An early draft of this review was originally published on September 14, 2023,
at Give Me Some Light on Substack, months before it appeared here.
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I first saw Three Colors: Blue in its original theatrical release way back in 1993.

I was impressed by Krzysztof Kieślowski’s follow-up to the magnificent The Double Life of Veronique. In fact, I was moved.

I had no idea that, thirty years later, it would be one of two films that I would name when asked “What’s your favorite film of all time?”

Divine intervention? Julie (Juliette Binoche) is visited by the relentlessly intrusive muse in Three Colors: Blue.

Art takes time. Our relationships with works of art grows and changes over time. And Three Colors: Blue engages questions about art, faith, love, and the meaning of life in ways that no other film I’ve ever seen does.

I’ve talked about my love for this film for years, and written about it on numerous occasions — for my own website (LookingCloser.org), for Image, and elsewhere.

And yet, when I was invited to write a substantial study of a film that has demonstrated great “spiritual significance,” I jumped at the chance to write about Blue again. This time, I couldn’t stop writing. I ended up with an essay one adjective shy of 10,000 words.

Julie (Juilette Binoche) traces a symphonic expression of 1 Corinthians 13 in Three Colors: Blue.

It’s called “To Love and Be Loved in Return: 30 Years of Discovering Kieślowski’s Blue.”

It is now published in a volume that includes work by some of my favorite writers on the intersection of faith and film — including Steven D. Greydanus and Evan Cogswell, to name only two. And the book was edited by Kenneth Morefield. These three and other contributors to the book have long been a part of an online community of cinephiles who are also people of faith. The discussion board ArtsandFaith.com eventually developed 20 years of archived conversations, open to the public, focused on countless films, albums, books, and other varieties of art. Alas, that extraordinary body of work, which had been hosted by the literary arts journal Image, was closed down and erased a few years ago. We lost a documented history of how the dialogue on faith and art had grown and changed over decades.

But this book represents an important historical artifact. The Arts & Faith Top 100 was a list of “the most spiritually significant films” ever made, and it was voted on and re-voted on, revised every few years, so that we had a variety of published lists. We also voted on and published variations on the list, such as “The Top 25 Divine Comedies” and “The Top 25 Films on Mercy” — comedies that directly address spiritual questions and concepts.

Now, Cambridge Scholars Publishing has published Film as an Expression of SpiritualityThe Arts and Faith Top 100 Films.

It’s a book that includes a variety of essays on some of the films included in that list. (The working title of the project was The Soul of Cinema: The Arts and Faith Top 100 Films, but the publisher scratched that title and came up with the final version. I actually prefer the original title.)

Many thanks to editor Kenneth R. Morefield for his long-suffering dedication to the project.

The book includes close examinations of so many profoundly inspiring films, including Dreyer’s Ordet, Scorsese’s Silence, Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Antonioni’s L’Avventura, Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Joffé’s The Mission, Weir’s Witness, Axel’s Babette’s Feast, Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger, Hausner’s Lourdes, Schrader’s First Reformed, and more.

You can order a copy here.