2 items from 2017
Like a prodigal son, Hollywood is again returning to religion.
Since the 1980s, Hollywood has been criticized (with justification) for depicting any religious believer as mindless, evil or both. Filmmakers this year treat them with respect.
“Silence” and “Hacksaw Ridge” daringly center around devout Christians. Religious beliefs have a positive effect on the lead characters in other 2016 films, including “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Jackie,” “Mr. Church,” even “The Conjuring 2.”
Studios have their own belief system, and it’s based on recent hits. Hollywood loves stories about an individual whose principles are challenged, but usually the protagonist is a superhero, cop or animated creature.
“Silence” depicts the culture clash of Western Christians with Japanese. The long legacy of the “white savior” is turned upside down, and the film raises issues of faith, doubt, personal integrity, and the fine line between belief and stubborn pride. To its credit, “Silence” raises questions that audience members must answer. »
- Tim Gray
‘Toni Erdmann’ (Courtesy: Tiff)
By: Carson Blackwelder
It’s not too often that foreign-language films get recognized for anything at the Oscars beyond the best foreign-language film category — but it does happen. And, believe it or not, it happens more for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay than many other categories. A prime example of that is Toni Erdmann, Germany’s submission this year that is proving to be a cross-category threat, which could score a nomination — or a win — for its writing.
The story of Toni Erdmann — which has a solid Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% — follows a father who is trying to reconnect with his adult daughter after the death of his dog. It sounds simple enough but, of course, the two couldn’t be more unalike. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 and where it won the Fipresci Prize. Since then, it »
- Carson Blackwelder
2 items from 2017
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