Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Highlight clips from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

These engaging and informative clips on our YouTube channel, taken from longer episodes, provide a wonderful introduction to Catholic Culture’s podcasting program:

Using film to teach the value of human life [8:30]
Kieslowski’s film Dekalog: Five, or A Short Film About Killing, is inspired by the Fifth Commandment. Film scholar Maria Elena de Las Carreras uses it to make her secular students reflect on the value of human life. Her writing on Kieslowski's work was "read with great interest" by Pope St. John Paul II. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode A Short Film About KillingDekalog: Five (1988).

Where The Chosen falls short in reverence [10:05]
A very moving scene in season 1 of The Chosen depicts Nicodemus's secret nighttime meeting with Jesus. However, the scene has a significant flaw which may reflect, for whatever reason, a certain discomfort with solemnity. Any dramatic portrayal of Jesus will necessarily be an incomplete reflection of a perfect, Divine Personality, but in one respect this scene crosses the line into error. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode The Chosen, an Education in Meditation.

Jonathan Roumie's Childlike Performance as Jesus [5:43]
Actor James Majewski and Br. Joshua Vargas praise Jonathan Roumie's performance as Jesus in season 1 of The Chosen. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode The Chosen, an Education in Meditation.

The Functions and Dangers of Horror [12:37]
James Majewski discusses the appeal of horror and its cathartic function, but also its dangers and the potential of images to damage and traumatize the viewer. In particular, there must be a due gravity and sobriety in cinematic treatments of the occult. James mentions the films of Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) as negative examples. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode Reverence and the Occult: Nosferatu (1922/1979).

Materialism Freezes in the Face of Evil [11:06]
James Majewski discusses the appeal of horror and its cathartic function, but also its dangers and the potential of images to damage and traumatize the viewer. In particular, there must be a due gravity and sobriety in cinematic treatments of the occult. James mentions the films of Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) as negative examples. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode Reverence and the Occult: Nosferatu (1922/1979).

Why bother animating a movie? w/ Tim Reckart [5:29]
Catholic animator Tim Reckart discusses a common question in the world of animation: why animate something at all rather than film live action? In discussing a segment from Disney's Fantasia (1940), he comes to the conclusion that certain kinds of spectacle—such as dance sequences and fight scenes—tend to be less interesting when animated because we are aware that no real physical feats are being performed. Some additional magic is necessary to make something worth animating. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode Fantasia (1940) w/ animator Tim Reckart.

Social hierarchy in Disney’s Fantasia w/ Tim Reckart [11:05]
Walt Disney didn’t animate his own movies after a certain point, but they continued to be Walt Disney movies. Likewise, a conductor doesn’t play a note, but he still gets the credit for the orchestra’s performance. Catholic animator Tim Reckart thinks this concern for social hierarchy pervades the 1940 Disney film Fantasia, which was produced around the time of a major animators’ strike and offers a series of analogues to the Disney studio organization, beginning with the conductor and proceeding to dancing mushrooms and an army of magically animated brooms. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode Fantasia (1940) w/ animator Tim Reckart.

Groundbreaking animation in Disney’s Fantasia w/ Tim Reckart [7:00]
Catholic animator Tim Reckart explains some of the ingenious animated effects, enchanting even today, used in Disney’s 1940 film Fantasia. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode Fantasia (1940) w/ animator Tim Reckart.

Documentary film and privacy under the Soviet police state [4:19]
The great Polish filmmaker Kryzstof Kieslowski started his career making documentaries, but switched to making feature films to avoid violating the privacy of real people (especially because he was living under a totalitarian regime). But the privacy of actors can be abused as well. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode The Abdication of Fatherhood—Dekalog: Four (1988).

Why realistic acting isn’t always best [9:13]
Realistic or naturalistic acting is the norm in today’s movies, but non-realistic acting, such as that found in silent movies, can express things inaccessible to realism. The 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis is a great example, using the grotesquely striking techniques of German expressionism to convey, among other things, the dehumanizing aspects of industrial labor. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode The Machine-Whore of Babylon: Metropolis (1927).

Echoes of Biblical Apocalypse in the sci-fi classic Metropolis [16:05]
The 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis, by lapsed Catholic director Fritz Lang, is chock-full of Biblical imagery and allusions, particularly related to the Apocalypse. Particularly prominent are references to Moloch, the Whore of Babylon, and Mary. The movie is also prophetic of evils in society today, such as the porn epidemic, transgenderism’s mockery of womanhood, increasingly transparent Satanism in popular culture, and more. Clip from Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, episode The Machine-Whore of Babylon: Metropolis (1927).