Sunday Worship on Zoom

Faith Issues in Film Group

Our group meets at 7:00 pm, on the 3rd Tuesday, eight months a year*. We watch the chosen film on our own, and then gather over Zoom to discuss it; we’re very much like a book club in those aspects. Our meeting often includes an introductory worship portion and a time for sharing and prayers. We are always open to new members. For more information, please contact Ellen Forbes, Jeff Grinnell, or Shirley Eglington. The church office can provide you with their contact information.

Here is a schedule of the films we will discuss in 2020-21, followed by descriptions of the upcoming films:

Aug 15* Moonlight
Sept 15 The Two Popes
Oct 20 The Windemere Children
Nov 17 The Farewell
Jan 19 Blackkklansman
Feb 16 The Rider

*Denotes special meeting time of Saturday at 10:30am

NOTE: You can read our complete statement here, but in short, out of an abundance of caution and care for our congregation and the surrounding Palo Alto community, First Presbyterian Church will not be gathering in person until 2021 and all in-person church meetings and gatherings will be held online.

Directed by Barry Jenkins – 2016

Winner of three Academy awards, Moonlight takes a soulful look at three defining chapters of a young black man’s life in Miami. His journey to manhood is guided by the kindness of the community, but he’s also affected by abuse, bullying, and homophobia.
This film defies glib categorizing. Good and evil are closely intertwined. Where is God? This is truly an unforgettable drama that stays with you long after the viewing. Stars Maharshala Ali.

The Two Popes 
Directed by Fernando Meirelles – 2019

In a historic encounter, Pope Benedict XVI and his likely successor, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, come together to engage in a deep dialogue about the Catholic Church’s present and future, and to find a path forward for its followers.

Stars Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce.

The Windermere Children
Directed by Simon Bloch and Michael Samuels – 2020

This is a BBC production This documentary is set in postwar England at Lake Windemere, part of the Lake District near the border between England and Scotland.  It is a poignant survivor story about 350 orphaned children (of which 40 are girls) liberated in 1945 from the Nazi concentration camps and brought to participate in a special program designed to help them reassemble their lives. Here we become witnesses to the impact of their concentration experience upon them and their individual and collective struggles to emerge from the darkness of that hell. The uniqueness of this survivor story is that all survivors are children.  The only adult refugee in the documentary is the director of the program, Oscar Friedmann. who fled Germany in 1939. Friedmann was a pioneer in the field of child psychology. 

The Farewell
Directed and written by Lulu Wang – 2019

According to, “The Farewell announces at the beginning that it’s ‘based on an actual lie,’ but the meaningful truths it reveals couldn’t be more poignant or powerful. And while writer/director Lulu Wang’s film is obviously personal and culturally specific, it achieves a universality and a resonance through its vivid depiction of a family in the midst of crisis.

That crisis was actually Wang’s crisis: Her beloved grandmother was dying in China, and the family decided not to tell their matriarch to protect her and prevent her from living in fear throughout her remaining days. Instead, they planned a lavish wedding as an excuse to bring everyone together one last time. Wang explores cultural differences between East and West and between generations without judgment or pronouncement as to whose approach is best. It’s as if she wants to see all sides of the delicate argument with a kind heart and an open mind.“ 

Stars Awkwafina, who won a Golden Globe for best actress, and Shuzhen Zhao as her “Nai Nai”.

Directed by Spike Lee – 2018

This American biographical black comedy crime film is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. The film stars John David Washington as Stallworth, along with Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. Set in the 1970s in Colorado Springs, the plot follows the first African-American detective in the city’s police department as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. The film won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.

The Rider
Directed by Chloe Zhao – 2017

This is a story of pain and poetry, of universal human struggles of finding meaning and purpose in life. How a cowboy from SD and a filmmaker from Beijing came together on this indie film is an amazing story itself. After a tragic riding accident, young cowboy Brady, once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, is warned that his competition days are over. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for a new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. This film won the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and the Cannes Film Festival Art Cinema Award in May of 2017

Stars a cast of non-actors from the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Indian Reservation, in the Badlands of South Dakota.