Weekly Video Picks

Joseph: King of Dreams(2000)

Sequels are sometimes a good thing. After Dreamworks' success with The Prince of Egypt, which told the story of Moses, the studio has once again combined state-of-the-art hand-drawn and computer animation with Broadway-like show tunes to create a reverent biblical epic. Joseph: King of Dreams is a funny, moving chronicle of Jacob's favorite son and his travails in Egypt. It will please children and adults alike.

Most of the movie sticks to the original Genesis account, with a few changes that fill in the blanks and don't detract from the overall message. It cleverly establishes how the resentment of Joseph's brothers led to their selling him into slavery. The theme is God's omnipotence, his plan for each of our lives and the need to trust him in dark times.

Andrei Rublev (1966)

The religious icons produced by the monks of the Russian Orthodox faith are sublime. Andrei Rublev, one of the Vatican's top 45 films, is an imaginative presentation of their creative process.Director Andrei Tarkovsky (The Sacrifice) uses an episodic structure to narrate the life of 15th-century icon painter Andrei Rublev (Anatoli Solo-nitzine). Each incident illustrates a different problem inherent in Andrei's vocation or an aspect of the era's social and political culture, including bizarre pagan rites, state-sanctioned religious persecution and ethnic rivalry.

Even though artistic freedom is severely limited, everyone believes in God and continually looks for signs of his handiwork in their daily lives. Our contemporary religious practices and beliefs may be less severe, but they seem lukewarm by comparison. “Only by prayer can the soul transcend the flesh,” says Andrei in describing his approach to life and art.

— John Prizer