Spiritual values in Oscar films?

By MSGR. JOHN MYLER
Culture Columnist

Ten films have been nominated for the Academy Ward as ”Best Picture” – dramas, comedies, a musical, even an action movie or two … but do any of them contain a spiritual element?

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, based on Erich Maria Remarque’s classic World War I novel, is a German film – excellently depicting the horrors of war in the trenches and near certain death there. Yet, a small hope – “the motif of the inextinguishable spark of life” – runs through it. (Rated R for violence and grisly images.)

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, from British-Irish writer/director Martin McDonough, is a well-acted but very dark comedy about easy friendship in “nice” Irish village. But when friendship is rejected, the niceness disappears from the place, and human savagery boils up to replace it. (Rated R for language and violence, and brief nudity.)

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is a wildly kinetic fantasy about a Mrs. Evelyn Wang, a Chinese immigrant who runs a laundry. In both financial and familial trouble, she suddenly finds herself in an ”alternate universe” – and becomes a super-hero of sorts who must save the world. (Rated R for some violence, sexual material and language.)

THE FABELMANS, written and directed by Steven Spielberg, is the personal movie he’s “always wanted to make.” A boy discovers the lure of film-making – focusing at first on his Jewish family: light-hearted and funny, but then broken and betrayed. Growing up, he chronicles their joys and sorrows. (Rated PG-13 for some strong language, brief violence and drug use.)

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, a broadly comic social satire from a modern Swedish director, follows an elite group of wealthy guests on a luxury cruise. But storms overtake the ship, and passengers and crew get stranded on a deserted island – where the power that comes from money and prestige gets upended. (Rated R for language and some sexual content.)

(In the next Messenger, a quick look at the other five movies nominated for “Best Picture”.)

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