107 episodes

Discussions of great movies from a Catholic perspective, exploring the Vatican film list and beyond. Hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and actor James T. Majewski, with special guests.

Vatican film list episodes are labeled as Season 1.

A production of CatholicCulture.org.

Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast CatholicCulture.org

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.6 • 37 Ratings

Discussions of great movies from a Catholic perspective, exploring the Vatican film list and beyond. Hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and actor James T. Majewski, with special guests.

Vatican film list episodes are labeled as Season 1.

A production of CatholicCulture.org.

    Wildcat does justice to Flannery O'Connor's faith (w/ Joshua Hren)

    Wildcat does justice to Flannery O'Connor's faith (w/ Joshua Hren)

    Joshua Hren, editor-in-chief of Wiseblood Books, joins the podcast to review Wildcat, the new Flannery O'Connor biopic directed by Ethan Hawke and starring Maya Hawke and Laura Linney.
    The film is a respectful and nuanced portrayal of O'Connor and her faith, accomplished by extensive quotation from her prayer journal and letters, as well as several interludes depicting her short stories (which keeps the film from feeling like a formulaic biopic).
    Wildcat's portrayal of the relationship between artistic ambition and faith is deeply relevant to Catholic artists. It should inspire them to find creative ways of dealing with the pressures that would subvert their God-given gifts, whether those pressures come from other Catholics, family, or the art world.
    Links
    List of places where you can see Wildcat (scroll down) https://wildcat.oscilloscope.net/
    Wiseblood Books https://www.wisebloodbooks.com/
    Catholic MFA program at the University of St. Thomas https://www.stthom.edu/Academics/School-of-Arts-and-Sciences/Division-of-Liberal-Studies/Graduate/Master-of-Fine-Arts-in-Creative-Writing
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    Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Malick’s humble camera: The New World (2005)

    Malick’s humble camera: The New World (2005)

    The Criteria crew continue their journey through the works of today's most significant Christian filmmaker, Terrence Malick. The New World is an underrated masterpiece about Pocahontas and the founding of Jamestown in 1607. Starring the 14-year-old Q'orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas, Colin Farrell as John Smith, and Christian Bale as John Rolfe, Malick's retelling of the story remarkably combines realism and historical accuracy with poetry and romance, as all three protagonists explore not just one but multiple new worlds, geographical and interior.
    With The New World, Malick definitively entered a new stage in his career, particularly in his unforgettable collaboration with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. The result is an aesthetic that is humble and receptive rather than magisterial. Rather than dominating reality, the camera seems to enter into it, so that we can contemplate something the camera cannot exhaust.
    James, Thomas, and Nathan discuss Malick's style extensively in this episode, and make the case for why Catholics studying or making art should not focus only on "themes" to the neglect of form, because style itself conveys a vision of reality.
    Note: make sure you watch the extended cut or the 150-minute "first cut", not the theatrical cut.
    This film contains brief ethnographic nudity.
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    Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com

    • 1 hr 51 min
    A study of pastoral prudence: Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

    A study of pastoral prudence: Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

    In occupied France during World War II, a Communist woman named Barny (Emmanuelle Riva) enters a confessional for the first time since her first Communion. She is there not to confess but to troll the priest by saying “Religion is the opiate of the people.” To her surprise, Fr. Léon Morin (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is not thrown off balance, but offers a compelling response to each of her critiques of Catholicism. Barny starts to see Fr. Morin regularly for a mix of intellectual tête-à-tête and spiritual counsel, and is gradually drawn back to the Church—but mixed in with her spiritual attraction to the Church is a romantic attraction to the man.
    This, combined with subplots about the experience of wartime France, is the premise of the 1961 film Léon Morin, Priest, and it may on first summary sound like the sort of sensational and irreverent story no Catholic wants to touch with a ten-foot pole. But Fr. Morin does not break his vows. Instead, this is one of the best priest movies ever made, a realistic, tasteful (and not excessively cringe-inducing) treatment of a real problem that arises in priestly life. From the priest’s point of view, it’s a thought-provoking study of pastoral prudence; from the female protagonist’s point of view, it deals with the necessity of gradually purifying one’s motives in the course of conversion
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    Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Studies of ambition: All About Eve, The Bad and the Beautiful

    Studies of ambition: All About Eve, The Bad and the Beautiful

    Thomas and James discuss two classic Hollywood films dealing with the moral problems of overweening ambition - specifically in the context of show business. All About Eve (1950), which won six Oscars and features razor-sharp dialogue and an unforgettable performance by Bette Davis, is set in the world of the theater, while The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) is a (perhaps more honest) self-examination of Hollywood itself. The latter contains the more perceptive observations of artistic genius and its operations, which tend to subordinate everything to the work to be done. More broadly, it's a study of leadership, in both its positive and its more self-serving forms.
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    Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Metaphysical Malick: The Thin Red Line (1998)

    Metaphysical Malick: The Thin Red Line (1998)

    Continuing our trek through the filmography of Terrence Malick, the world's greatest living Christian filmmaker, we arrive at The Thin Red Line (featuring Jim Caviezel in his breakthrough role). This film came in 1998 after Malick's twenty-year hiatus from directing movies, after which he never took such a long break again.
    Focused on the experiences of U.S. soldiers during the battle for Guadalcanal during World War II, The Thin Red Line is remarkable in that it features all the poetry, interiority, and dreamy aesthetics we have come to expect from Malick, while still being, in Nathan Douglas's words, "a fully functioning war movie" - conveying the physical chaos as well as the psychological sufferings and moral challenges of war - challenges of leadership, sacrifice, compassion for one's enemies, and how to meet one's death with calm and dignity.
    The Thin Red Line is arguably Malick's first masterpiece - and his first film focused on metaphysical themes, or as James Majewski says, a "preamble" to the more explicit Christian faith found in his later work, using voiceover extensively to ask questions about the origins of good and evil, the unity of human experience, and most of all, how one can maintain faith in the transcendent in the midst of evil, ugliness and disorder.
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    Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com

    • 1 hr 35 min
    Kiarostami: blurring the line between documentary and fiction

    Kiarostami: blurring the line between documentary and fiction

    There are many ways to make a movie. Only a few of those ways fit within the Hollywood mold. We believe that rather than taking pop culture as their sole model, Catholics and Catholic filmmakers should be open to a wide variety of artistic approaches. Thus, in this episode James and Thomas discuss the early career of the great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who came up with an approach to filmmaking that is not just different from Hollywood, but different from anyone else in world cinema.
    Kiarostami spent the first two decades of his career working for the Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran, making a plethora of fascinating movies either for or about children (fiction, documentary, and educational). In addition to exploring his concerns with childhood and education, he developed a great ability to direct non-professional actors and this allowed him to blur the line between documentary and fiction in his later films - or, perhaps, just to be honest about how human behavior is affected by the presence of a camera, even in a documentary setting.
    If you only watch one of the films discussed in this episode, you might pick his 1987 feature Where Is the Friend’s Home?, an beautifully simple story about childhood, friendship and conscience. Through its patient attention to detail, this film allows us to rediscover a child’s-eye perspective on the world.
    Where Is the Friend’s Home? is the first in a sort of trilogy of films Kiarostami shot in the region of Koker in northern Iran. That first installment, while one of his best works, is not actually typical of the unique style he developed soon after, which can be seen even within the trilogy itself. The simplicity of the first story is succeeded by two films that take on multiple perspectives and blur the line between fiction and real life. In a word, things get meta.
    In the second film, …And Life Goes On, the director of the first film (played by an actor, not the real director) and his young son search for the two boys who acted in the first film, after the Koker region was devastated by a real-life earthquake that killed 50,000 people. Investigating real-life events through a fictional road trip, we get a new perspective on the simple fictional perspective of the first movie.
    The third film, Through the Olive Trees, gets very complex (but in a most entertaining way). While shooting a scene in the second film, Kiarostami noticed some tension between the two young actors playing a married couple. So he invented a love story about these two actors, and the third film is about this story that takes place while that scene from the second film was being shot. Shot, we should add, by a director who is directing scenes involving the character of the “director” from the 2nd film – so we have two different actors playing directors, both of which represent the real director, Kiarostami. As avant-garde as this sounds, it’s a highly entertaining story that never could have been done as well by a director hewing to commercial instincts.
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    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

House of Wolves 86 ,

A rare gem.

Man, I’m not the type to lend an ear to ANY podcast or show where people that aren’t my friends and I are discussing art of any kind, but I found this show from an accidental Google search for Andrei Tarkovsky and I'm grateful to God for guiding me towards this show! These two are intelligent and as a Catholic man myself, I'm very happy that the bias overall is in favor of our Lord and I appreciate lens being adjusted for those of us whom love film and our Blessed Lord. I really wish more of secular society would be introduced to the profundity and unrivaled artistic brilliance of the Catholic faith like this show exudes. I love these dudes and will binge-listen all episodes starting tonight. God Bless you guys!

strange vice ,

Do these guys even like movies?

They defend the confederacy more than they defend even slightly challenging scenes/ directors. One of the hosts always watches these with groups of friends and laughs through the entirety? Very weird for a film podcast. The guests are always excellent, but they often end up in the role of informing the hosts what they missed, or why these films are important in both the Catholic canon and film history in general. I keep listening though, so I’ll give them 4 stars

meadi8r ,

Martin Scorsese’s Silence

Love the podcast! Would love for you guys to cover Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” with Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver

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