list (counting previous incarnations). Second, it will provide an unprecedented reference tool and stepping stone for those interested in the intersection of faith and film. We could probably develop a list at this point of 500 or 1,000 films that would at least be tangentially related and worthy. We want to highlight what our community views as the top 100.

We can release the list initially independent of the greater content and we'll have some auxiliary films included as well in the ultimate version. With any major content contribution, the value and discussion hopefully will grow.

I believe one of the great goals of this list is to encourage discussion. Hopefully more than our 100 entries wind up being talked about in places of learning and worship.

And, for those like Persona, Beth, myself and others who are "amateur" film critics or cinephiles to be inspired by - one thing that makes this list unique is it's focus on that intersection between faith and film. We have a wonderfully diverse membership that includes (or has included) film critics, clergy, authors, artists, academics and laypersons with an interest in this intersection. I view this not as a weakness in developing a film list focusing on such an intersection, but a strength.


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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I'd be curious to hear from other folks who've been actively nominating films recently: how do they perceive this distinction? Are they making nominations because they perceive the specific films to engage with questions of faith in ways that I'm not necessarily picking up on - and believe me, I LOVE that sort of perspective, and love the conversation that comes out of such nominations, which often points up to me themes or resonances I had overlooked. Or are they making nominations which are simply noteworthy films, without consideration of any specific faith engagement?

du Garbandier's choices include The Importance of Being Earnest, Woman in the Dunes, Up the Yangtze, M. Hulot's Holiday, High and Low, Seven Samurai. Superb films. I'm curious to know whether dG lists them out of an impression that our poll should simply be a list of our selection of fine films, or whether he sees some distinctive in these titles that suits them for our poll. Monsieur du G?

Ron, I had no single guiding perspective in nominating. Various, possibly contradictory motives on my part intermingled in the case of each film I listed.

For one thing, in looking over the 200 grandfathered films from previous lists, I was struck by the relative lack of comic films. (At least I only recognized a few as such: Groundhog Day, The Big Kahuna, The Man without a Past, etc.). I was curious to know if dropping the "Spiritually Significant" descriptor would lead to the inclusion of more comic films. Is it that we see serious drama as a more suitable vehicle for the spiritual than comedy? Or is there just a paucity of "spiritual" comic films out there? At any rate, in the case of M. Hulot, I know of no film more infused with what Roger Ebert calls "an amused affection for human nature." It is a series of comic miracles. And Being Earnest elevates wit to the level of high poetry, treating some of the deepest issues of human life such as identity and marriage. As Chesterton observes, "men are always speaking gravely and earnestly and with the utmost possible care about the things that are not important, but always talking frivolously about the things that are." If this is the case, why not pay tribute to those works which speak to what is serious with the most artful frivolity?

Generally, though, the only principle I've had in mind in nominating is that having as broad and diverse a range of films as possible from which to vote is a good and desirable thing. I'm content to let the community speak for itself through voting. Nominations simply serve as reminders that certain films exist, and even if we vote against them (or not for them), their mere presence as nominations may help clarify our votes for other films. I don't necessarily plan on voting for all the films I nominated.

Edited by du Garbandier

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Thank you, Matt. That is exactly what I was trying to describe.

No probs.

And soemthing which has just occured is that I think there was a rule that a film had to have been seen by more than 5 people, otherwise it was disqualified as too obscure. Which would be a shame for The Real Old Testament, but seems a good idea nevertheless.

I remember reading your review of this somewhere and looking for it and being unable to track it down. I don't think it is on DVD, or if it is, with its title too much pops up on a Netflix search.

Yeah it's low budget and independent, but you can buy it and view clips at:

Is this the Real Old Testament you're talking about?

Yes. I should probably watch it again before I recommend it to widely and wildly.

That looks stinking hilarious, I really want to see it.

Yeah, it is. At least I thought so. And everyone I've shown it too. I've been very selective in whom I show it too though. I'd be fairly confident that you'd like it though, if it wasn't for the fact it's ripping it out of a book that's obviously close to your heart.

I'm dying for our church to do a series on Genesis...

Matt

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... And Being Earnest elevates wit to the level of high poetry, treating some of the deepest issues of human life such as identity and marriage. As Chesterton observes, "men are always speaking gravely and earnestly and with the utmost possible care about the things that are not important, but always talking frivolously about the things that are." If this is the case, why not pay tribute to those works which speak to what is serious with the most artful frivolity?

...

In any case, thank you for nominating the Anthony Asquith/Michael Redgrave/Joan Greenwood Importance of Being Earnest and not the 21st century version.


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)

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For one thing, in looking over the 200 grandfathered films from previous lists, I was struck by the relative lack of comic films. (At least I only recognized a few as such: Groundhog Day, The Big Kahuna, The Man without a Past, etc.). I was curious to know if dropping the "Spiritually Significant" descriptor would lead to the inclusion of more comic films. Is it that we see serious drama as a more suitable vehicle for the spiritual than comedy? Or is there just a paucity of "spiritual" comic films out there? ... As Chesterton observes, "men are always speaking gravely and earnestly and with the utmost possible care about the things that are not important, but always talking frivolously about the things that are." If this is the case, why not pay tribute to those works which speak to what is serious with the most artful frivolity?

FWIW, this was a large factor in my nomination, along with being exposed to a previously unknown central-American film history.


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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