Film Friday

Well, last week I brought you Tune Tuesday, so it’s only fair to follow that up with Film Friday. I really enjoy watching movies and TV (especially TV-on-DVD that I can watch without ads), and since I brought you Jesus-y tunes last Tuesday, today I’ll bring you some Jesus-y films. In fair warning, they’re as eclectic and indie-y as last week’s tunes were. I won’t be offended if you don’t like them as much as I do. Promise.

Wild Strawberries

This 1957 Ingmar Bergman film (Smultronstället) follows an aging professor on a sort of existential roadtrip, considering the meaning of life along the Scandinavian countryside. It’s a beautiful film (as Bergman fans might suspect). There’s a very interesting God-argument that takes place between two semi-random young people in the film—an aspiring doctor and an aspiring parson—and the professor resolves their argument with a poem based on a Swedish hymn (I wrote about it earlier here):

Where is the friend I seek at break of day?
When night falls, I still have not found Him.
My burning heart shows me His traces,
I see His traces wherever flowers bloom.
His love is mingled with every air,
His voice calls in the summer wind.

Babette’s Feast

This is a 1987 Danish film directed by Gabriel Axel, based on a story by Isak Dineson. Two very religious sisters take in a housekeeper who spends all her lottery winnings/her only tie to a past life on preparing a lavish meal for a tiny and aging congregation incapable of appreciating her skill, devotion and sacrifice. This movie is rife with religious symbolism and Eucharistic echoes. It is a beautiful and remarkable film.

Signs

Yup, the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi alien flick. I first saw this in theaters with my oldest friend and her aunt, while we were vacationing at the cottage her family rented each summer. I’d just turned 14; I went to sleep pleasantly frightened and shivery, and very glad we were right next to a very large body of water (see the movie and you’ll know why). Ten years later I still like this film, for its entertainment value and for its interesting engagement with religious themes—particularly the development of Mel Gibson’s character, a (probably Episcopal?) priest who loses his faith, and finds it again. Amid family (composed of semi-important actors), and aliens. It’s fun.

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