Stories that invite us to be cultural mystics

After more than six decades of life, I am still startled by the profound empathy for humanity often revealed in stories told through sight and sound. Cinema, and increasingly episodic stories on television and the Internet, brings the human face of my brother or sister up close and personal so that I experience the joy and pain of all human living and make a difference in the world.The fact is cinema has a sacramental quality, outward signs of inner realities, that Sr. Nancy Usselmann,* a … [Read more...]

Pope Francis invites us to reflect mercy in our speech and in Tweets for World Communications Day 2016

 One of the best-kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that we have a beautiful tradition of teaching about communication and media that goes back to the 1930s and continues through today. This teaching covers speaking with one another in the family, parish and community, to evangelization, to all the means of communication including radio, television, movies, social media and the culture they create.Back in 1963 one of the Second Vatican Council documents issued by Pope Paul … [Read more...]

8 films and mini-series to see before you vote

My ears perked up back in March when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defended his wife, Heidi, after Donald Trump threatened to "spill the beans" about her. Cruz came back with a threat of his own that sounded like it was straight out of the 1995 film "The American President" when President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) stood up for his girlfriend (Annette Bening) to his opponent Sen. Bob Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss) who had defamed her: "You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause … [Read more...]

“Rabin in His Own Words” is a testament to peace

At the Venice Film Festival last September, the SIGNIS (Catholic) Jury placed filmmaker Amos Gitai’s “Rabin: The Last Day” on our short list for the SIGNIS Prize as soon as we saw it. The film is a captivating docudrama form of a political essay that explores the last day in the life of the famed peace-seeking Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1922 – 1995) who was assassinated during a peace rally on November 4, 1995. Integrating actual footage of the shooting by a 25-yea … [Read more...]

“The Story of God” concludes 5/8 with “The Power of Miracles”

This Sunday, May 8, 2016, the NatGeo Channel will conclude it’s beautiful inspiring and informative series on “The Story of God.” The final episode is “The Power of Miracles.”The series host, Morgan Freeman, begins this “journey to discover the power of miracles” by interviewing Alcides Moreno, a window washer in Manhattan who plunged 47 stories to the ground in 2007 and survived. Alcido’s younger brother, Edgar, perished. Freeman and Moreno speak about the miracle that saved him, as well as … [Read more...]

TCM Classic Film Festival April 28-May 1, 2016 Hollywood

 If you are a film buff and like classic films from every era, don't miss the upcoming TCM Film Festival April 28 - May 1st.What's really cool is that I will be introducing "The Song of Bernadette" on Saturday evening, April 30 and "The King of Kings" on Sunday, May 1 (this year marks the film's 55th anniversary.) There are a few more of my favorite films playing such as "The Keys of the Kingdom." It's an excellent slate of films.Click here for all the films. The site is very … [Read more...]

“Noble” is now on DVD

In the early 1950s, Christina Noble (Gloria Cramer Curtis), a young girl from a poor part of Dublin, Ireland, aspires to be a singer when she grows up. She prays and lights candles to Our Lady to care for her sick mother. When she dies, her father, Thomas (Liam Cunningham), an alcoholic, loses custody of the children, and the courts send them to separate institutions.At 17, Christina finishes school, but more hardships follow when she is raped. Friends bring her to the nuns for care. But … [Read more...]

The power of movies about nuns: “Seeing the Light, Hearing the Call…”

I am so pleased to announce the publication of a superb article at the University of Nebraska's online Journal for Religion and Film about how movies about nuns influenced many young women in their discernment and decision to enter religious life. The article," Seeing the Light, Hearing the Call: Women Religious as Spectators and Subjects of Popular Nun Films" is by Professor Maureen Sabine of the University of Hong Kong. It follows her 2013 book: VEILED DESIRES: INTIMATE PORTRAYALS OF NUNS IN P … [Read more...]

‘The Story of God’ with host and guide Morgan Freeman

National Geographic’s beautiful and intelligent filmic pilgrimage about God is narrated by an actor who comes with solid credentials: Morgan Freeman played God in two feature films directed by Tom Shadyac: “Bruce Almighty” (2003) and “Evan Almighty” (2007). In “The Story of God,” aired as a six-part series beginning Sunday, Freeman moors himself in Greenwood, Miss., his hometown and source of his family and identity.From Greenwood, he travels the world in search of beliefs about the afterlife … [Read more...]

‘The Young Messiah’ a unique imagining of Jesus as a child

In this cinematic imagining of Jesus (Adam Greaves-Neal) as a child of about seven or eight living with his parents in the small Jewish community of Alexandria, Egypt, we meet a young boy who is bullied and willing to stand up for another child, a girl, being picked on as well. With some devilish mischief thrown in the brawl, a child dies and Jesus is accused. When Jesus sneaks to the boys bedside he lays his hands on his face and prays, the boy awakens – or as some believe, comes back to life. T … [Read more...]


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