Friday, February 18, 2011

Movies and Faith

I remember sitting in my air-conditioned apartment one insufferably hot summer in Nashville, Tennessee, the insufferable summer of my divorce. After long hours working as the chef at The Slice of Life Restaurant, I'd stop at the Blockbuster on my corner, pick up a few movies and watch them, back to back during my off hours. I'd say that in addition to the first foreign movies or "films" that I saw at my university student union, I received my film education that summer, largely alone. I remember checking out literally every single movie available in the foreign film section, even the Japanese westerns. Many of those movies remain in my top ten favorite list. Here it is:

1. Wings of Desire
2. 8 1/2
3. The Seventh Seal
4. The English Patient
5. Harold and Maude
6. Breakfast at Tiffany's
7. La Strada
8. Days of Heaven
9. The Graduate
10. Casablanca

There's also The Philadelphia Story, Five Easy Pieces, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove -- well -- I could go on and on and on.

Yesterday, I doodled around on one of my favorite websites and found a list called The Arts and Faith Top 100 Films. The cool thing about the list was that it provided a short clip from each movie and a summary. Many of my favorites were on the list -- you can check it out here. In fact, they even had the clip of my favorite part of Wings of Desire -- the part that I wrote about here, part of a larger article that was published in Spirituality and Health Magazine. 


  1. Thank you for this Elizabeth.

    " but why am I living? "

  2. and the strangest thing! i just went to Netflix to add Wings of Desire, to find I had just added it three days ago.

  3. Wow, I think your writing in that article is absolutely beautiful.

    I have no experience with angels I am sorry to say. Maybe I'm just not paying close enough attention. (Though I do think I've bumped into a few

    But foreign films, love them. I've decided it's the subtitles. Add reading to just about any activity and in my world, it's an improvement.

  4. Wings of Desire was such a beautiful and profound movie. I watched it with my teen daughters back in the 90's and was blown away by the words we read of the subtitles because of it being foreign. We would pause the movie just to read those beautiful thoughts...yes I have that in my Netflix to watch again after all these years.

  5. The unbearable lightness of being, Raise the Red Lantern, Fanny and Alexander, Bonjour Tristesse, Manon of the Spring, Nights of Cabiria, Rome Open City, La Strada, Farewell my concubine, The story of Qiu Ju. Dreams by my beloved Akira Kurosawa, 8 1/2, Women at the verge of a nervous breakdown...I could fill pages about my old time favorites.

    We are film addicts here. Sitting in bed with the big laptop we can watch and re-watch those jewels.
    Before we were married Barry and I would go for an entire Saturday to the now gone, wonderful Movie House, or the Koin Tower Cinemas and see one film after another, always foreign films. These days we seldom do that, all the art films except for the Portland International Film Festival and that happens only once a year, are no longer around except through Netflix and so that is what we do. He makes popcorn and I knit. A passport away from what is happening around us, not a escape or a form of denial.

    Simply another way of trying to survive even Madison, Wisconsin today.

  6. Maggie May -- You will LOVE Wings of Desire. It's so you.

    Noan -- Thank you. I wrote it a while back and upon re-reading, winced a bit, but I thank you.

    Ellen -- Sigh.

    Allegra -- YES! All those listed are also favorites of mine.

  7. I've rarely been disappointed by foreign films. I like quite a few, but my absolute favorites are Pan's Labyrinth and The Lives of Others.

  8. Angie -- I loved both of those movies as well! There's just about no end to movies that I love --

  9. Do you like Luc Besson? He was involved with (but I don't believe he actually directed) a movie called Banlieue 13. Some nice cinematography in it. I also like Siren Rouge for its cinematography, as well. Oh, and Dead Man had some great camera work as well as a quirky storyline and dialog.

    There was a Jackie Chan film that, in the opening scene (maybe Rumble in the Bronx), gave a nod to the old badly dubbed Hong Kong flicks by having the audio about half a beat off the video. I think that was the most subtle humor I've ever seen in one of his movies.

    That said, I'm more of a live theater than a movie fan. There is something about a live performance. Maybe it's the uniqueness of the experience -- go back the next day and see the same actors uttering the same lines but it's still different.

  10. Thank you, lots to add to my list of Movies I Need to Watch Someday.



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