New Image of Religious Film
- 4 mai 2014
- Posted by: ideadmin
- Category: Church, media, communication
New Image of Religious Film
by John R. May, editor
Published in a collecion titled « Communication, Culture & Theology »
This collection brings together contributors from richly diverse backgrounds – literature, art history, mass communication, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, theology – to explore a wide range of current issues concerning the interrelationship of religion and film, including approaches to the question of what constitutes cinema’s religious dimension. In addition, this volume contains analyses of the changing « religious » language of feature films, reflections on the theology and spirituality found in contemporary movies, developments in mass media studies and film education, and an evaluation of religious trends in third-world cinema.
This volume addresses the continued discomfort with – even distrust of – films by theologians and suggests ways in which film, far from subverting the theological venture, can be a worthy ally not only in the process of evangelization, but also in faith’s search for understanding.
JOHN MAY is Alumni Professor of English and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University, where he teaches courses in religion, literature, and film, as well as in American literature. In addition to his works of theological literary criticism, May has been coauthor, coeditor, and editor of several works on religion in film.
Published in 1997 – based on essays by participants of an international symposium held in 1993 at Villa Cavalletti in the Alban Hills south of Rome.
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« Theological and spiritual traditions have something to offer the film world insofar as they are concerned with the quest for deeper meaning, truth, and wisdom about human life, history and destiny. On the other hand, there is no doubt that many films, past and present, can provide a stimulus and a challenge to theological disciplines and to theologians to learn more about « the human journey » and the individual or collective struggle for survival – phenomena that are mirrored in so many films.
Great filmmakers like Luis Buñuel have suffered from the « clerical » mentality that is ready to control and to condemn rather than to analyze, to engage, and to understand.
The lack of interest in religious matters experienced by many critics, both the fear of not being competent theologically as well as the growing ignorance in such concerns, recently affected their reception of Kieslowski’s Decalogue (1988-89), not only the quality of their interpretations of it, but also their very willingness to review it.
Because our religious imagination and our understanding of « holy images » are too restricted, God and his Spirit may actually be present where we assume their total absence. »
Excerpts from the essay Approaches to Film Criticism, by Ambros Eichenberger
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« One of the most interesting developments in media studies in recent years has been the steady move away from the « powerful media effects » assumptions toward the new conception of the autonomy of the audience constructions of meaning… Not until the 1980s did the application of the descriptive approaches of the cultural anthropologist and the ethnographer to audience studies begin to produce models of the conditions and ways in which audiences « pick and choose » elements from the media to construct their own life stories.
Most construction of the meaning of media is carried on in groups, with very considerable debate among members of these groups and with the group identities as the reference point of interpretation.
According to many, the mass media are a central mechanism for continually reorganizing our myths so that they « make sense » to all in the culture. »
Excerpts from The Role of Film in Personal Religious Growth by Robert A. White
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