Faith in Film: Religious Themes in Contemporary Cinema

Deacy, Christopher (2005) Faith in Film: Religious Themes in Contemporary Cinema. Ashgate, Aldershot, UK, 170 pp. ISBN ISBN 0-754-65158-4. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

How plausible is it to examine the medium of film through a Christian lens? Are there any grounds for supposing that, in ‘going to the movies’, one is participating in a religious activity? Faith in Film identifies and explores these key questions. From the unprecedented and innovative perspective of Christian theology, this book investigates how cinema audiences wrestle with religious beliefs and values. Through a reading of films as diverse as Groundhog Day, Billy Liar, Fight Club and Nobody’s Fool, Deacy reveals that the movies raise vital questions about the spiritual landscape and normative values of western society today. 1. This book aims to facilitate much-needed dialogue between academics in film studies on the one side and theologians and religious studies specialists on the other. By engaging in dialogue with film, new and innovative ways of understanding and studying Christian theology can be undertaken. Likewise, by engaging in dialogue with Christian theology, it is envisaged that new and challenging ways of approaching the discipline of film studies can be achieved. 2. The argument at the kernel of this book is innovative and academically rigorous: the boundaries of what constitutes ‘religion’ are not fixed, and religion often changes shape and appearance as society itself mutates. Accordingly, religion begins to appear in unexpected places and through new media, such as film. 3. I present a new slant to the interface between Christianity and film by making use of empirical data. Most books that have been published to date are not really interested in what ‘ordinary’ film-goers think, and I make a case in this book for drawing on such sites as the ‘user comments’ that appear on the Internet Movie Database alongside more traditional resources such as journal, newspaper and magazine articles. I argue that some understanding of the manner in which an actual audience ‘reads’ a movie is indispensable if a judicious and academically viable study of film is to be accomplished. 4. The range of movies covered in this book is wide, from popular, ‘blockbuster’ hits to films of a more independent, art-house sensibility. It is important to cast the net wide. In an age of such franchises as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars I argue that we can (and should be prepared to) look further than commercial, box office successes to find signs of theology in film. This is also an up-to-date book: I have included material on a number of recent films including Changing Lanes (Roger Michell, USA, 2002), Panic Room (David Fincher, USA, 2002) and Road to Perdition (Sam Mendes, USA, 2002). This makes for a more original and innovative book. 5. This book has the potential to appeal to a more wide-ranging audience than many of the other books published to date on religion and film. Chapter 4 pays attention to the concept of ‘celebrity’ and concentrates on the idea that some Hollywood ‘gods and goddesses’ are especially amenable at conveying religiously fecund material in the body of work they have amassed.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Chris Deacy
Date Deposited: 14 May 2008 09:45
Last Modified: 16 May 2014 11:05
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/3073 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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