POSTED May 16 2013

All Saint’s Day at the movies

Though I like to joke that my favorite movie saint is Eva Marie Saint, I am intrigued by tonight’s program on Turner Classic Movies, lives of the saints led off by The Big Fisherman (1959), the life of St. Peter (Howard Keel!)  directed by Frank Borzage.

Luis Bunuel's "Simon of the Desert"

Luis Bunuel’s “Simon of the Desert”

Because of optical effects and editing, the movies naturally lend themselves to stories of saints: Miracles can be rendered realistically. Still, my favorite movie saints — Luis Bunuel’s Simon of the Desert (1965), Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1973, with music by Donovan!), Alain Cavalier’s lovely Therese (1986) — are not depicted as miracle workers, but as brimming vessels of faith.

One underknown film that does explore saints and the miraculous is Agnieszska Holland’s The Third Miracle (1999). This extraordinarily involving story of a priest (Ed Harris) assigned to the beatification beat, show his encounter with a statue of the Virgin weeping blood, perhaps the work of a working-class woman considered for sainthood. It made me believe in miracles.

Your favorite movie saints?


  1. ratzkywatzky says:

    Lili Taylor in Household Saints! Close second, Alain Cavalier’s Therese.

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