Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Suggest some great films with an atheist, agnostic or secular connection
January 11, 2010 2:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm in search of suggestions for films which would interest an audience of atheists, agnostics, and secularists.

I'm trying to arrange a movie night for a university group of atheists, agnostics and secularists, and am looking for an entertaining film which connects with some of these topics.

For example my list already contains:
  • Monty Python's "The Life of Brian"
  • Bill Maher's "Religulous"
  • The Profit
  • Marjoe
  • ...
posted by larkery to Religion & Philosophy (36 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Monty Pythons The Meaning of Life
The God Who Wasn't There is lots of fun
posted by dancestoblue at 3:20 AM on January 11, 2010


Check out the work of Luis Bunuel, the following titles in particular:
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:24 AM on January 11, 2010


Oh, also The Golden Age (L'Age d'Or) has a strong anti-clerical theme, and is a surrealist masterpiece to boot. It caused quite a scandal in Paris in the thirties, complete with excommunications and the like, but might be too heavy viewing for a casual audience.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:29 AM on January 11, 2010


2001 - Man is 'created' (or 'uplifted' to borrow the sci-fi term) due to the intervention of an alien race.
posted by PenDevil at 3:33 AM on January 11, 2010


My favourite double feature in this genre is Jesus Camp with Hell House.
posted by kristin at 3:42 AM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you have room for a short animated film somewhere in the plan, consider Hertzfeldt's 12-minute The Meaning of Life highly recommended.
posted by churl at 3:57 AM on January 11, 2010


The Sacrifice
posted by rhizome at 4:04 AM on January 11, 2010


Not really a movie, rather a show, but still excellent: Tim Minchin: So Live .
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is a bit of a wildcard, but at great movie. It's worth watching for the scene where Dustin Hoffman questions Milla Jovovich's reasoning, a great example of socratian dialogue.
posted by Thug at 4:22 AM on January 11, 2010


I recommend Goya's Ghosts, starring Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman. I won't give much away, but Goya (the painter) becomes involved with the Spanish Inquisition when his muse is arrested by the church for heresy.
posted by jonesor at 4:45 AM on January 11, 2010


I fit in the description of the audience and I enjoyed My night at Maud's and Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors. As intelligent discussion starters.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 4:45 AM on January 11, 2010


How about Elmer Gantry?
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:52 AM on January 11, 2010


My Dinner with Andre
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:55 AM on January 11, 2010


I haven't marked a best answer because these are all excellent, thanks. Do keep 'em coming.
posted by larkery at 5:03 AM on January 11, 2010


You might browse this list of the Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films from artsandfaith.com.
posted by bookish at 5:17 AM on January 11, 2010


This is lighter than some of the other suggestions here, but the recent Ricky Gervais movie The Invention of Lying was fun and could be a good fit. He lives in a world where nobody says anything untrue, and so religion does not exist. He suddenly gains the ability to lie, and tells a story about a heaven-like place to his dying mother. The story quickly spreads from hospital workers to the entire community, and he must invent an entire belief system to address their many questions.
It's not a great movie, just an ok one, but it has some very funny moments, and the question it asks about religion (is something untrue valuable anyway if it makes people's lives better?) is an interesting one.
posted by naoko at 5:38 AM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Frailty
posted by Human Flesh at 5:45 AM on January 11, 2010


Anything by Almodovar is highly irreverent to Catholics. I just saw his earlier Bad Habits the other night and it was so bizarre, I lmao.
posted by JJ86 at 6:05 AM on January 11, 2010


Mike Leigh's Naked
posted by bunny hugger at 6:24 AM on January 11, 2010


Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying" had a surprising take on religion, to be sure.
posted by GamblingBlues at 6:24 AM on January 11, 2010


Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:43 AM on January 11, 2010


Harold & Maude or Shortbus
posted by hworth at 6:56 AM on January 11, 2010


Antonia.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:57 AM on January 11, 2010


A Brief History of Disbelief I think its on google video.
posted by nooneyouknow at 7:05 AM on January 11, 2010


Films I and V of the Decalogue.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:15 AM on January 11, 2010


Black Robe.
posted by keener_sounds at 7:30 AM on January 11, 2010


At Play in the Fields of the Load
posted by bdc34 at 7:35 AM on January 11, 2010


Contact
posted by Midnight Rambler at 8:00 AM on January 11, 2010


The End of the Affair
posted by cali59 at 8:09 AM on January 11, 2010


Toy Story?
posted by echo target at 9:08 AM on January 11, 2010


The Golden Compass, although it wasn't as good as the book and toned down the anti-clerical message.
posted by matildaben at 9:15 AM on January 11, 2010


How about Dogma?
posted by vytae at 9:47 AM on January 11, 2010


Tarkovsky's Stalker and Solaris.
posted by susanvance at 9:59 AM on January 11, 2010


Being There is always good for a discussion, especially one about how people validate their own beliefs.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:59 AM on January 11, 2010


For a bit of comedy - Saved!
posted by Sophie1 at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2010


The Seventh Seal
posted by erikgrande at 11:35 AM on January 11, 2010


Thanks everyone, these were all great. Enough suggestions to run a whole season of movie nights!
posted by larkery at 3:18 AM on February 11, 2010


« Older I have a dual monitor set up--...   |  Since I was a teenager I have ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.