Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997, Iran)

#92 in my list of the top 100 spiritually literate films is A Taste of Cherry. This film involves a heavy story about moral dilemmas. It is about a down and out man that quietly spends the day traveling the wastelands of an Iran countryside trying to find someone who will bury him after he … Continue reading Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997, Iran)

Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008, USA)

#93 in my list of the top 100 spiritually literate films is Doubt. In Doubt, Father Brendan Flynn tells us that “Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty. When you are lost, you are not alone.” This belief becomes the crux of this story's conflict when he gets questioned about his … Continue reading Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008, USA)

Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1975, Russia)

#94 in my list of the top 100 spiritually literate films is Dersu Uzala. A departure in style for Kurosawa, the story of Dersu Uzala is told through the eyes of a typographer named Captain Arseniev who is mapping a region of Siberia in the early 1900s. It is a true story which is based … Continue reading Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1975, Russia)

Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957, USA)

#95 in my list of the top 100 spiritually literate films is Paths of Glory. This is a film about moral boundaries, the nature of man, and justice. Paths of Glory is perhaps the most famous anti-war film that has ever been made and brings up many themes that Kubrick returns to in his later … Continue reading Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957, USA)

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007, Romania)

#96 in my list of the top 100 spiritually literate films is 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. This is a film that unabashedly confronts the brutality of abortion. It deals in silence, and shame, and torment with unbroken shots and low-key performances that detail an illegal black-market abortion and the devastating aftermath over … Continue reading 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007, Romania)

A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona, 2016, USA)

I first read the brilliant novel A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness almost two years ago. Immediately after finishing the last page I went to my son and told him that we were going to read it together. That night I began it again, reading it out loud to him. The novel so moved … Continue reading A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona, 2016, USA)

Grave of Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988, Japan)

#97 in my list of top 100 spiritually literate films is Grave of Fireflies. This is the heartbreaking anime story of two orphans left to survive on their own after air raids wipe out their town and kill their mother. The older brother is caring, protective, and selfless as he stops at nothing to give … Continue reading Grave of Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988, Japan)

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, USA, 2016)

"If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?" This line is at the heart of this film. It is the idea that haunts the screen from the very first images to the last scene and consumes the main character, Dr. Louise Banks. When alien spacecrafts have landed in … Continue reading Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, USA, 2016)

Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1948)

#98 in my top 100 spiritually literate films is Bicycle Thieves. This film is the pinnacle of Italian neo-realism. It is an unflinching look into the desperation of the poor and destitute. The story is stripped bare until there is only the understated essentials remaining. A father and son try to fix an injustice that … Continue reading Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1948)

Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957, Italy)

#99 in my top 100 spiritually literate films is Nights of Cabiria. This is the heartbreaking yet glorious story of a prostitute in search of redemption. A near death experience forces her to reconsider her life, and her question, "What if I had died?" begins a quest for purpose. Cabiria joins a group that is … Continue reading Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957, Italy)