Announcing the 2010 Arts & Faith Top 100 Films

Image Journal has just announced the 2010 Arts & Faith Top 100 Films. The list highlights the top films — as voted on by members of the Arts & Faith community — that explore spiritual matters in an artistically excellent manner (to put it simply). As such, the list contains some rather obvious titles (The Word, The Seventh Seal, The Apostle) as well as some not so obvious ones (Killer of Sheep, Punch-Drunk Love, Breaking the Waves).

Additionally, Jeffrey Overstreet has published a companion article — Eight Questions about The Arts and Faith Top 100 Films — that discusses the purpose and genesis of the list.

Christian media have in recent years tended to celebrated art and entertainment for its “evangelical potential.” In other words, many Christians have become so concerned about the usefulness of art as a tool of ministry and evangelism, they’ve forgotten — or never known in the first place — what art really is, and how it works.

As a result, “Christian art” has become more and more didactic and simplistic. Its messages are easily paraphrased. No wonder the rest of the world dismisses it so easily.

Who can blame them? People turn to art for an imaginative experience, not a lesson or a sales pitch.

It is also worth noting that the conversation about art, especially in America, has narrowed considerably. Most American moviegoers — Christian or otherwise — are familiar only with what is contemporary, commercial, and American. They lack an education in film history, and are largely ignorant of independent and foreign cinema.

The list was developed by film enthusiasts who are as passionate about film history as they are about international artistry. Nine of the group’s top 100 come from the 1950s. And the two most popular directors are a Swede and a Russian.

Additional information and discussion about the list can be found here.