Tag Archives: god

I liked Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey better.

42. The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)

My first Bergman, and despite the cool poster of a skeleton riding a checkerboard, somewhat underwhelming.

As I mentioned in my post on “Ordet“, I am/was quite religious(still a bit undecided on where I am now), and this film is pretty much indebted to the Christian interpretation of the world. Having seen a good chunk of both Dreyer‘s and Bergman’s work, I find that I can’t think of one without the other. And I think I like Dreyer’s work more.

I like that Dreyer’s work leaves things hanging. Bergman I find tries to make sense of things a bit too much, and seems preoccupied with exposing the hypocrisy of the church. I find Bergman to be focused on existentialism, and the inherent futility of the pursuit of understanding. Dreyer seems willing to narrow his focus to the church, and to good and evil. I like Dreyer’s work because it is so willing to explore the world, without passing such dreadful judgment upon it. I always get the sense that Dreyer is somehow willing to believe in something bigger than himself, while Bergman simply can’t comprehend any world view other than his own. Essentially God doesn’t give a shit, and life is meaningless.

I do like some of Bergman’s work, but I like Dreyer’s treatment of God, Religion, and life more. Dreyer just seems less cynical than Bergman, perhaps more willing to accept the role of faith and religion in life, whereas Bergman just wants to cast it aside.

I realize that both men were essentially agnostic, but somehow I admire Dreyer’s films for their willingness to accept religion as a part of life, where I find myself unable to relate to much of Bergman’s work for it’s dismissal of religion. Also I like Connect Four more than chess, maybe if Bergman used that I would have felt it more.

this realization is somewhat ironic given my current agnosticism, but for whatever reason I admire Dreyer’s seeming willingness to tackle religion as opposed to Bergman’s seeming dismissal of it.

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film a 6/10. It just didn’t resonate with me, and felt disjointed. I think I like Bergman’s treatment of life, moreso than his treatment of religion.

Jesus loves me this I know…

37. Ordet (Carl Dreyer, 1955)

This is one of those what-the-fuck movies(well if you believe in God and all).

I used to be quite religious, a virtuous and angelic Evangelical Christian.

Life has taught me that such an approach has distinct limitations, and given my personality and taste prior to my conversion, there was simply too much I found inhibiting. I have never felt comfortable with the bible’s stance on sexuality, or on rebellion. I admittedly admire the character of Christ very deeply, but aside from the occasional cool story(namely Jacob wrestling with God), I have never felt wholly secure in my belief.

It’s probably the punk in me but I have always admired people who were both gay(or bisexual) and rebellious(ie Lou Reed, Michael Stipe and Madonna), and I never felt I could reconcile my feelings with my belief in Christ(or God, or Christianity or whatever).

I think I am at the point where I am humble enough to admit that I have no fucking idea about how the universe works. I can only say with certainty, that any system that doesn’t involve stabbing, shooting or rape is valid on some level. Christ is a compelling figure, and at some point I would like to be more like him, but not out of my belief and my desire for salvation, but rather because the love and compassion Christ showed made the world a better place, and at some I hope to do the same.

As for “Ordet“, it’s basically about a crazy dude who thinks he’s Jesus, and in the end he raises the dead. I have no idea what to make of it. So I will simply quote one the greatest rap songs in history by the once amazing Outkast: “faith is what you make it, that’s the hardest shit since MC Ren“. In other words, belief and faith are deeply personal experiences that can’t be truthfully explained or rectified within the context of any church, belief system, or orthodoxy(if I use the word orthodoxy I sound intellectual, so there), so why get bound up in trying to explain shit(especially in conventional terms).

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 9/10, a simply great film for those who have any interest in God, or life in general.

But I really wanna hit it girl, no means no.

16. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1927)

As far as bald chicks go, Maria Falonetti(who plays Joan) ranks a close second to Sinead O’Connor in my books. You see I think Sinead is pretty fucking great. She’s smart, talented, political, outspoken, can sing the shit out of things, and she’s self-assured in a way I think few people ever are. I think it’s great when a person can go through the heat and controversy she went through and come out the other side, with their heart and mind still in tact.

Her first album is really good, and “Throw Down Your Arms” is tremendous(Sinead does reggae!), but the album that introduced me to Sinead was her biggest hit: “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got“. I think it’s one of those rare instances where something legitimately great makes it huge in the mainstream, kind of like Swirl 360 or K-Ci & Jo-Jo. It’s one those albums to that you can find in dollar bin at Cash Converters. The dollar bin is mostly overflowing with No Mercy, Right Said Fred, and C&C Music Factory CDs, but occasionally as in Sinead’s case you can find an album that made it really big that’s actually good: examples of which include Hole‘s “Live Through This“, or Arrested Development‘s “3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of…“.  It takes patience though and a strong stomach combined with ability to make quick judgments and categorize albums into the category of guilty pleasure(Mark Morrison‘s Return of the Mack), or gives me sense of nostalgia(for me it’s the first Our Lady Peace album), or legitimately good(I once found The Verve‘s “Urban Hymns“), and finally just plain terrible(most of the Can-Con bands that were played ad nauseam on Muchmusic such as Ricky J. and Shawn Desman). The whole scene is actually kind depressing as you ask one of two questions: “someone actually bought this?”, and “8 people actually bought this?”. Soul Decision? Deep Blue Something? Love Inc? I mean seriously. To be fair I was once 13 and not immune to the popular culture. I did own a Jeff Foxworthy tape once, but I later repented for my sins. My only hope is that the rest of society has repented for theirs.

On the subject of Sinead O’Connor, I think a parallel can be drawn between Sinead and Joan(at least as she is depicted in the film). Sinead’s greatest battle was started when she tore up the picture of the pope on SNL(pretty ballin’ in my opinion), an act of defiance against the Catholic Church and in particular their response(or lack of one) to the growing allegations of child abuse by Catholic clergymen. Sinead was vilified for her stand, which many misinterpreted as anti-God(it could be strongly argued that her very belief in God is what caused her to take such a stand). The setting of The Passion is her trial for heresy, and is based on the actual court records. The conflict is essentially built out of Joan’s deep-seeded belief that she was in direct communication with God, which the Church found abhorrent. Throughout the film she is constantly asked to renounce her belief in God, in favor of believing in church doctrine. The connection I see between Joan and Sinead is that both were/are faithful believers in God, but this belief didn’t manifest itself in a safe way. It lead them to do radical things that conflicted with the expectations of the Church.

I find the conflict between Church and God to be very compelling. It’s interesting to me that 600 years after Joan of Arc, people can still be persecuted and labeled heretics for suggesting ideas about the world which conflict with the Church’s(or any religious entity) viewpoint. People is the same old shit.

On filmaffinity.com I gave this film 8/10, because I found the story very interesting, and the conflict presented in way I strongly identify with. Plus Maria Falconetti gives a tremendous performance which is probably the main point of interest.