Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Atheist Movie Recommendations (1)

You say you are a freethinking secularist who just hates some of the movies you rent because they end up representing some of the trash that you so much hate in life? Maybe I can help you out.

I’m not much of a review writer and I probably won’t concentrate highly on the movie commentary. What I’ll try to do instead is tell you about a movie that I found appealing due to a combination of it’s quality and it’s message, and that it accomplished it without expecting you to “dip in to the woo” (as a friend has put it) or in crediting religion for the successes of the protagonists.

So these won’t be so much movies “about” atheism as they are movies that simply represent the spirit of reality. Don’t get me wrong, if I happen on any great movies that are about atheism, I’ll be happy to recommend them.

I’ll warn you that if you don’t like foreign films, you might as well click on the next blog at this time. My first recommendation is a Brazilian movie and many of the better movies I see are foreign films. American movie making (indies aside) tend to try mass market appeal, with gratuitous sex, violence, stupidity, improbability and woo galore. Naturally, this is a generalization, and I have some good American films to offer as well.

Central Station (1998)

(Central do Brasil)

Sub-titles in English

Netflix Synopsis

Dora (Fernanda Montenegro), who writes letters for illiterate people at Rio de Janeiro's central railroad station, feels compelled to help 9-year-old Josué (Vinicius De Oliveira) locate his estranged father after the child's mother dies in a car accident. As Dora and the boy bond during their journey to Brazil's remote Northeast region, the interplay between them is delightful to watch.

From E.M.

Two people, at opposite ends of life, unite and find new meaning and purpose. As the tale of their desperation moves forward, it would be easy for them to fall victim to the religiosity that they are surrounded by in the poor and ignorant Brazilian countryside. It would have been a convenient route of escape from their immense problems. Many people “come to Christ” at their moment of deepest despair. Dora and Josue, all odds against them, never for a moment turn to superstition to “solve” their problems.


Please remember to come back later and comment, if you decide to watch this movie or any of the others I'll be recommending. After I have a few, I'll put an Atheist Movie link up on the sidebar.


C. L. Hanson said...

I haven't seen the film you mention here. However, if you're doing a series on atheist movie recommendations, I know of one that I think should be on the list: Happy Feet.

John Evo said...

c.l. - I've watched bits and pieces the movie and keep telling myself I should sit down and watch it. Plus my daughter tells me it's great! Your review seems to confirm that.

Like you, I've had many occasions for watching Disney and Pixar movies - over and over. In my case it was the 80's and 90's. I have to say that I kind of understand why religious leaders have usually spoken out against such movies - given their sensibilities. Most of them have some fairly good secular messages of inclusion. That's damnable, right?

Daniel Paul Cadis said...

I have a suggestion for Atheist Movie Recommendations: WALL-E. I don't know how many of you have taken the time to watch it, but the political message and lack of spiritual message makes this movie one of the best Pixar has created.

John Evo said...

I'm going to encourage everyone to leave their favorite atheist movies here in the comments. Feel free to extend the comment to a mini-review or link to one you've already written, like c.l. did.

PhillyChief said...

Happy Feet is an excellent suggestion.
I'd also say 300 is as well, and not just because they have "A"s on their shields. Consider the ignorance and corruption of the priests of the Oracle and how Leonides chose action in light of reality over blind obedience to religious dogma and tradition (he wasn't supposed to go to war during the religious festival).
Chocolat was great, too.
Contact would qualify, although I wasn't too crazy about the movie.
Saved is hilarious
The Handmaid's Tale was scary.
Life of Brian and maybe even The Meaning of Life from Monty Python should count.
History of the World Part 1 might as well. The Inquisition dance number alone should qualify it.
The Black Robe was good. The ending is real punch in the stomach to religion, imo.
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Inherit the Wind of course should be on the list.
Maybe that Star Trek movie with Spock's brother?

I'm sure there are plenty more.

John Evo said...

Well, thanks a BUNCH, Philly. Now I can just discontinue this feature! :)

I have The Handmaid's Tale sitting in front of my TV right now. I will watch it on the weekend. I have Chocolat in my Netflix queue. I've seen most of the others, but I'll take your recommendations on Black Robe, Saved, and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.