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By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

Showing most recent 25 items by this author.

Wild Courtesy: Dersu Uzala (1975)

Dersu Uzala is a heartwarming adventure tale about the unlikely friendship between a man of civilization and a man of the wilderness. On a mission to map the Russian Far East, Arseniev encounters Dersu Uzala, a hunter and member of the Goldi people, from whom he learns much about the strange courtesies of life in the wild, based on a respect for all beings. But while this heartfelt friendship is not defeated by profound cultural differences, neither can it fully overcome them.

Vision Book Cover Prints

Ben-Hur (1959) w/ Elizabeth Lev

There is only one American film in the "Religion" section of the Vatican film list: William Wyler's 1959 epic Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Its epic scale and its astonishing set pieces such as the sea battle and the chariot race make the small, understated moments when Jesus enters the story all the more striking. Thomas and James are joined by Catholic art historian and Rome tour guide Elizabeth Lev to discuss the film.

Literalism vs. Reality in The Mandalorian

We enjoy The Mandalorian more than any other recent Star Wars productions. But its second season sometimes doesn’t trust us to suspend our disbelief in certain respects, while elsewhere expecting us to accept, on ideological grounds, things that are unbelievable even in its fantasy setting. This prompts a discussion of the difference between the suspension of disbelief and unreality in a fantasy setting.

A Short Film About KillingDekalog: Five (1988)

This film makes us confront on a visceral level the horror of taking a human life, even the life of someone we might find despicable. It is the fifth installment of Dekalog, the famous Polish TV series inspired by the Ten Commandments.

Mel Gibson’s Santa dispenses justice in Fatman (review)

In Mel Gibson's countercultural Chris Cringle we have a father figure who understands and compassionates the childhood wounds of his adversaries, yet insists that wicked deeds require retribution both for justice's and for the evildoer's own sake.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) w/ Patrick Coffin

James and Thomas discuss Catholic director Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life with popular podcaster and writer Patrick Coffin.

The Machine-Whore of Babylon: Metropolis (1927)

Almost one hundred years ago, the great German director Fritz Lang offered us a beautiful yet nightmarish vision of a world strangely similar to our present. Society is unimaginably prosperous yet produces mass misery. There is a sense of an end coming for Babel.

The Abdication of Fatherhood—Dekalog: Four (1988)

A father is challenged to definitively embrace his paternal role as authority and protector, lest his already ambiguous relationship with daughter be perverted into something truly monstrous.

Fantasia (1940) w/ animator Tim Reckart

James and Thomas discuss an animated classic, Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940), with Oscar-nominated animator and director Timothy Reckart ("Head Over Heels", The Star).

Reverence and the Occult: Nosferatu (1922/1979)

A discussion of horror and treatment of the occult in movies, leading into a discussion of the classic vampire film Nosferatu.

The Life You Save—Dekalog: Three (1988)

Krzysztof Kieślowski's DEKALOG (1988) is a series of 10 short films inspired by the Ten Commandments. With this episode we discuss the third film in the series, which deals with the third commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

Are heist films moral? The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Alec Guinness stars in this 1951 heist-comedy that stands apart as perhaps the most purely entertaining film included on the Vatican Film List.

Vie et Passion du Christ (1903)

Vie et Passion du Christ (Life and Passion of the Christ) is is one of the earliest feature-length narrative films, produced and released in 1903. The film portrays the events of the Gospels - from the Annunciation to the Ascension - employing only visual language (it is a silent film, with inter-titles used only to introduce the scene titles).

The Illusion of Choice —Dekalog: Two (1988)

James and Thomas discuss Krzysztof Kieślowski's DEKALOG, a series of 10 short-films inspired by the Ten Commandments.

Fatima (2020)

Our first response to the new feature film based on the events surrounding Our Lady of Fatima's appearance in 1917.

A Prison Is For Escaping: La Grande Illusion (1937)

James and Thomas discuss this seminal work by director Jean Renoir, son of the famous French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Scandinavian Scrooge: Wild Strawberries (1957) w/ James Matthew Wilson

James and Thomas discuss Ingmar Bergman's WILD STRAWBERRIES, one of his greatest and most moving films.

Those Who Make Them Are Like Them —Dekalog: One (1988)

James and Thomas discuss Krzysztof Kieślowski's DEKALOG, a series of 10 short-films inspired by the Ten Commandments.

Gone with the Wind (1939) w/ Stephen M. Klugewicz

James and Thomas take a momentary departure from the Vatican Film List to discuss the classic and controversial film, Gone with the Wind.

Robert Bolt’s Man for All Seasons: Christian saint or “hero of selfhood”?

In this bonus episode of Criteria, Thomas asks Louis Karlin whether Robert Bolt’s play and film A Man for All Seasons accurately depict St. Thomas More’s views on the rights of conscience, and his motives for martyrdom.

From Stage to Screen: A Man for All Seasons (1966)

James and Thomas discuss A Man for All Seasons, the film adaptation of Robert Bolt's award-winning play about St. Thomas More.

Community on the Margins: Stagecoach (1939) w/ Anthony Esolen

James and Thomas discuss Stagecoach, the classic American Western directed by John Ford.

Robots Don’t Matter! 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

James and Thomas discuss 2001: A Space Odyssey, the classic science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

An Artist Is Never Poor: Babette’s Feast (1987)

James and Thomas discuss Babette's Feast, an Oscar-winning religious classic directed by Gabriel Axel and based on a short story by Karen Blixen.

Introducing Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

Introducing Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast! This is a show dedicated to exploring films of significant artistic merit and Catholic interest, starting with the Vatican’s 1995 list of "Some Important Films".

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