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100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit!
The words of St. Anselm of Canterbury's principle is the heading for this review. It means "God could do it, it was appropriate, therefore he did it". A defense taken by Blessed Duns Scotus.And this line is from the movie itself.

This film has got to be one of the most intense movies made about the lives of the saints.....not so much about his life but his...
Published on October 28, 2011 by ServusDei

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This movie was full of piety and poor on the development of this man as a person of holiness. He was a significant theologian from the Middle Ages. It centered itself on the single effort of debating the theological point of the Immaculate Conception and very little on his struggle to find holiness. Some effort was made at the start of the movie when he refused to...
Published on December 3, 2012 by Michael W. Whitman


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100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit!, October 28, 2011
This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
The words of St. Anselm of Canterbury's principle is the heading for this review. It means "God could do it, it was appropriate, therefore he did it". A defense taken by Blessed Duns Scotus.And this line is from the movie itself.

This film has got to be one of the most intense movies made about the lives of the saints.....not so much about his life but his teachings and convictions.
Blessed Duns Scotus was one of the most prolific theologians of the middle ages and for his works he was given the title 'Doctor Subtilis'(literally means the Subtle Doctor) for his deep thoughts and the eloquent manner in which he presented them. He is most renowned for making a very public defense on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, taking on even the thoughts and teachings of that great Doctor of the Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas.

The Immaculate Conception was actually a hotly debated topic and it had its supporters and detractors. Even the greatest devotee of the Virgin Mary, St. Bernard of Clairvaux belonged to the latter group. Hence we get a picture of a man with lots of guts who was willing to debate the teachings of the great philosophers and theologians of all time.
His motivation? A love for truth and study united with the Crucified Christ and a great love for the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary and charity for neighbor.To paraphrase a part of the dialogue from the film, Blessed Scotus admonishes his protege, William, that study, without being united to the Crucified Christ is not worth anything, and could lead to ruin... but united with Him is true Wisdom and Peace. FANTASTIC!!!!!
Eventually his teaching would form the basis of the declaration of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception that was proclaimed in 1854.

All this is magnificently portrayed in this film.Along with the most beautiful backdrops of ancient monasteries and rolling fields, and mixed in with deep provoking thoughts on Christian teaching. Truly, the viewer feels like a student transported to that time, witnessing the lectures and the intellectual debates that abound in this film and would deeply benefit from the sagacity of the dialogue. But be forewarned.....the main aspect of this film lies in the teachings (dialogue), hence one must watch this film with rapt attention. Even missing one line would seem like losing a treasure trove. It is very profound, so there might be some who just might find this film dull.

The running time for this movie is 90 minutes in Italian with English and Spanish subtitles. The only special feature is a trailer for the movie.

As with all movies from Ignatius press this DVD comes with a booklet, albeit a rather thin one of 8 pages but with great stills from the film. Its contents are as follows:
1)About the film.
2)Comments from the Director
3)The life and thoughts of Blessed Duns Scotus
4)Theology of Scotus
5)The Immaculate Conception
6)Praise of Scotus by Pope Benedict XVI
7)Scene Selections

A big part of this film was shot in a monastery so it appears a bit dark. However it creates the necessary ambiance to appreciate the times and the place.
It is noteworthy that this film won 2 awards at the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival, for Best Film and Best Actor.(OK,OK....so its not the Oscars.....!).

This movie was also the official film for World Youth Day 2011, that was held in Madrid, Spain.

To conclude, if you are devoted to the Blessed Mother or if you are just a religious movie junkie like me,.....this movie is definitely worth a buy!

As an end note, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the USA. Hence it will serve as an aid to meditation, especially as her feast day is the 8th of December, which this year falls next Thursday.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why, oh, Why? Romance? Why?!, December 30, 2011
This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
For those who don't know, Duns Scotus was a Franciscan theologian, who argued for the immaculate conception of Mary; eventually overcoming the intellectual difficulties which had once prevented even Saint Thomas Aquinas from acknowledging the notion. This eventually became a doctrine of the Catholic Church; an everlasting testament to the success of this great man.

However, historically, Scotus is know primarily for his accomplishments in theology. Little is known about his friends, his feelings, his motives (apart from holiness,) and so forth. Because of this, I was expecting a rather dry movie about theological truths, but at the very least, something different from the norm.

However, what I got instead was a sort of midway point between what I was expecting (and hoping) to get, and your average, run-of-the-mill studio flick. There are things this movie does, which it shouldn't. Regardless, I think I should talk about the good parts first, before moving on to the bad.

The costumes in this movie are excellent, for what they're intended to depict, and much of the acting is very good as well, though I thought the main lead was a bit too melodramatic; particularly when the situation didn't call for it. It's a minor gripe at best, though.

The scenery is a little lackluster. It seems that they had an abbey and a countryside to film in, and that's just what they did. Still, the story doesn't call for much else, and I was never expecting the film to dazzle me with its visual panoramas.

Much of Scotus' theology is faithfully depicted in this movie, just as I was hoping it would be. However, there's one scene where, rather than discussing things like formal distinction or haecceity, he talks about "the eucharist being for the purpose of uniting everything." I'm not convinced that he would ever say it as imprecisely as this. The Eucharist is for the purpose of uniting people to God, not to one another, and certainly not to the world. Still, again, a minor gripe.

The one thing that I don't consider minor, and the one thing that I refuse to let pass is the truly awful subplot about a seminarian who learns theology under Scotus, leaves the seminary to get married to a flower girl, and is encouraged in this by Scotus using, it must be admitted, no coherent reasoning at all. Stupid, empty-headed romances pop up like daffodils in the modern moviescape, it seems, and no film featuring such will ever get a perfect score from me.

This movie tries to stuff a romance into a story about a great theologian, but it's a very badly-written romance, so it won't really appeal to the romantic. It tries to depict a debate on theology, but you have to get to that debate by skipping over a horrible romance subplot, so theology students would be better served by just reading a book.

I want to give this movie a good grade, because at least 75% of it is spent discussing theology and holiness, and that's a rare thing these days. Still, I need to acknowledge its failings as well. This movie wasn't terrible, but it could and should have been better than it was.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful Mind and Heart of Bl. Duns Scotus, May 2, 2012
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This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
It is not a documentary on the life of Bl. Duns Scotus, nor is it a comprehensive theological treatment on the articles of faith; but I still enjoyed watching the movie. The conversations and the debate revealed in some way the thought processes of the theologians of that era. As the movie portrayed the devotion of Scotus to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the movie reminded me of how God lifts up the lowly to do great things - the humble beginnings of a "dunce" who later became a respected teacher, and a poor friar who debated against the intellectual powerhouse Dominicans - and succeeded. I think it is a beautiful movie and it made me appreciate the beautiful mind and heart of Bl. Duns Scotus!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Film, January 11, 2013
This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
This is a beautiful movie. The subject, St. Duns Scotus,was unfamiliar to me and probably to most people including Catholics. The cinematography was excellent and the acting was great. The subject matter is Theology-Philosophy based on Duns Scotus' defense of the Immaculate Conception and so is not for the casual viewer. Philosophy is not my strongest subject and the movie is in Italian (a beautiful language), but since I don't speak Italian I had to read the subtitles over and over again. I must add that I probably would have done this even if it had been in English.
The movie follows Duns Scotus' life from when he joined the Franciscan order as a child to when he debates with the Dominican Theologians. The scenes from his life exemplify his maturing into an important Theologian. Duns Scotus was a Franciscan theologian and St. Francis taught of the beauty of simplicity in language and reaching the common man and so the reasoning is beautifully simple. And yet, simplicity in language often leads to various interpretations (and does so in this movie). My only criticism of this movie is that the debate at the end with the Dominican Theologians was a one sided debate, I would have liked to hear more of the Dominican logic. Nevertheless, I loved this movie and will be looking for more in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Moving!, March 10, 2013
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This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
Who would have thought that someone would make a movie about Bl. Duns Scotus? I encountered him first in Medieval Philosophy class and he has one of the subtlest and most complex minds in the history of philosophy. But the thing is, he also used that massive intellectual gift to glorify God, and in particular, glorifying God by defending the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I really liked how this movie made Scotus much more human for me, a man of deep piety and devotion. The movie makes the more complex ideas accessible for a general audience. For those expecting a deep philosophical movie though, I suggest you just go straight to reading Scotus' texts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, December 3, 2012
By 
Michael W. Whitman (Tawas City, MI, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
This movie was full of piety and poor on the development of this man as a person of holiness. He was a significant theologian from the Middle Ages. It centered itself on the single effort of debating the theological point of the Immaculate Conception and very little on his struggle to find holiness. Some effort was made at the start of the movie when he refused to sign a document he did not agree with. I think my expectation was more of how he developed as a man seeking his God.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medieval philosophy ROCKS! ...continued., December 17, 2012
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This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
John Duns Scotus is my favorite philosoper, medieval and otherwise. He lived, all too briefly, at the dawn of one of the most creative, destructive, and tragic eras of human history: the 14th century, which Barbara Tuchman called "a distant mirror" to the 20th Century, but it was certainly much worse.

This is an excellent film, which I really enjoyed, but it's probably not to everyone's taste. But even if it isn't, "Blessed Duns Scotus" is worth watching for its own sake and because it tells the story of a great thinker who has been written off by history as the original "dunce" -- the term is based on his name. If you liked "The Name of the Rose," you'll probably like this, but don't expect a murder mystery, because there ain't none. It's just the story of a very humble, spiritual, and brilliant man, just like William of Baskerville in The Name of the Rose, but without the 007 attributes.

Duns Scotus's intellect was so fertile that it's impossible to convey the full extent of his work. His ideas about univocity of being, formal distinction (distinctio formalis a parte rei), and thisness (haecceitas) are fascinating and, well, totally appropriate for the "Doctor Subtilis," as he became known in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. However, if you're looking for those topics in this film, you won't find them. But not to worry. The film pursues several other important Scotist themes: the primacy of the will over the intellect, the primacy of the spirit over worldliness (church over the state), the possibility of alternate universes, and, most importantly in this film, the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, which consumes at least a third of the film. And no, Immaculate Conception has nothing to do with sex. It's all about Original Sin, which tarnishes every descendant of Adam and Eve except for "Mary without spot," to quote the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. (The sleeve notes are excellent.) The point, as I understand it, is that the Son of God could not have been born of a woman stained with Original Sin. So, God, in his infinite power (and love), relieved Mary of that burden, and He may have done so even after Mary was born, simply because He can. Pretty heavy stuff.

There is a minor love story in the film (this is NOT a spoiler alert) that some viewers have considered superfluous. But IMO, the love story plays an important part in the story, as you'll see when John gives away his worldly possessions (books) to his students, and when he is in prayer in the midst of the Immaculate Conception debate. That scene wouldn't work otherwise. John's genuine humility and Christian charity shine throughout.

Warning to Anglophone viewers: DO NOT WATCH THE ENGLISH VERSION. (Or, should I say AMERICAN VERSION?) Instead, watch the Italian version with English captions. Unfortunately, the captions flash by very quickly, so you may need to pause the video to allow yourself to absorb what was just said. But the Italian dialogue is beautiful so it's worth it. The American version, in harsh contrast, sounds like it was voiced over by porn stars between... um... takes. I mean, at one point the name "Aquinas" is pronounced "aqueeness." Please. The American version is so atrocious that it approaches low comedy, which, needless to say, was not the intent of the filmmaker. So please watch the Italian version!!!!!

Philosophy digression alert: Duns Scotus and the "realists" were certainly winners in their metaphysics debate with the "nominalists," such as Ockham. "Horseness" is real, even if it turned out to be atomistic, in the form of DNA. Species are real, and not merely concepts as the nominalists wrongly argued.

Computer-geek digression alert: Duns Scotus was IMO the original object-oriented designer. In C++, C#, Java, and other OO languages, software "objects" are classes that have been "instantiated" -- a very Scotist term!. In the software code, the actual objects are referred to as "this." Duns Scotus said that what gives individual beings both their essence and existence is a certain quality, which, interestingly enough, he called "thisness" (haecceitas). Now, for OO programmers, "thisness" is simply the combination of the class (properties and behaviors) PLUS the particular data about the instance, such as physical dimensions, skin color, social security number, #hashcode, etc. In Duns Scotus's case, however, I think the data that filled out the object included things both natural AND supernatural (the Soul, one's capacity for Grace, etc.). He definitely sees the Great Chain of Being as being "top down," just as we children of Smalltalk see it: a hierarchy of derived class after derived class, all derived from a single abstract base class (Being), each with its own inherited or modified (overriden) properties, behaviors, and actual implementations of pure virtual functions, and, of course, thisness, which makes each instantiation (individual) unique.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blessed Duns Scotus, May 16, 2013
By 
geri green (Strasburg, CO, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
As a Catholic mom I find good saint movies and books to be a great way to teach the older kids an appreciation for the Christian/Catholic faith. The Blessed Duns Scotus movie did not live up to my expectations of an exceptionally emotionally uplifting or even very adventurous saint movie. However the movie does a good job of educating as to our Catholic/Christian doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. It's an intellectual person's movie more so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie which explains theology better than most, March 19, 2013
This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
This is a very entertaining movie, but one that does not make the mistake of dumbing down the personality and intellect of the person it is trying to portray, in this case Blessed Duns Scotus, next to Saint Thomas Aquinas possibly the greatest philosopher of the Middle Ages. This movie shows Duns Scotus as a simple, down-to-earth, holy yet non-judgmental, highly intelligent and wise young professor who explains his philosophy and theology very clearly and precisely. Though sometimes the subtitles go by too fast and one has to rewind to reread the text at some of the more difficult moments, this is actually not a defect. The fact is that when one reads what Duns Scotus is explaining about what could be quite difficult areas, he does so in a way that most Christians could understand it. The explanation of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption by Duns Scotus could actually persuade many non-Catholics about these dogmas of the Church. I think anyone with a high school education could understand what is said in this movie. Though not filled with action scenes, the movie is not boring, it flows very nicely, there is some interesting drama, and the good nature of Duns Scotus also makes for some amusing scenes. A movie that every Catholic should watch and others should see as well to get a clear and concise explanation of Catholic teachings and what great saints are all about: brilliant people who are at the same time child-like in their humility.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Blessed Duns Scotus, March 18, 2013
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This review is from: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception (DVD)
It was a good introduction to his life and his theology. It encouraged me to seek more information about him and his work. I'd be interested in knowing more about the relationship between Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas.

Negative comment: I found the scenes dark and hard to view.
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