The Philidelphia Inquirer has a brief article by Kristin E. Holmes entitled “Films with Faith: Several Groups Picked their Top Movies Based on Spiritual and Religious Content, [and] Values.” In the article, Holmes underscores the revival (!) of interest in religious or spiritual films by production companies. According to Holmes, a “spiritual film” has content that “may include the exploration of a person’s humanity, or the fight between good and evil, redemptive storytelling or overtly religious content.” She even quotes my good friend and film-viewing buddy, Tim Willson, as saying, “Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony are among the studios aggressively pursuing the faith-oriented market” (Nice quote Tim!). (Tim is the marketing director for Crown Video, a distributor of Christian-themed films and videos based here in Edmonton).
Some of the groups those who have recently picked their best movies of 2005 she mentions in her article include:
- Christian Film and Television Commission – 14th Annual MOVIEGUIDEÂ® Faith & Values Awards
- Beliefnet.com – 2006 Beliefnet Film Awards
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Film and Broadcasting – Ten Best List for the Year 2005
- Christianity Today magazine – The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2005 – The 2005 Critics’ Choice Awards
Of course, I am shocked and appalled that she did not mention my own list (see my post, “Essential Films of 2005 for Theologians – Extended Edition” as well as “Movies Worth Watching“). Perhaps a bit more surprising is that she failed to mention the Faith and Film Critics Circle Best of 2005 Awards.
An issue that Holmes raises in her article is the desire of movie studios to cash in on the popularity of religous films — especially since Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Of course, the challenge is to make films that are both spiritually significant and good! She also noted the controversy in religious circles surrounding Brokeback Mountain and the tension between recognizing merit in a film in which you may disagree with its content or overall message.
It’ll be interesting to see what controversy The Da Vinci Code will generate when it is released on May 19 (as if the film could generate any more controversy than the book!)