On Choosing Films of Faith

Can’t wait to see Terence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” (above) which looks pretty awesome and is being hailed by many as a film with powerfully existential/spiritual themes.

In anticipation of “Tree’s” release, I recently surfed over to Arts & Faith’s “Top 100 Films.” Though I consider myself something of a film nerd, I was pretty humbled to discover I haven’t seen the majority of films on the list (and haven’t even heard of a fair amount of them either.)

Check it out yourself and see if you agree with the rankings. As for me, I have no argument with “The Passion of Joan of Arc” as #1, but what on earth is “Make Way for Tomorrow“- a minor 1937 comedy directed by Leo McCarey, of “Duck Soup” fame – doing at #6? And I’m sorry, as much as I love Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil,” I’m not sure I’d call it a spiritually themed movie.

And as for Jewish films, was “Fiddler on the Roof really the best they could do?  Granted there aren’t that many “Jewish films of faith” to choose from, but off the top of my head, I’d nominate “The Quarrel,” “Enemies: A Love Story,” or the Coen Bros’ “A Serious Man for starters…

10 thoughts on “On Choosing Films of Faith

  1. hmmm….how about Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, which poses the morally troubling question: why do good things happen to bad people?

  2. It is not Jewish, but my favorite spiritual movie by a long shot is “After Life,” a 1998 Japanese film by Kore-eda. Truly amazing and profound.

  3. I’m a fellow film nerd as well & this list is bizarre! “Magnolia?!”. And “Schindlers List” was an awesome film, but don’t really see how it fits into this category either. What about “Agnes of G-d?”. Or “The Chosen?”. Or on a lighter note, “Keeping the Faith” & “Defending Your Life?”

    Saw the preview for “Tree of Life” this weekend & also looking forward! This topic made me realize there’s a serious lack of good movies about faith & spirituality.

    • I dunno, maybe you could call “Schindler” a film of faith inasmuch as it deals with Schindler’s moral struggle/evolution. I’ve always felt the movie was more about him and much less complex in the way it portrayed Jews (pretty much uniformly as “noble victims.”)

      • I agree: the “noble victim” portrayal is so tired. I think that’s why I liked “Enemies: A Love Story” so much!

  4. Dead Man Walking was very powerful. Very hard to watch at times, but made me think of having faith even when people do horrible things. Had some very memorable scenes.

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