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Transpositions Tidbits: Theology and Film

December 4, 2010

Occasionally we’re going to devote a Transpositions Tidbits to a specific topic aiming to provide some links to sites, blogs and resources as a window into exploring theology, imagination and the arts in a particular sub-discipline. There’s lots of challenges to interdisciplinary work, but even more so if you’re coming at these things without much background. We’re going to *try* and help with that navigation.

Cinema, Movies, and Film & Theology

Whatever you call the medium, religious studies and theology are increasingly interested in Theology in, and of, Film. Here are some sites that explore Film & Theology.

  • Reel Spirituality at the Brehm Center describes itself as an Institute of Moving Images examining spirituality and theology. It’s one of the Institutes exploring a discrete aspect of Theology and the Arts at Fuller.
  • FilmWell is a blog that’s been sitting in our blogroll for a while: Essays, film reviews, festival reviews. A daily updated blog interested in cinema off the beaten track, criticism at the margins of the great conversation, and how art points the way to (as Henry Miller says) “life more abundant.”
  • Movie Theology is a website with links and resources by Gordon Matties of Canadian Mennonite University. It has a host of links to major sites across the web. Not a bad place to start if you’re just beginning to explore Theology and film.
  • Religion and Film by Jann Cather Weaver. Lecturer at United Theological Semianry of the Twin Cities, Weaver explores Film as a Theological text. Weaver states: Many books on theology and film, religion and film, God-flicks and Jesus-Flicks, are available. In my opinion, these books fill in the blanks by telling people what particular films mean. The authors of the these books do not acknowledge the perspective from which they are interpreting a film. They make it easy for people; the author’s interpretation is fact. Truth. No questions are necessary, nor recommended. These books fail to teach people how to interpret film from their religious and/or theological perspective. People want to know how to interpret film as a way to explore openly faith, religion, spirituality, and creative imagination. This site is dedicated to exploring films whether they have obvious (explicit)religious themes or not. Actually, this site is more interested in films that are not obviously religious or related to any religious tradition. This site seeks “the Sacred made visible” as we encounter film as film, not as eisegetical Christian texts.
  • Vic & Walter Thiessen: On Movies. These two brothers like to think about movies and cultural offerings with some occasional theological and psychological nuances.
  • Pop Theology. Poptheology examines the intersection of pop culture and theology, religion, and spirituality.
  • god is not elsewhere, by Gareth Higgins, author of How Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films (Relevant Books, 2003). See also the archive of Gareth Higgins’s previous blogs.
  • Brian Godawa. Author of Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom & Discernment (InterVarsity, 2002). Note also his list of recommended movies.
  • Finally, but not least, Christ and Pop Culture put together their own list of  Film resources recently. It is part of their Thoughtful Pop Culture Resources Series

Filmmakers and Production Companies

  • Soul Food Movies by Ron Reed (founding artistic director of Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre)
  • Noonday Films was one of our Transpositions featured artists. Noonday Films is an independent film company committed to producing true stories that challenge oppressive social realities and bring hope that peace and love can and do exist.

Movie and Film Reviews

As always we’d love your comments and suggestions for links related to theology, imagination and the arts. What else would you recommend?

Do you have a blog, website, article or organisation that you would like us to feature on Tidbits? Just send us an email (see contact page above) and let us know!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 5:35 pm

    Thanks for the list, Anna.

    Roger Ebert doesn’t explore theology and film, but I can’t stop myself from reading and reaping from his reviews. I’ve come to trust his insight which helps me think more critically – more theologically – about the movies I watch. It’s as if he reminds my brain to say: “Hey Self, Viewer on the couch there, this isn’t neutral pop art, you know. Wake up and pay attention to everything going on. Cuz there’s a lot.”

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