Everyone loves a good story. The problem is that storytelling, like any branch of art, can sometimes be a double edged sword that can make us either better or worse.
The factors that determine the power of art to do either improve or deteriorate an audience are many, acting simultaneously on the mind, body and soul of an audience. On one level, art acts on the sensual domain of sound and/or sight which serve as gateways to the soul, while on another level, also acts on our emotions, either awakening or numbing our higher sentiments (which includes, but is not limited to, a love for humanity, Justice, God, Truth, Goodness and Beauty). Lastly, art also acts on the intellect, bringing us into greater or lesser degrees of understanding of fundamental truths of being, history, and our future potential.
What makes this medium most powerful is that by acting on all three levels (opposed to an academic essay, lecture, or encyclopedia-entry which all rely on merely intellect), art has the power to bypass the sentinels of logic and strike our deeper chords of being, sometimes without our even realizing what is occuring. And again, this can be done in such a manner as to ennoble or corrupt us.
In this new feature on the Rising Tide Foundation, Cynthia and I have assembled a wide array of films for your viewing pleasure.
The standard we used to judge which films would make the cut and which would not were premised on those considerations outlined above: Each film, to varying degrees had to positively affect all three levels of intellect, senses and sensual instincts in such a manner that they ennobled us IN VARYING DEGREES. Some might ennoble more and others less, but all had to achieve all three to make the list. Besides some limited instances, films that were didactic or moralizing were not included as we believe in the principle that “no man must must” meaning that art must always strive to harmonize our desires and passions with our intellect and sense of duty in a lawful and free manner. In this manner, as the poet Friedrich Schiller outlined in his Theater Considered as a Moral Institution, the films featured on this page might have the effect of shaping free and sovereign citizens capable of acting through wisdom in defense of personal freedoms and the Common Good simultaneously.
With only one exception made for the work of Frank Capra, we refrained from including documentaries.
Where possible, we linked the film to a free version available online. Where a free version could not be found, we linked to a paid/rental option which can be viewed for $4-$9. There is no fixed ordering to the film selection, although sometimes they are grouped according to a great director, or style, and new films will be added to the list as time goes on.