Being There (1979)Peter Sellers
was Oscar-nominated for what he considered his finest film, Being There
. In Hal Ashbys
masterpiece he plays Chance, a simple-minded elderly gardener whose employers death forces him out of his life-long home. Coming into contact with dying billionaire Mervyn Douglas, his childlike comments lead him to advise the president and other people of influence. The film explores the idea of the world not recognising Christ when He was in plain sight, being simultaneously an anti-religious satire and a celebration of childlike faith and hope.
Black Narcissus (1947)
The second Powell and Pressburger entry on this list as a psychological thriller about nuns, and one of the main influences on Darren Aronofskys lovably bonkers Black Swan. The film explores religious devotion and faith through the language of sexual repression, with Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr
) having to resist both the amorous advances of Mr. Dean and the increasingly insane wantonness of the corrupted Sister Ruth. Its a fascinating retelling of the Garden of Eden, which implies that temptation is caused as much by pride or perception as it is by external threat.
Blade Runner (1982)
Although Ridley Scotts
masterpiece is most prominently about what it means to be human, its approach to this is bound up in Christian notions of morality, sacrifice and love conquering all. The debate over whether or not Deckard as a replicant as secondary to the films main message because, in the end, it is impossible to divide people, the only emotion that can prevail is pure, unconditional love. The tears in rain speech, famously improvised by Rutger Hauer
, is a confession of Mans humble place in the universe, and with it a desire to reach the heavens that lie beyond.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
The Christian elements of Tim Burtons
superior version of Roald Dahls classic tale lie in one of its most controversial creative decisions. The themes about materialism and excess are there in plain sight, as are the deification of Wonka as the man who can create absolutely anything. But beneath all that we have the scenes between Wonka and his dentist father (Sir Christopher Lee
), which are an interesting retelling of the prodigal son.
Like A Clockwork Orange before it, Cronos
is mainly concerned with the failures of the church rather than the faith it claims to uphold. Guillermo del Toros
chilling debut contains many striking images of the threat posed to organised religion by the vampiric device the most striking being a cockroach crawling out through the eye of a statue of an angel. The film retunes the idea of vampirism as a defiance of God by demonstrating the weakness of the flesh: Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi
) recites the Lords Prayer while allowing the device to bite him a second time.