I just had the privilege of projecting Scenes from an empty church at Chattanooga Film Festival last weekend and I couldn’t stop thinking about it! It’s the kind of movie that comes in from time to time and doesn’t fit perfectly in a box; that special kind of movie that will keep the conversations going long after the lights are out.
I can’t express in a few words how wonderful this genre-adjacent gem is! This film explores the endless thoughts of spirituality and the human condition against the backdrop of an empty New York cathedral during the pandemic. It explores the themes of love, loss, forgiveness and the attempt to understand the soul. All in an honest, open and skeptical approach to belief and spirituality.
In a locked New York City, two priests open the doors of their church to those seeking salvation during the most isolated times. From the mundane to the truly metaphysical, their visitors reflect the full spectrum of personal crises of spirituality. As they meet the sweetest, craziest, and weirdest people in town, the two priests learn the importance of connection, empathy, and open-mindedness. Sometimes a little faith is all you need to get through a bad time.
From writer / director Onur Tukel (Cat fight) and featuring outstanding performances by Kevin Corrigan (Ray Donovan from TV, Lost Girls), Max Casella (Applesauce, Inside Llewyn Davis) and Thomas Jay Ryan (Equals, Fay Grim), Scenes from an empty church is a unique and timeless spotlight on the search for the meaning of life, told with the spirit and wisdom of Tukel.
I cannot recommend this movie highly enough! It will likely open your heart and mind regardless of your thoughts on religion and spirituality. Ultimately, we are only human and will always depend on each other to deliver us from the darker places.
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