Religion through film

I check my email regularly and you can contact me in that way at any time Course Description and Rationale Religion plays an important role in film, but does film play an important role in religion?

Religion through film

One of the premier scholars in the field, Plate deftly combined a thorough grounding in religious studies with expertise in film theory, providing an illuminating and engaging text that has enabled readers, both academic and religious, to explore the intersection between cinema and religion.

Given the history of suspicion between religion and film, it is welcome to see this field not only gaining recognition but also offering new ways of thinking through the meaning and role of religion in contemporary cultural and political debates.

As Plate observes, although religion has long been a concern of the movies, the scholarly study of cinema and religion is relatively young.

Religion Goes to the Movies - Los Angeles Review of Books

A glance over the history of film theory suggests that there have been roughly three waves of research focusing on the relationship between religion and film. The first wave, dating from the s to the s, explored theological, metaphysical, and existentialist themes in explicitly religious films, usually within the European modernist tradition Dreyer, Bresson, Bergman, and so on from a broadly humanist perspective.

The second one, from the late s and s, rejected the focus on arthouse cinema and turned instead to popular cinema, spanning explicitly religious Christological retellings to more implicit explorations of faith or belief.

Finally, the third wave, gaining popularity over the last two decades, eschews thematic, auteur- or narrative-based approaches in favor of cultural analogies between cinema and religion, focusing specifically on audience reception of films.

Indeed, Religion and Film is not really concerned with theological motifs, the contemporary significance of the three world religions, or the rise of New Age forms of spirituality. Rather, it compares cinema and religion as ways of constructing and presenting worlds that we can temporarily inhabit, that provide new ways of experiencing and understanding our own mundane sense of reality.

Plate focuses on the role of both religion and cinema in practices of community formation, the generation of meaning through myth and ritual, and the creation of a sacred space that contrasts with the everyday world.

Religion, in this view, refers to any cultural practice capable of cultivating our sense of living in a meaningful cosmos.

Cinema and religion are analogous ways of composing worlds through symbolic representation and ritualized practices. They both select and frame aspects of social reality in ways that are meaningful — providing communal forms of experience, focusing our attention, and drawing us into an alternative world in light of which our ordinary universe can appear as transfigured or transformed.

In this respect, cinema can be understood as a practice of worldmaking that brings about symbolic works using audiovisual images, montage, and post-production techniques. Brent applies this idea to both cinema and religion, arguing by analogy that cinema and religion are ways of worldmaking that not only share many common features, but also mutually illuminate and influence each other.

This might seem surprising to readers, who may assume that popular Hollywood movies have little in common with the rituals of the church, mosque, or synagogue. As Plate argues, however, we gain much by recognizing how both religion and cinema construct symbolic worlds that shape our self-understanding, as well as our sense of place in both natural and cultural universes.

Both involve the selection, framing, and organization of a meaningful world, and both require symbols, myths, and ritualized practice for these worlds to be rendered and recreated.

Indeed, myths and rituals, for Plate, operate remarkably like films: He draws attention, moreover, to the fact that myths are not simply written or spoken tales but can be multisensorial narrative experiences. Tales of origins, heroic quests, the search for identity, and binding moral, cultural, and religious narratives are richly represented in film, which uses all resources at its disposal to create an immersive sense of world within which these mythic tales unfold.

At the same time, Plate points to the intertwining of myth and ideology in popular cinema. The Matrix, for example, still adverts to the Hollywood myth centered on the formation of the white heterosexual couple Neo and Trinity coupled with a white savior myth Neo as the One that trumps its more alternative cultural-mythic elements.

Despite its imbrication with ideology, film, like myth more generally, is an inherently eclectic cultural form, which becomes readily apparent in cinematic adaptations of religious myths. As Plate remarks, it draws on the following influences: Stylistically, the film also draws on the horror genre the opening scenes referencing Wes Craven and John Carpenterand its graphic depiction of violence and suffering is legendary.

This only underlines the syncretic nature of cinematic mythmaking, which recreates the world via audiovisual means, engaging our senses and emotions as much as our memories and intellects. Cinematic composition — including framing, camera movements, light and color, sound and music — creates an inhabitable world replete with mythic and symbolic meaning.

The composition of cinematic space, especially the symbolic connotations of vertical transcendence versus horizontal movement immanencecontributes to the creation of a complex, deeply human world replete with meaning.

Body genres such as horror provide exemplary cases of this kind of experience. The importance of the face and the close-up in cinema is well known and offers one of the most distinctive elements explaining the emotional power of movies. Plate draws here on evolutionary biology and cognitivist theories to support his claim that facial expression is key not only to social relationships but also to exploring the boundaries between self and other.

The iconoclastic ban on representations of divinity also found expression in popular cinema, with the face of Christ being avoided in Hollywood film during the Production Code era — in Quo Vadis and Ben-Hurfor example — appearing again only in Cecil B.

Emotional contagion effects mirroring the emotional expressions of others and nonverbal communication expressing emotion physically in ways that resist verbal articulation are powerful ways of binding audience and screen, opening up the possibility of an emotional and imaginative transfer between the world of the film and that of the viewer.

University of South Carolina Department of Religious Studies

Cinematic ethics means that cinema has the potential to move us toward a more ethical mode of being — from a self-regarding to an other-oriented attitude toward our world. Cult films, movie fandom, and the use of movie references, characters, and costumes in all manner of cultural activities — from tourism to weddings — suggest that the worldmaking expressed on screen readily translates into the re-creation of the everyday world.

Portrayals of God in popular media have varied from a white-haired old man in Oh, God! to a woman in Dogma, from an entirely off-screen character to a figure of fun. According to trinitarian Christianity, Jesus Christ is God, so cultural depictions of Jesus in film and television are also portrayals of God. REL - Religion in Film PROFESSOR INFORMATION Instructor: Erin Weston Phone: () Explore world religions through various film depictions. This class is a religious studies course where we will be looking at religion through the lens of film. The course is constructed in three main modules. The first section. Official Film Website for Kanarie. Official Film Website for Kanarie. about a young boy who discovers how through hardship, camaraderie, first love, and the liberating freedom of music, the true self can be discovered. religion, and war, CANARY follows a teen boy, Johan Niemand, who has always been bullied in his small town for his.

From Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings, tourism pilgrimages to the Hobbiton Movie Set near Matamata in New Zealand, where much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shotto reenactments of epic journeys visiting sites depicted in films such as Into the Wildthe parallels between the practices of ritualized mythmaking in religion and cinema become striking and compelling.

As Plate remarks, the footprints of movies are left in a multitude of cultural sites, social spaces, political discourses, wilderness areas, and religious forms of consciousness throughout the world.Religion Through Film This Essay Religion Through Film and other 64,+ term papers, college essay examples and free essays are available now on Autor: review • November 11, • Essay • Words (3 Pages) • Views.

1 RELIGION THROUGH FILM University of South Carolina Distant Learning Course Instructor: Dr. Cheryl B. Rhodes [email protected] Religion is a common theme in many movies.

Portrayals of God in popular media - Wikipedia

Although it isn't always directly seen, religion is often an underlying part of a movie plot. Often, a character is shaped by his/her religion.

understand how religion and film intersect in our culture; and, 6. recognize the power film has to influence one’s perception of religion.

3 Texts 1.

Religion through film

Your textbook is an unpublished manuscript written by your Instructor and is available for Religion Through Film. The. REL - Religion in Film PROFESSOR INFORMATION Instructor: Erin Weston Phone: () Explore world religions through various film depictions.

This class is a religious studies course where we will be looking at religion through the lens of film. The course is constructed in three main modules. The first section. Although it is not a religious film, the differences in religion and culture is an important theme.

Before they can overcome their differences, they needed to compromise in order to make their families equally happy.

Introducing Theories of Religion through Film: A Sample Syllabus - Oxford Scholarship