Theology of the body shop - Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
2w ago
Animation director Timothy Reckart (The Star) joins Criteria to discuss his theory that the greatest action movie of recent years, Mad Max: Fury Road, is best viewed in light of Pope St. John Paul II's theology of the body. Themes of the discussion include: The film's depiction of a society based on use of persons as objects How the story reverses the very mechanisms of that use and domination and transforms them into means of self-giving love Storytelling through action rather than dialogue How this apparently feminist film complicates an ideological reading Complementarity rather than enmit ..read more
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Whisper of the generations: The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
1M ago
The Tree of Wooden Clogs, by Catholic director Ermanno Olmi, depicts a year in the life of four peasant families living on a tenant farmhouse in late 19th century Lombardy. The actors are non-professionals, real local peasants speaking their Bergamasque dialect, recreating their normal life on camera (even if in the trappings of a century earlier). The result is a stunning vision of a now-bygone culture that grew out of close contact with the land. Though the film is not nostalgic in longing for the good old days, Olmi (himself a son of Lombard peasants) did say, “I firmly believe that peasant ..read more
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Citizen Kane (1941)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
2M ago
For decades critics said Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane was the greatest film ever made. Unfortunately, that intimidating label sometimes keeps people from sitting down and watching the thing. It needn’t be so. Kane is eminently watchable and entertaining. It also definitely isn’t the greatest film of all time, but it’s one of the most technically impressive, especially considering it was directed, produced, co-written and starred in by a 25-year-old who’d never made a movie before. The titular Charles Foster Kane is a character very recognizable to Americans, the larger-than-life business mogul ..read more
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Stripping St. Francis: Francesco (1989)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski, Nathan Douglas
3M ago
There are two movies about St. Francis of Assisi on the Vatican's 1995 list of important films. The first, discussed in the previous episode, is Rossellini's well-known Flowers of St. Francis (1950). The second is quite obscure: Liliana Cavani's Francesco (1989), starring Mickey Rourke as St. Francis and Helena Bonham-Carter as St. Clare. The best thing one can say about Francesco is that despite being directed by an atheist, it attempts to take its protagonist seriously as a saint; that it is somewhat faithful to the historical trajectory of his life; and that it does not embrace the usu ..read more
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The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
3M ago
The great Italian director Roberto Rossellini made what is generally regarded as the best movie about St. Francis of Assisi. Its original Italian title is Francesco, giullare di Dio ("Francis, God's jester"), but in English it is known as The Flowers of St. Francis - the film being based on a 14th-century Italian novel with the same title. As the Italian title suggests, Rossellini wanted to focus on the whimsical aspects of the saint's personality. He sought to capture “the merrier aspect of the Franciscan experience, on the playfulness, the ‘perfect delight,’ the freedom that the spirit ..read more
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Two very different Oz movies
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
4M ago
Continuing through the Vatican's 1995 list of important films, in the section of Art we find the universally beloved 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz. The film is undeniably delightful and magical, but suffers from the attempt to provide a moral of dubious coherence. The film is about a band of characters seeking various virtues, but at the end we aren't quite sure where virtue comes from, and are left with a sense of disillusionment both within Oz (the Wizard being a phony) and with regard to the whole story (having been a dream). Nearly half a century later, Wizard got a sequel in Walter M ..read more
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Why is The Rings of Power Boring?
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski, Nathan Douglas
4M ago
Thomas Mirus, James Majewski, and Nathan Douglas discuss the new Amazon series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The show thus far is not so much offensive as it is bland in ways similar to much popular film and television today. This discussion attempts to understand why the show generally fails to move, focusing especially on its frequent small-mindedness or arbitrariness in characterization and writing, and on its habit of “telegraphing” or signalling emotion rather than genuinely conveying it. (We apologize for the lip-syncing problems in this episode!) Topics and timestamps: 0:0 ..read more
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Michelangelo movies w/ Elizabeth Lev
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski, Elizabeth Lev
5M ago
Catholic art historian Elizabeth Lev returns to Criteria to discuss two films about Michelangelo. The Agony and The Ecstasy (1965), directed by Carol Reed and starring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II, is what Italians call an "Americanata" - an unapologetically bombastic, colorful Hollywood transformation of Italian or Roman history. It focuses on the conflict and collaboration between Michelangelo and his papal patron in the project of painting the Sistine Chapel. Sin (2019), directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, gives us a gritty, filthy Renaissance Florenc ..read more
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Wormtongue in Times Square: Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
5M ago
In his book on film noir, Arts of Darkness, Catholic philosopher Thomas Hibbs writes: "Subverting the rationality of the pursuit of happiness, noir turns the American dream into a nightmare. Noir also undercuts the Enlightenment vision of the city as the locus of human bliss, wherein human autonomy and rational economics could combine to bring about the satisfaction of human desire." Sweet Smell of Success is a sterling example of this theme in noir. "Success" is one of the great American idols, and the two acid-tongued protagonists of this film entertainingly embody the dark side of succ ..read more
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Poverty and trust: Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast
by Thomas V. Mirus, James T. Majewski
6M ago
Bicycle Thieves, the most beloved classic of Italian neo-realist cinema, would be too easily explained as depicting the crushing pressures of poverty and societal dysfunction in Rome immediately following World War II. But the film transcends any sociological analysis: it has something spiritual to say about how those in poverty can respond to their situation. James Majewski argues that the film is about trust or the lack thereof. It shows how quickly things get worse when we act as though we are in control of our circumstances. The film also defies any suspicion that something with the n ..read more
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