Like many lapsed Catholics, I look for transcendence in other
places, especially ones that haven't burnt heretics. That's one reason I love
film: when done right, it achieves immanence, conjures up epiphanies,
touches on the numinous, and vindicates the spirit more than any other art form (okay, except maybe
for some music and an occasional cryptic crossword puzzle).
Of course, I am routinely scoffed at for holding such an opinion; just calling
film an "art" is enough to get you a razzing.
But I challenge anyone to watch any half a dozen of the films on The Arts and Faith Top 100 Film List - say, Kieslowski's Dekalog (#2),
Bresson's "Au Hasard Balthazar" (#6),
Pasolini's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" (#10), Bergman's "The Seventh
Ozu's "Tokyo Story" (#21) and Rohmer's
"The Green Ray" (#41) - and continue to
You might bicker about the ranking, and you might think there are
some omissions (Kiarostami's "Taste of Cherry?" )
but there isn't a stinker in the bunch. Hardly.
Who are the people who chose these? They describe themselves as a "small but articulate group of cinephiles
interested in discussing the intersection of film and faith ... comprised of
professional and amateur film critics from around the world in addition to
academics, clergy, authors, artists, and actors."
Their mission statement, in part: "A culture is governed by its
reigning myths. However, in the latter days of the twentieth century, there is
an uneasy sense that materialism cannot sustain or nourish our common life.
Thankfully, religion and art have always shared the capacity to help us to
renew our awareness of the ultimate questions: who we are, where we have come
from, and where we are going."
Maybe it's creeping Papism. But they've got good taste.