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Spirituality/Religion Challenge; December 2011
Topic Started: Nov 28 2011, 08:18:29 PM (1,824 Views)
SeanMX12
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Spirituality/Religion Challenge

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Goal:
Watch as many movies as you can that are spiritual/religious, have spiritual/religious themes, or films with spiritual concepts that fall outside the domain of a single, "organized" religion -- or films that just feel personally appropriate to a participant. If you are in doubt whether a movie counts or not, just ask.


Rules:
- A feature film (Anything over 40 minutes) counts as one entry.
- A total of 90 minutes of short films count as one entry.
- For Mini-Series (40 minute episodes or longer) each episode counts as an entry.
- For Mini-Series with shorter episodes (25 minutes or so), the 90 minute rule applies.
- No rewatches.


Challenge runs from 1 December 2011 - 31 December 2011.


ICM Lists:
Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films


Participants:

1. sushantv10 - 23
2. burneyfan - 16
3. beeswax - 13
4. Cippenham - 9
5. allisoncm - 7
6. 3eyes - 3
Kasparius - 3
SeanMX12 - 3





Edited by SeanMX12, Dec 27 2011, 04:51:30 AM.
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SeanMX12
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I basically copied Burneyfan's description of this challenge from the Future Challenges Thread since I was unsure how to do it.
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Cippenham
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Count me in to this extent: I just want to finish the 100 Spiritually Significant Films list and need 7 for Platinum so that will be the target.

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3eyes
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I need 13 for a gold on the Spir Signif list. I'll be doing the Russian list as well and there are a few that will do double duty.
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sushantv10
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I AM IN !

But ya , 100 Spiritually Significant Films list is my only reference as of now.Seen around 60 so far from it.
May look to get to 80.

Limited goal. Lets c .
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beeswax
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I'm in.
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burneyfan
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I'm in, too, though I probably won't get as many in as I'd have liked, thanks to a couple of time-sucking December events that have vaulted onto my calendar in the last couple of weeks from out of nowhere. For the record, I definitely view extremely irreverent films or films condemning religion / spirituality / faith as countable, and I hope others do, too. I'd also thought that folks who'd already planned to line up buckets of Christmas-themed films would have a home here, as well (or films on other holidays, of course -- I single out Christmas because it was the holiday that someone had specifically brought up, months ago), but that was before Kasparius's holiday challenge was born.

Thanks to Sean for hosting this challenge!!
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allisoncm
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BTW, that link for Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films is for the films that just Sean has seen/not seen. :P
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allisoncm
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I guess I'm in. I will be able to knock out a few at least.
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Kasparius
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I'll try to sneak in a couple.
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SeanMX12
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BUMP!!
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Knaldskalle
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Alright, I'm in. But don't expect me to be the least competitive. I plan on December being my "finish-the-movies-you-started-but-didn't-complete-yet"-month.
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Cippenham
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01. Lilies of the Field 1963

This is an extra one not on the 100 Spiritual list but on the AFI 100 Years 100 Cheers list which is worth checking for suitable films for this challenge.

Poitier's character arrives, meets a group of German nuns, then later helps them build a chapel. This is a very good film, deeply moving, such a great story, good acting and directing.

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Nopros
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Hmm, guess I'm in. Will only (well mostly) watch Russian ones though. But a lot of those fit nice into this category.
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allisoncm
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1. La promesse (1996)
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George Bailey
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Holy crap! Am watching Winter's Light right and the picture is from that film! Lol, had no idea!
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George Bailey
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1. Winter's Light - 9/10
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Cippenham
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02. Tender Mercies 1982

Robert Duvall does a good job here as an ex Country and Western singer alcoholic recovering and trying to get things back together -this film is on 4 lists.

Need 6 for Plat on the Spiritually Siginificant list. I see Ostrov -The Island -is on Youtube so may see this next.

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sushantv10
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1.Aparajitio

2.Apur sansar

its been two and a half years since i saw pather panchali...finally completed the trilogy today.

Three simple, realistic and sensitively told tales.

Apur Sansar surprisingly would be my favourite of the three.
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beeswax
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1. For All Mankind (1989/Al Reinert) - I'm having a hard time talking about this movie without sounding like a lollipops and roses hippie -- not my typical attitude. This is not your typical documentary about space exploration, either -- the ones that are full of nuts and bolts, facts and dates, talking heads telling you how important such-and-such or exciting this-or-that. Instead, the film collects thousands of hours of footage shot by NASA (for science) and edits it (for posterity, for art, for awe and wonder), with a soundtrack of ethereal Brian Eno music mixed with excerpts of unidentified astronauts commenting on their experiences. We are taken from launch to space to moon and back to home, as if in one collective space mission, without a lot of labels telling us which guy in a spacesuit we're looking at, or whose reminiscence we're hearing. As the title indicates, the movie does give a feeling of community with humankind. Yes, the world is full of terrible motives and selfishness, but occasionally -- in spite of ourselves, and even sometimes aided by the terrible motives and people -- we do something wonderful. Sublime. We touched the moon. The other thing the film does is make the audience share the astronauts' amazement at the incredible beauty and fragility of the improbable planet we share. So, that's my dorky, swept-up-in-the-feeling take on it. Beautiful, awe-inspiring and spiritual. Yep. Also, it's tremendously charming to see evidence that the astronauts were fans of Kubrick's 2001.
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allisoncm
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2. Becket (1964)
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sushantv10
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3. Day Of Wrath (1943)
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3eyes
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1. The ascent / Voskhozhdenie (USSR 77)
2. Summer hours / Les heures d/ete (Fr 08)
3. The Island /Ostrov (Russia 06)
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sushantv10
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4.Offret (1986)

5.Nostalghia (1983)
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SeanMX12
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1. Macario (1960) | 8/10
2. Defending Your Life (1991) | 8/10
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sushantv10
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6. Ostrov

7. The Ascent

8. Places in the Heart

9. Tender Mercies
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burneyfan
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01. The Great Rupert -- Pichel, 1950.

Cute "Christmas miracle" story that I'm surprised didn't get smacked around during the Red Scare. Jimmy Durante, his wife, and adult daughter (Terry Moore) are a family of penniless circus performers who rent a cheap apartment from tightwad Mr. Dingle, who hoards money in a hole in his wall upstairs. What no one but the audience knows is that an animal trainer's trained squirrel (the Great Rupert!) is living in the rafters above Durante's family's room; when times get tough, Durante's wife prays to the heavens above for new shoes for their daughter, and lo and behold! Rupert, who is sick of all the money getting shoved into his nest, starts throwing money down on the wife as if the Lord is answering her prayers. Lots of confusion and a romance between the daughter and the landlord's son ensue. Durante is given a few opportunities to perform, and he does a good job here. As Rupert keeps throwing money down upon Durante's family every time their landlord squirrels it away (no pun intended), they use most of it to fund struggling small businessmen in their neighborhood, thereby showing how sharing the wealth enriches the whole community. Rupert was a stop-motion animated squirrel who was apparently so realistic at the time that George Pal was bombarded with inquiries as to where he got a squirrel that could dance. Cute, harmless, better than watching A Christmas Story for the 2000th time.

02. Come and See -- Klimov, 1985.

A story in which any higher power appears to have deserted the world, and humans fail one another. More comment in Russian challenge thread, most likely, once I catch up.

03. The Butcher Boy -- Jordan, 1997.

Mostly well-done story about an Irish boy (brilliantly played by Eamonn Owens) in the early '60s who slowly runs mad, due to his horrific home life and troubles all round -- simultaneously a very black comedy and a sad, bitter little drama. There's a good amount of time spent in Catholic institutions and among priests (one of whom is pedophilic, another of whom is played by Brendan Gleeson), and Jordan made the inflammatory decision to cast Sinad O'Connor as the occasionally foul-mouthed Virgin Mary in the visions that the boy experiences. It's a shame that he bothered to do that, IMO, not because I find it offensive (I don't care whom he casts, as long as she can do the part), but because the film didn't need the distraction of that controversy taking away from what is a pretty good script and some solid performances. It's very bleak, but solid. Not sure I cared much for the epilogue.

04. Run of the Arrow -- Fuller, 1957.

Rod Steiger, whom I love, is pretty badly miscast in this film of an Irish-American Confederate soldier who can't handle the South's surrender; he goes west and joins a Sioux tribe. I wouldn't have put this in here, but there are a couple of fairly lengthy discussions between Steiger and the Native Americans about their respective religions, and how they respect each other's beliefs, even if they do not fully endorse them. It's a little "have your cake and eat it too" -- Steiger wants to participate in their spiritual traditions, but he draws the line at having multiple gods and says that he has to worship his god...the Native Americans think he's a little weird, but they run with it. Hm!
Edited by burneyfan, Dec 10 2011, 08:45:36 PM.
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Cippenham
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03. Ostrov -The Island 2006

04. The Parson's Widow 1920
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Edited by Cippenham, Dec 11 2011, 11:19:36 AM.
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SeanMX12
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The Last Word (2008) | 8/10
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sushantv10
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10. Run of the Arrow
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allisoncm
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3. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)
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burneyfan
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05. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors -- Parajanov, 1965.

Orthodox religion plays a huge part in this film, as many scenes take place in and around the church. Sorcery also figures heavily in the second half. The film is chock-full of religious symbolism (the cross, the lamb, the carpenter / shepherd) -- I'm still trying to figure it all out, or whether there even IS stuff to figure out, rather than just...experience, without overanalyzing. Great film, inventive, recommended. More comment in Russian challenge thread.

06. All That Jazz -- Fosse, 1979.

I hadn't expected this film to apply to this challenge, but there's a hefty component of semi-autobiographical rumination on one's past, one's present, and the afterlife-to-come, complete with Jessica Lange lounging through the duration as a fantasy Angel of Death (named Angelique).
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allisoncm
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4. Pather Panchali (1955)
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sushantv10
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11. Color of pomegranates
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beeswax
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2. Thunder Rock (1942/Roy Boulting) - Michael Redgrave plays a former newsman who's become so embittered by the failure of his attempts to alert the world to the fascist threat that he's buried himself at the back of beyond -- in a lighthouse somewhere on the Great Lakes in North America. There he gets visits. From an old friend (James Mason) who's off to fly planes in aid of the Chinese against the Japanese invasion, and who wants Redgrave to rejoin the living in the fight. And, from some not-so-living spirits. They may be real specters from a ship that sank 100 years before, or figments of characters he's created for something he's writing about that sunken ship. The captain of the old ship (Finlay Currie) is a sort of Spirit of Christmas Past crossed with Jiminy Cricket in relation to Redgrave's lighthouse keeper, and the stories "shown" to Redgrave and to us include some very progressive proselytizing (Hello again, Mr. Dickens) against poverty and child labor and for science and education and women's rights. I was sort of worried at the start of the film, but shortly after the filmmakers have finished using some oblique and stagey dialogue in Redgrave's scenes with Mason, and an editing trope in a tediously repetitive way while establishing Redgrave's backstory, they get more into the swing of things, and I began enjoying the flashbacks. I'll hang in there for any movie with Redgrave, Mason and Currie just to see where it ends up, anyway. This turned into an interesting parable about (essentially) being one's brother's keeper, and not underestimating individuals or giving up on humankind.



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burneyfan
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07. The Juggler -- Dmytryk, 1953.

Deals with Jewish refugees and the new post-WWII life in Israel. Beeswax and maybe others have already written quite a bit about it; Kirk Douglas stars as a Jewish concentration camp survivor who (as beeswax accurately diagnoses IMO) would be diagnosed with PTSD today. Amid his struggle and psychological storyline, there's a good bit of discussion on what life is like in Israel, some celebration of faith and community, and some not-too-common (for this period) location shooting of Haifa, Nazareth, and Jerusalem. Douglas gives one of his better, less macho performances here (and this is coming from someone who likes his work in general, macho or otherwise).

08. The Ascent -- Shepitko, 1977.

I already wrote about this one pretty extensively in the "film of the week" thread, and the fairly clear religious aspects of the film (N.B. the snowman is not one of them, heh). Telephone pole crosses and an appearing/snow-vanishing church that bookend the film, martyrdom with nods to religious iconography, the general concept of ascension...there's plenty there, if you're looking.

09. Androcles and the Lion -- Erskine + a bit of uncredited N. Ray, 1952.

I'm quite a fan of Shaw's work; I've read and written about a lot of it, but this isn't one of my favorites. Shaw basically takes the old folktale of the gentle man (shepherd in the old tales, a tailor in Shaw) and the lion, and turns it into a satirical look at religion -- Christianity, particularly. The tailor removes a thorn from the lion's paw, and then as he is about to be thrown to the lions in Rome (in Shaw, because he's a Christian), the lion reciprocates this mercy -- there's a similar Aesop fable with a lion and a mouse. The film version is quite faithful to the play, but...well, it's just not that funny or good. Victor Mature doesn't really help the cast, either (he's a Roman captain of the guard), though Jean Simmons is a great choice for Lavinia and Robert Newton is awfully good as rough-Christian-with-violence-issues Ferrovius. That's Woody Strode in the lion costume in the close-ups. Guess they really couldn't find too much for kickass African-American actors to do in this period!!
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beeswax
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3. Kuroi taiy (aka 黒い太陽/aka Black Sun/1964/Koreyoshi Kurahara)
4. Le beau Serge (1958/Claude Chabrol)
Two films which explore the duality of paired male characters, both of which use the theme of a flawed "savior" and tons (TONS!) of Christian symbolism and imagery. One of them ends with a quite striking crucifixion/lynching image. The other has a character who cheerfully acknowledges his past intention to become a priest ("I got over it," he smiles), and is later accused by more than one character of having "a Christ complex." I'd discuss the imagery and themes further but would need to wall it off behind a spoiler bar which nobody would bother to click anyway. There's some really interesting cinematography in both -- from Henri Deca in the case of Le beau Serge -- and I loved the music in both films. Some strange and wonderful cues in Serge, and some integral and kick-ass work from The Max Roach Quartet -- in collaboration with Toshiro Mayuzumi? -- with some strongly featured vocals by Abbey Lincoln in Black Sun, which is either named after one of Roach's albums or created an album after which to be named. If the latter: Nice work, production designer!

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Cippenham
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05. Ponette 1996

Good French film about the world of a 4 year old French girl whose mother dies in an accident..

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Limedebois
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Cippenham
Dec 15 2011, 05:30:10 PM
05. Ponette 1996

Good French film about the world of a 4 year old French girl whose mother dies in an accident..

The film caused a furore in 96 because the 4 years old girl won the prize for the best actress in Venice Festival^^
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allisoncm
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Lim Guela
Dec 15 2011, 05:50:53 PM
Cippenham
Dec 15 2011, 05:30:10 PM
05. Ponette 1996<br /><br />Good French film about the world of a 4 year old French girl whose mother dies in an accident..<br /><br />
The film caused a furore in 96 because the 4 years old girl won the prize for the best actress in Venice Festival^^
I've been wanting to see Ponette for some time. I love Marie Trintignant.
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