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Top 100 2011: Nomination and Discussion

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Nominations and seconds are to be made here; this is a thread to discuss nominations or the nomination process.

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In advocacy for -

The Night of the Hunter

- While there are literally hundreds of films with "Christian" villians, or other portrayals of Christian fictional characters in very negative lights, Robert Mitchum's "Reverend Harry Powell" is perhaps one of the most powerful of these sorts of characters. He is literally evil, manipulative, always talking about how he is doing God's will, and quoting Scripture in order to justify his actions (and serial murders). And yet, out of the films with bad "Christian" characters, The Night of the Hunter is one of the only films that suddenly shows ther viewer real, living Christianity personified in the character of Ms. Cooper (Lillian Gish). She reads and quotes from Scripture too. She talks to God as a regular part of her every day conversation too. She tells Bible stories to the children like Reverend Powell does. And yet, when John sees her pull out the Bible, flinches because it reminds him of Powell, and leaves in order to listen through the door ... well, there's something very different about the way Ms. Cooper is using it. Not only is this a beautiful film with artistic, surrealist camera-work ahead of it's time, but it has the potential to change how the viewer sees Christianity, both real and fake. The inevitable confrontation that the story builds up to, between Ms. Cooper and Reverend Powell, is also perfect. As an added bonus, anyone watching this will also memorize a hymn, and two different ways of singing it.

Whistle Down the Wind

- There are not very many films out there that have specifically reminded me how I actually do desire Christ's return, but this is the best of them (if in fact, there are any others). You alternatively see this story through three different viewpoints. First, you understand the point of view of the "grown-ups" who know "The Man" is a dangerous criminal who simply needs to be brought into the arms of the law, for the sake of justice, and for the protection of family. Bernard Lee's Mr. Bostock isn't unlikeable. He's just a regular, responsible father and farmer, who cares for his children. Second, you see the point of view of "The Man" who is on the run from the law, and inexplicably finds himself being protected and provided for by a group of children (because of quickly forgotten curse word). It isn't until later that he realizes why they are caring for him, and whether or not this revelation with change his behavior is one of the redemptive questions of the story. Third, and finally, you see the point of view of the children. To them, Christ their Savior, has returned. Their response is both love and pure joy. But they, like everyone else, are not perfect - and their little petty selfishnesses are suddenly confronted with the grave and solemn possibility that they have just been entrusted with a sacred responsibility. Their theology isn't the most sound (any more than the theology of the adults who they try and ask questions to is), but their love for Jesus is real. The differences between Kathy (Hayley Mills) and Charles (Alan Barnes) are common differences between different believers, and those differences affect their understanding of important truths. But through all the children's eyes, the viewer is confronted with the question of what your own response would be if suddenly, there He was, right there, come back just like he said he would. Charles leaves the story, hurt, but safe with the knowledge that there are some things he knows for sure about Jesus. Kathy leaves the experience knowing, and more willing to share with others, the astonishing fact that there is still something incredible for every believer to look forward to. Starkly shot on camera, the acting performances are stellar, the script is intellectually provoking, and the musical score gives one a sense of both hope and joy.

Edited by Persiflage

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Whistle Down the Wind

Sounds fab, and I think I may have seen it way back when (because I'm about ten years younger than Hayley Mills, but not as pretty). Now, alas, it seems to be available only on VHS or Region 2/PAL DVD. Unless BluRay players are sensibly region free, I'm not moving to Britain for a movie ;)

Though I wish I could!

ETA: Thanks to Persiflage for finding it on YouTube!

Edited by BethR

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I stand behind all my nominations thus far, but to my count, there are two languishing without a second: 2046 and NETWORK (I just nominated FANTASIA and it hasn't been seconded yet, but I trust someone will get it in there).

2046 does not seem to be as beloved by the A&F crew as it is by me. Few contemporary films as 2046 have left such a deep impression; Wong's exploration of memory, love, and longing is remarkably profound, and, as one would expect, is rendered in exquisite visual terms. I don't expect it to get through, but I nominated it out of personal affection.

However, I'm surprised that nobody has stood up for NETWORK. NETWORK, though, is one of the very best commentaries on the moral/spiritual deficiencies of our media-saturated contemporary world, and if anything, its prophetic voice speaks even louder now than it did at the time of its original release. It's a film of tremendous merit, to boot--some of the best monologues in movie history are sprinkled throughout here--and has offered up some of the most iconic moments in film history. If any film deserves a shot at making it into the Top 100, NETWORK deserves a shot.

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Whistle Down the Wind

Sounds fab, and I think I may have seen it way back when (because I'm about ten years younger than Hayley Mills, but not as pretty). Now, alas, it seems to be available only on VHS or Region 2/PAL DVD. Unless BluRay players are sensibly region free, I'm not moving to Britain for a movie ;)

Though I wish I could!

ETA: Thanks to Persiflage for finding it on YouTube!

Or you could just get a multi-region DVD player (or even check on Google if your current DVD player can be adjusted to play any region).

The disk itself is probably available on eBay for about £1.

Matt

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Also, if you have the ability to connect your TV to your computer, the free VLC Player plays DVDs of ANY region without a problem.

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Anna J wrote:

: Also, if you have the ability to connect your TV to your computer, the free VLC Player plays DVDs of ANY region without a problem.

I Did Not Know That. Thanks for the tip!

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I Did Not Know That. Thanks for the tip!

You are so welcome! When I learned that, a whole new world opened to me in the form of amazon.co.uk. You can find British television seasons there for less than $15 USD.

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VLC is good, but in my experience there are some DVDs that it cannot handle smoothly. It often cannot correctly interpret a DVD's menu structure.

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My nomination for Vagabond has yet to be seconded, though The Gleaners and I has been approved.

I've put Vagabond out there because it's an intense, intimate portrait of soul in deep turmoil. We never really know what it is that drives Mona to wander the countryside and cross paths - not usually pleasantly - with many other broken lives. Her piercing, hungry eyes are glimpses into a spiritual and emotional emptiness that, scene after scene, binds a series of vignettes into a harrowing portrait of isolation, loneliness, and pride. I think Sandrine Bonnaire's largely wordless performance in this role is one of the most powerful that I've ever seen, and one that I would rank next to The Passion of Joan of Arc for sheer affection through expression.

This is a film that encourages the spirit of Matthew 25:31 ("For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat," etc). When I see Mona, I ache for her isolation, for the barriers she keeps up, for the lonely road to which she's seemingly condemned herself. It's a film that forces one's sense of compassion to grapple with the reality of reaching out to a person who is lost and in need of love, but who is also difficult and frustrating. We can't do anything for the Mona of this film, but we can do something for the Monas we cross paths with. A film with that sort of power deserves a shot at the list.

Edited by N.W. Douglas

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Can't help you out with VAGABOND. I haven't seen it.

I am surprised that FANTASIA is still languishing without a second. Does no one feel that the greatest animated film of all time, a glorious celebration of beauty in the form of music (and what music!), color, mood, light, all brought together in a neat package (and one with a surprisingly sacred conclusion) deserves a shot at our list?

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So I've looked for it without any luck, so I guess I should ask. I'm still newer here than many of you so ...

Looking at the nominations so far, is there anywhere on the A&F forum where the differences have been discussed between A&F's Top 100 list and, oh say, a Top 100 greatest-films-of-all-time list?

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So, rjkolb, why "Rio Bravo"?

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I am surprised that FANTASIA is still languishing without a second. Does no one feel that the greatest animated film of all time, a glorious celebration of beauty in the form of music (and what music!), color, mood, light, all brought together in a neat package (and one with a surprisingly sacred conclusion) deserves a shot at our list?

Even now that PTC has seconded, I personally don't feel that the connection to faith and spirituality is strong enough for it to be included in our list. (Which is not to say that the connection isn't stronger than other movies already on the list! But that is a different kettle of fish.)

Personally, the noms I was most torn about seconding were Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. (As of now, SA has been seconded, MNT has not.) The art and beauty of those movies (which I both love and admire) is so tied up in the religious/spiritual tradition they're coming from. Yet my personal appreciation of the movies isn't so much on the spiritual level... so I'm not sure a nom or a 2nd would be an honest move until I actually understand the spiritual milieu they're coming from better...

Edited by David Smedberg

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Well, this brings us back to the question, "What is this list supposed to be?"

I do think that every film on this list should have some element of spiritual value, but that can take a variety of shapes and forms, and it needn't always be explicit. FANTASIA, as a celebration of aesthetic beauty that has a decidedly sacred opening and conclusion, has enough spiritual value that I think it worthy of a list called the "Arts & Faith Top 100 Films," to say nothing of its remarkable artistic excellence.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Well, this brings us back to the question, "What is this list supposed to be?"

As I understand it, we each can decide that question for ourselves.

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As I understand it, we each can decide that question for ourselves.

Right, but I can reasonably justify voting differently depending on whether I'm voting for films that I love and believe are great works of art, period (and therefore they appeal to universal themes that can therefore at least tenuously be connected to questions of faith OR voting for the Top 100 most spiritually significant films ever made. There is a concrete difference between the two, right?

Take Lawrence of Arabia for example. A great and beautiful film. Explores a man's spiritual state to a certain extent. But we'd still vote differently on it depending upon the stated purpose of the list.

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As I understand it, we each can decide that question for ourselves.

Right, but I can reasonably justify voting differently depending on whether I'm voting for films that I love and believe are great works of art, period (and therefore they appeal to universal themes that can therefore at least tenuously be connected to questions of faith OR voting for the Top 100 most spiritually significant films ever made. There is a concrete difference between the two, right?

Take Lawrence of Arabia for example. A great and beautiful film. Explores a man's spiritual state to a certain extent. But we'd still vote differently on it depending upon the stated purpose of the list.

Definitely. Back when it was the Top 100 most spiritually significant, it was normative that we had to justify movies in explicitly spiritual terms. Now (by my understanding) that's no longer enforced, merely a matter of a consensus more or less observed.

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Personally, the noms I was most torn about seconding were Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. (As of now, SA has been seconded, MNT has not.) The art and beauty of those movies (which I both love and admire) is so tied up in the religious/spiritual tradition they're coming from. Yet my personal appreciation of the movies isn't so much on the spiritual level... so I'm not sure a nom or a 2nd would be an honest move until I actually understand the spiritual milieu they're coming from better...

From prior discussions, I don't think you're alone here in having those reservations about the spiritual content of Miyazaki's films, David. For me, anyway, the sense of wonder mingled with longing and loss conveyed by Ghibli films transcends and supersedes their Shinto/pantheist milieu.

Edited by Andrew

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VLC is good, but in my experience there are some DVDs that it cannot handle smoothly. It often cannot correctly interpret a DVD's menu structure.

I've never experienced that, but you reminded me of another quirk: Once in awhile, the subtitles are weird. It's like it sometimes downloads subpar subtitles off the internet instead of using the ones that come with the DVD. VLC releases a new version every few months, so I think they are working on these flaws.

Note to everybody: nominations close on Friday, so make your cases now if yours haven't been seconded!

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So, as per the voting, shorts are out now right? And just for future reference, what exactly constitutes a short? Less than an hour? Less than a half hour?

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And just for future reference, what exactly constitutes a short? Less than an hour? Less than a half hour?

Rats! I was hoping no one would ask me that!

Just joking. I'd say less than an hour. Anyone have any objections? Please say so here.

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As I understand it, we each can decide that question for ourselves.

Right, but I can reasonably justify voting differently depending on whether I'm voting for films that I love and believe are great works of art, period (and therefore they appeal to universal themes that can therefore at least tenuously be connected to questions of faith OR voting for the Top 100 most spiritually significant films ever made. There is a concrete difference between the two, right?

Take Lawrence of Arabia for example. A great and beautiful film. Explores a man's spiritual state to a certain extent. But we'd still vote differently on it depending upon the stated purpose of the list.

Definitely. Back when it was the Top 100 most spiritually significant, it was normative that we had to justify movies in explicitly spiritual terms. Now (by my understanding) that's no longer enforced, merely a matter of a consensus more or less observed.

"Arts and Faith" removed the word "spritual" for reasons of it being too vague, but it seems the words "arts and faith" together, and not separate, should accomplish many of the same purposes.

And just for future reference, what exactly constitutes a short? Less than an hour? Less than a half hour?

Rats! I was hoping no one would ask me that!

Just joking. I'd say less than an hour. Anyone have any objections? Please say so here.

IMO, feature length is 90 minutes, but I wouldn't press the point on this one. (Some might?)

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Persona wrote:

: IMO, feature length is 90 minutes, but I wouldn't press the point on this one. (Some might?)

Plenty of decent movies are only 70 or 80 minutes (e.g. Run Lola Run, The Purple Rose of Cairo, etc., etc.). I think an hour's length is a decent cut-off, for determining what is a "feature" and what isn't. Disney's Dumbo is only 63 minutes or so, and I'd still consider it a "feature". Some versions of The Kid -- widely regarded as Charlie Chaplin's first "feature" -- run only 50 minutes or so (though apparently Chaplin edited the film down from something like 68 minutes while adding a music track to it in 1971).

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Back when it was the Top 100 most spiritually significant, it was normative that we had to justify movies in explicitly spiritual terms. Now (by my understanding) that's no longer enforced, merely a matter of a consensus more or less observed.

"Arts and Faith" removed the word "spritual" for reasons of it being too vague, but it seems the words "arts and faith" together, and not separate, should accomplish many of the same purposes.

Well if the problem was being too vague, then we are out of the frying pan, into the fire. :)

"Arts and Faith" refers to our community. That's who we are, artsandfaith.com. Thus, if a member of the "Arts and Faith" community thinks that any particular movie is good enough, that's sufficient criterion to justify nominating/voting it onto the list right now. The degree to which the member's faith is educating their opinion of the movie could be nil. E.g. I have a very high opinion of Ratatouille, and I recommend to people very often--but it is only very obliquely related to my faith. There's nothing, officially, to keep us from putting it on the Top 100!

Edited by David Smedberg

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