Spotlighted for your Lenten benefit: my 2011 blog post “Into the Desert: Lent and Film,” including some general thoughts on fasting and ascesis and some recommendations for appropriate Lenten viewing. Appended is a response to a reader asking for Lenten viewing suggestions without subtitles for pre-reading children especially.
Note that among the last year’s crop of films are a number that would make excellent Lenten viewing (for older viewers, not children, alas). Above all, Of Gods and Men will join Into Great Silence on my short list of films I will never fail to watch at this time of year.
The Mill & the Cross, with its reenactment of the passion of Christ, would make excellent Lenten viewing for receptive adults.
It's also worth noting that The Way, named after and structured around the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James, was appropriately released on home video just this week, and would make worthwhile Lenten viewing.
My Lenten viewing suggestions prompted a reader to ask: “Would you consider supplementing an English-only list? I love the idea of a Lenten movie night, but I have several children under reading age, and my husband just dislikes reading his movies. LOL. I will have to carve out time on my own during the week to watch the intriguing foreign films you have included.”
Many Catholics observe Lent with a discipline of withdrawal, in whole or in part, from mass communications media: movies, television, Internet, radio, music, newspapers. This is an admirable discipline … I find it helpful to make a practice of spiritual viewing during Lent, just as many make a practice of spiritual reading. For those inclined to consider this practice, here are six film suggestions for the six weeks of Lent.
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