I know there are some Christians that hang out at the site, but I suspect the numbers are quite low. In any event, being a Christian myself, I wanted to find out how many other Christians actually post at the site. More importantly, I want to hear from other Christians about their thoughts on the movies, this site or well-whatever, I guess. I want to leave it as open as possible—although I would prefer that we focus on movies. Here are some movie related questions:
Does your faith has any impact on your movie viewing.? Do your beliefs prevent you from seeing certain films? How do your beliefs color your perception or experience of films—particuarly in ways that you think would be different from people who don’t share the same faith? As always, I encourage you to provide specific examples.
this is gonna get ugly.
say a prayer to St. Isidore…
What kind of Christian are you, Jazz?
I await a ‘Blacks at MUBI’ thread soon, and maybe a ‘Jews at MUBI’ thread if we’re lucky.
Most of the hardcore fundamentalist crazy christians whose opinions would make this thread interesting probably don’t traverse such a site :(
No reason for this to get ugly. We can all be respectful of each other’s religions, right? Although I’m not a Christian (Jewish), I’d be curious to hear Christian perspectives on films and experiencing films.
Edit: Aflwydd, if you do some checking you’ll find there are already threads on both African-American and Jewish films and communities.
Does it consciously affect your film viewing at all Jazz? I being a materialist myself have always wondered how cinema with a certain spiritualist edge affects religious folks, for example the cinema of Tarkovsky, whom I love.
Ari said, " What kind of Christian are you, Jazz?"
Man, I’m not sure how to answer—especially with a short response. I went basically went to a Southern Baptist church from about the 10th grade. I still go to a Southern Baptist church (although I haven’t been attending services lately), but I don’t really consider myself a Southern Baptist or a strong sense of affiliation to any specific denomination. I don’t think I would have much trouble becoming a member of another protestant denomination. I do not consider myself a fundamentalist, although my religious beliefs are fairly conservative. Hope that helps.
I’m trying really hard to not be the one who starts that. x_x
you’re not Hawaiian?
Our most militant anti-religion atheist poster hasn’t been around for awhile.
Does it consciously affect your film viewing at all Jazz?
You know, I’m not sure. I do know that certain films resonate with me because of my faith (stories of redemption for example). Of course, my beliefs will affect the way I respond to films about God or Christianity. I also am not the type of person where my faith restricts what I watch. I’m not the type who will say, “I won’t watch ‘x’ due to my religious beliefs.” Well, that’s not entirely true. I am extremely wary of watching films about Jesus—especially controversial films. There might be some specific film about something that may be too morally reprehensible that I would choose not to watch it, but I can’t think of any examples. (I had no problem seeing Salo for example or Irreversible—which I had great respect for.) But maybe my attitude is much too lax. I don’t know. I’d be interested in hearing from other Christians about this.
Here’s the AFI Top 100, with directors and religion (if any). I didn’t do this research and can’t vouch for its 100% authenticity. Check out #8: Elia Kazan’s religion (“Communist”). Still, it’s fairly interesting . . .
1. Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles Protestant Christian
2. Casablanca (1942) Michael Curtiz Jewish
3. The Godfather (1972) Francis Ford Coppola Catholic (non-practicing)
4. Gone With the Wind (1939) Victor Fleming Christianity
5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) David Lean Quaker
6. The Wizard of Oz (1939) Victor Fleming Christianity
7. The Graduate (1967) Mike Nichols Jewish
8. On the Waterfront (1954) Elia Kazan Communist
9. Schindler’s List (1993) Steven Spielberg Judaism
10. Singin’ In the Rain (1952) Stanley Donen Reform Judaism (lapsed)
11. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra Catholic; Christian Science
12. Sunset Boulevard (1950) Billy Wilder Jewish
13. The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957) David Lean Quaker
14. Some Like It Hot (1959) Billy Wilder Jewish
15. Star Wars (1977) George Lucas Buddhist Methodist
16. All About Eve (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz Jewish parents; atheist father
17. The African Queen (1951) John Huston Episcopalian (lapsed)
18. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock Catholic
19. Chinatown (1974) Roman Polanski Jewish Catholic (lapsed)
20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Milos Forman Jewish father; Protestant mother
21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) John Ford Catholic
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick Jewish
23. The Maltese Falcon (1941) John Huston Episcopalian (lapsed)
24. Raging Bull (1980) Martin Scorsese Catholic (lapsed former seminarian)
25. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg Judaism
26. Dr. Strangelove (1964) Stanley Kubrick Jewish
27. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Arthur Penn
28. Apocalypse Now (1979) Francis Ford Coppola Catholic (non-practicing)
29. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) Frank Capra Catholic; Christian Science
30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) John Huston Episcopalian (lapsed)
31. Annie Hall (1977) Woody Allen Jewish (raised Orthodox); agnostic
32. The Godfather, Part II (1974) Francis Ford Coppola Catholic (non-practicing)
33. High Noon (1952) Fred Zinnemann Jewish
34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Robert Mulligan Catholic
35. It Happened One Night (1934) Frank Capra Catholic; Christian Science
36. Midnight Cowboy (1969) John Schlesinger Jewish
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) William Wyler Jewish
38. Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder Jewish
39. Doctor Zhivago (1965) David Lean Quaker
40. North By Northwest (1959) Alfred Hitchcock Catholic
41. West Side Story (1961) Robert Wise; Jerome Robbins Jewish
42. Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock Catholic
43. King Kong (1933) Merian C. Cooper Protestant
44. The Birth of a Nation (1915) D. W. Griffith Methodist
45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Elia Kazan Greek Orthodox (lapsed);
46. A Clockwork Orange (1971) Stanley Kubrick Jewish
47. Taxi Driver (1976) Martin Scorsese Catholic (lapsed former seminarian)
48. Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg Judaism
49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) David Hand, et al.
50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) George Roy Hill
51. The Philadelphia Story (1940) George Cukor Jewish
52. From Here To Eternity (1953) Fred Zinnemann Jewish
53. Amadeus (1984) Milos Forman Jewish father; Protestant mother
54. All Quiet On the Western Front (1930) Lewis Milestone Jewish
55. The Sound of Music (1965) Robert Wise
56. M*A*S*H (1970) Robert Altman Catholic (lapsed)
57. The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed
58. Fantasia (1940) Joe Grant/Dick Huemer
59. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Nicholas Ray
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Steven Spielberg Judaism
61. Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock Catholic
62. Tootsie (1982) Sydney Pollack Jewish
63. Stagecoach (1939) John Ford Catholic
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Steven Spielberg Judaism
65. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Jonathan Demme
66. Network (1976) Sidney Lumet Jewish
67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) John Frankenheimer Jewish
68. An American In Paris (1951) Vincente Minnelli Catholic
69. Shane (1953) George Stevens
70. The French Connection (1971) William Friedkin Jewish
71. Forrest Gump (1994) Robert Zemeckis Jewish
72. Ben-Hur (1959) William Wyler Jewish
73. Wuthering Heights (1939) William Wyler Jewish
74. The Gold Rush (1925) Charlie Chaplin Anglican; agnostic
75. Dances With Wolves (1990) Kevin Costner Baptist
76. City Lights (1931) Charlie Chaplin Anglican; agnostic
77. American Graffiti (1973) George Lucas Buddhist Methodist
78. Rocky (1976) John Avildsen
79. The Deer Hunter (1978) Michael Cimino Catholic
80. The Wild Bunch (1969) Sam Peckinpah Protestant
81. Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin Anglican; agnostic
82. Giant (1956) George Stevens
83. Platoon (1986) Oliver Stone Jewish father; Catholic mother;
Tibetan Buddhism (convert)
84. Fargo (1996) Joel Coen Jewish
85. Duck Soup (1933) Leo McCarey Catholic
86. Mutiny On the Bounty (1935) Frank Lloyd
87. Frankenstein (1931) James Whale
88. Easy Rider (1969) Dennis Hopper
89. Patton (1970) Franklin Schaffner
90. The Jazz Singer (1927) Alan Crosland
91. My Fair Lady (1964) George Cukor Jewish
92. A Place In the Sun (1951) George Stevens
93. The Apartment (1960) Billy Wilder Jewish
94. Goodfellas (1990) Martin Scorsese Catholic (lapsed former seminarian)
95. Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino
96. The Searchers (1956) John Ford Catholic
97. Bringing Up Baby (1938) Howard Hawks Christian Science
98. Unforgiven (1992) Clint Eastwood raised Protestant; agnostic
99. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) Stanley Kramer Jewish
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) Michael Curtiz Jewish
I hear your concerns and I actually didn’t think of those issues when I started the thread. I certainly don’t want this to be an exclusionary or divisive thread.
I would like to ask everyone—Christians and non-Christians—to be respectful of each other—because, yes, this could turn ugly. That is not something I’d like to see.
I think it would be interesting to hear how your thoughts would differ from a Christian one. Hopefully, I and other Christians will share thoughts that you can comment on.
that’s a really stupid list.
“I do not consider myself a fundamentalist, although my religious beliefs are fairly conservative”
What do you mean by conservative? I’m just curious. I say this as a moderately tolerant Jewish agnostic.
Actually, Z. Bart’s post above (a kinda ridiculous list in terms of how it divides people into “lapsed” and whatnot) prompted me to think of this again, but I’m always curious to ask non-Jewish cinephiles what they make of the large Jewish presence in the film industry (but fear of it launching into some anti-semitic crap generally precludes me to do it).
Matt brings up another point.
Look, I really don’t want to see any trashing of Christianity or any religious/atheistic beliefs in this thread. I’m fine with people respectfully asking questions about religion and atheism, but diatribes about the non-existence or apologies for the existence of God, etc. are not welcomed in this thread. Please, let’s keep this civil and respectful. Mahalo
And, Allan, that’s a really erudite response. Rather than snarling, explain your knee-jerk antipathy.
Like Ari, I think the list is something of a conversation-starter.
Jazz, are there any specific films you have in mind, where a Christian perspective would be particularly relevant?
“diatribes about the non-existence or apologies for the existence of God, etc. are not welcomed in this thread. Please, let’s keep this civil and respectful. "
this will last until halfway down page 2…
Ari said, “What do you mean by conservative?”
My beliefs basically fall in line with most mainstream Protestants. I think some fundamentalists might have problems with my beliefs (e.g. I don’t necessarily believe in the literal truth of the Bible) and I might disagree with Christians who are more liberal in their beliefs (e.g. Jesus was just a human being).
I’m a strict Spinozian – I worship at the church of the blue dome.
I look for the totality in a film.
Hope this helps.
You never stop being Catholic.
^^same with being Jewish.
I guess, how I respond depends on what you mean by “relevant.” I can only think of examples of movies that resonate deeply because of my faith. For example, one of the reasons I love It’s a Wonderful Life is because it falls in line with my own belief, understanding and experience with God. Right when George thinks God has abandoned him is the very moment that God is actually saving and blessing him. I love that about the film and about Christianity—or at least my understanding of it. Does that make my Christian perspective relevant? I’m not sure.
You never stop being Catholic.
Same with being a Spinozian – it’s that totality thingy….
but I’m always curious to ask non-Jewish cinephiles what they make of the large Jewish presence in the film industry (but fear of it launching into some anti-semitic crap generally precludes me to do it).
That’s easily explained by the way that cinema evolved and where it evolved. The early production of film in the U.S. was in the East coast in places with significant Jewish diaspora and businessmen just coming into money looking to invest in a new industry. Cinema was considered somewhat disreputable or flash-in-the-pan by old money people – perhaps due to the connection to vaudeville (also with a disproportionate number of Jewish performers) and working class leisure activities. Jewish enterpreneurs bought up nickelodeons and moved on to production, distribution and exhibition. While these men did not invent cinema nor own the earliest initial companies (owned by Edison, English emigres, Frenchmen, etc) they were clever enough to know film wasn’t a short-lived novelty and went about vertically integrating the business. Because Hollywood is built on nepotism of course Jewish producers and studio heads would want to hire other recent Jewish immigrants or people they knew from the neighborhood. Getting in on the ground floor of a new industry I’m sure enabled the Jewish people that did become involved in the film industry to avoid the entrenched anti-semitism in older more established businesses.
It’s certainly not a nefarious conspiracy to forward some “Jewish agenda” as some people say. It makes perfect sense considering the historical conditions of the time.
You’ve just posted a list of mostly completely unreligious films by people who may or may not have been religious, one of them says ‘Communist’ for religion, another ‘Milos Forman Jewish father; Protestant mother’ what does that even mean? Some of them don’t even say a religion. The extent of ones religious beliefs can hardly be summed up by a single word ‘Christian’ ‘Jewish’ (most of whom to my knowledge were Atheists) or otherwise. Just utterly arbitrarily ordered and inane, that isn’t taking this thread anywhere, has nothing to say about religious interpretations of cinema. If you have something to say about an individual film or director from the point of view of Religion, well that would be interesting to hear, that list is utterly uninteresting.
@Jazz, I was just curious if there were any films that you’ve seen that have made you question your faith or maybe made you look at your faith in a different light?
1. Props to R.U.S. for providing the funniest posts so-far this year. You really have made me ‘laugh-out-loud.’ Molto grazie! Maybe it’s just in the air right now? Yesterday, in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, there were open cries to Jesus to save the world from the believed-to-be non-U.S. citizen barack Obama. This made me wonder if the crier realizes that Jesus also wasn’t born somewhere in rural Kentucky.
2. David Lean was a Quaker?
3. I urge all to go and watch Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. This film, with an apparent budget of about 29-cents, is almost universally regarded as the superior telling of the Christ legend by film- and religious- (including Christian) leaders alike. Better than all the Ben-Hurs and Cecil B. DeMilles combined.
The fact the film was made by a gay, atheist, Marxist anarchist (and, from all reports, a really freaky gay, atheist, Marxist anarchist, at that) only adds to its lustre.
After that, all the works of Bresson, and some of the works of Dryer, Bergman and Ozu should help anyone wanting more of the Christian message. I’d especially push for Bergman’s Winter Light and Bresson’s Au Hassard Balthazar. Just beautiful.