Archive for January, 2012


Meaningful films

January 25, 2012

Dear Students.  Just to get used to this blog and to get to know each other a bit, please write a little about what you would consider the most meaningful or moving film you’ve seen.  Like me, some of you may have a lot to choose from. So, you can either mention several or narrow it down to a few.  Let me give you an example.  In 2010, I saw the film Of Gods and Men, based on the true story of a group of monks living in Algeria in the midst of a civil war.  They purposefully decide to stay so they can continue working in the community amongst the people they love.  They are an important part of the community in terms of counseling people, doing communal gardening, celebrating important events in people’s lives, and providing worship services.  They go about their daily rituals, and they refuse to take sides in the war.  They speak out against both the rebels and the army, which then decides to stop protecting them.  At the end, most are marched off by a rebel group and they were eventually executed.  One escaped by hiding under his bed.  The story came from him.  It’s a beautiful film of courage, faith, and commitment and responding to violence with peace and love.  That’s why I found it so relevant and moving.


Top Ten of 2011

January 2, 2012

Last year, I kept a log of all my fim viewings at theaters, in classes, or on TV or dvd at home. My total for the year was 115. I’ve decided now to post my personal Top Ten for the year for the first time ever. My list is naturally limited to just the films I saw, but also includes anything I saw for the first time. Thus, films from the past can make the list. See what you think and offer your responses and lists if you’d like.

Tom Slater’sTop 10 for 2011:

1. Take Shelter.
2. J. Edgar
3 True Grit (Coen Bros., 2010)
4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Philip Kauffman, 1988).
5. L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
6. Disgrace (Jacobs, 2009)
7. From Morning to Midnight (1920)
8. The Descendants
9. The Trip
10. The Muppet Movie

What does this all add up to? I don’t know. I’m not going speculate on trends or what these titles say about me or my viewing. I’ll just say that while some critics talk about 2011 as an average year or whatever, I think there’s a lot of great artists putting a lot of dedicated effort into their work and I really enjoyed these films and many more. Ten titles is an arbitrary limit anyhow, but it works. There’s much more I wish I could’ve seen, and if anyone happens to look at this list and wonder about any titles not present, it could just be that I didn’t have a chance to see them. If you want to talk about any titles here or not here or offer your own list, please join the conversation so we can have some fun with this and get ready for seeing a lot in 2012.