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Full-Text Articles in Religion

A New Patheon: Artificial Intelligence And "Her", Randall Reed Oct 2018

A New Patheon: Artificial Intelligence And "Her", Randall Reed

Journal of Religion & Film

In this essay I will argue that artificial intelligence has significant religious ramifications. The vision of A.I. most often portrayed by both thinkers and film is one which has a majority of characteristics of a monotheistic god, and most often one who is wrathful, punishing, and anti-human. This perspective is inspired by the themes of Christian apocalypticism. I will contrast this with an analysis of the movie Her. I will suggest that Her presents a different vision of the possible future of A.I., one which still involves the creation of divinity, but no longer a singular divinity bent ...


Religion And Violence In Jesse James Films, 1972–2010, Travis Warren Cooper Apr 2017

Religion And Violence In Jesse James Films, 1972–2010, Travis Warren Cooper

Journal of Religion & Film

This essay analyzes recent depictions of Jesse James in cinema, examining filmic portrayals of the figure between the years of 1972 and 2010. Working from the intersection of the anthropology of film and religious studies approaches to popular culture, the essay fills significant gaps in the study of James folklore. As no substantial examinations of the religious aspects of the James myths exist, I hone in on the legend’s religiosity as contested in filmic form. Films, including revisionist Westerns, are not unlike oral-history statements recorded and analyzed by anthropologists, folklorists, and ethnographers. Jesse James movies, in other words, have ...


Two-Spirit Mexica Youth And Transgender Mixtec/Muxe Media: La Mission (2009), Two Spirit: Injunuity (2013), And Libertad (2015), Gabriel S. Estrada Apr 2017

Two-Spirit Mexica Youth And Transgender Mixtec/Muxe Media: La Mission (2009), Two Spirit: Injunuity (2013), And Libertad (2015), Gabriel S. Estrada

Journal of Religion & Film

Independent directors Peter Bratt, Adrian Baker, and Avila-Hanna create differing trans-border queer Indigenous media that resist Eurocentric cic-heteropatriarchy. While Bratt’s feature-length narrative film La Mission (2009) features a masculine Mexica gay teenager who survives fused homophobic and trans*-phobic violence, Baker’s short animation Two Spirit: Injunuity (2013) makes stronger trans* and two-spirit Mexica youth identity affirmations. Avila-Hanna’s short documentary Libertad (2015) offers the clearest transgender narrative of the three films as it focuses on a California transgender Mixtec immigrant activist who is coming of age as a woman with the aid of hormones and gender affirming surgery ...


Zen Noir Vis-À-Vis Myers-Briggs Personality Typology: Semiotic Multivalency As Grounds For Dialog, Edward J. Godfrey Oct 2016

Zen Noir Vis-À-Vis Myers-Briggs Personality Typology: Semiotic Multivalency As Grounds For Dialog, Edward J. Godfrey

Journal of Religion & Film

Marc Rosenbush’s film, Zen Noir (2004) is at first glance a Buddhist film wherein a troubled detective finds himself at a Zen temple with a murder to solve. But upon further investigation, it becomes evident that the film can also be understood in terms of Myers-Briggs personality typology, which is an extension of the personology and depth psychology of C.G. Jung. This suggests a multivalency which allows the imagery of the film to be interpreted in two different ways; as both suggesting Zen enlightenment and Jungian individuation. To assist with this comparison, this paper introduces the Ten Ox-Herding ...


Paul Tillich And The Possibility Of Revelation Through Film, Kutter Callaway Oct 2015

Paul Tillich And The Possibility Of Revelation Through Film, Kutter Callaway

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a book review of Paul Tillich and the Possibility of Revelation through Film by Jonathan Brant.


Cloud Atlas’ Queer Tiki Kitsch: Polynesians, Settler Colonialism, And Sci-Fi Film, Gabriel S. Estrada Oct 2014

Cloud Atlas’ Queer Tiki Kitsch: Polynesians, Settler Colonialism, And Sci-Fi Film, Gabriel S. Estrada

Journal of Religion & Film

Polynesian theories of film reception, visual sovereignty, feminisms, and worldview offer critical insights into The Wachowskis' and Tykwer's 2012 film Cloud Atlas. From Indigenous and Native feminist film perspectives, Cloud Atlas offers a sci-fi future deeply entrenched in the queer tiki kitsch of settler colonialism as situated within a comparative context of other queer Indigenous film. As an example of heteropatriarchal settler colonialism, the Cloud Atlas plot supports the heterosexual triumphs of cross-racial couples and sublimates the possibilities of transgender reincarnation. Although Cloud Atlas attempts to critique Christian slavery and defend a secular abolitionist stance in the 1848 South ...


Facing Forward, Looking Back: Religion And Film Studies In The Last Decade, Joseph Kickasola, John C. Lyden, S. Brent Plate, Antonio Sison, Sheila J. Nayar, Stefanie Knauss, Rachel Wagner, Jolyon Thomas Apr 2013

Facing Forward, Looking Back: Religion And Film Studies In The Last Decade, Joseph Kickasola, John C. Lyden, S. Brent Plate, Antonio Sison, Sheila J. Nayar, Stefanie Knauss, Rachel Wagner, Jolyon Thomas

Journal of Religion & Film

On November 17, 2012, at the American Academy of Religion’s National Meeting, the Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Group sponsored a session entitled, “Facing Forward, Looking Back: Religion and Film Studies in the Last Decade.” The session focused on four recent books in the field of Religion and Film: John Lyden’s Film as Religion: Myths, Morals and Rituals (NYU, 2003); S. Brent Plate’s Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World (Wallflower Press, 2009); Antonio Sison’s World Cinema, Theology, and the Human: Humanity in Deep Focus (Routledge, 2012); and Sheila Nayar’s The Sacred ...


"Everything's Going To Be Ok:" Source Code And The Dramas Of Desire, David L. Smith Oct 2012

"Everything's Going To Be Ok:" Source Code And The Dramas Of Desire, David L. Smith

Journal of Religion & Film

Source Code (Duncan Jones, 2011) is a science fiction film concerned with an ambiguity at the heart of religion and its ideas about the meaning of life. It interrogates the kitsch-phrase "everything's going to be OK" to uncover two distinct ideas of heroism, or of how life acquires meaning. One is keyed to narratives of attainment. The other stresses the immediacy or immanence of meaning in our present conditions. The film enacts the tension between these paradigms in ways that parallel cases from Christianity and Buddhism. It explores what remains of religious hope when its literal sense is exposed ...


Irruptions Of The Sacred In A “World Of Shit”: Profanity, Sacred Words, And Cinematic Hierophanies In Stanley Kubrick’S Full Metal Jacket (1987), Joseph E. Bisson May 2012

Irruptions Of The Sacred In A “World Of Shit”: Profanity, Sacred Words, And Cinematic Hierophanies In Stanley Kubrick’S Full Metal Jacket (1987), Joseph E. Bisson

Journal of Religion & Film

Full Metal Jacket remains embedded in the consciousness of the popular culture mainly because of its abundance of profane language, violent imagery, and salacious set pieces. The juxtaposition of profane language and imagery with sacred language and religious symbolism reveals that Kubrick’s Vietnam film has powerful religious overtones that comprise an important element of the film’s critique of homo religiosus and the modern human condition. By continually juxtaposing the sacred and profane, Kubrick created “cinematic hierophanies” that advanced a cultural critique that inventively integrated ideas from some of the mid-20th Century’s greatest interpreters of myths -- Carl ...


There’S No Place Like Home: From Oz To Antichrist, J. Sage Elwell May 2012

There’S No Place Like Home: From Oz To Antichrist, J. Sage Elwell

Journal of Religion & Film

This article explores the dialectic of the uncanny in The Wizard of Oz (Victor Flemming, 1939) and Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009), treating the latter as a sequel to the former such that we encounter Dorothy first as a young girl and then as a grown woman. I observe that the uncanny entails a repressive and expressive moment that is cinematically rendered in these two films, and drawing on Freud and Žižek, I argue that in Dorothy’s evolution from Oz to Antichrist we see that the witches and wizards and gods and devils of our own minds are known ...


Scapegoats And Redemption On Shutter Island, Cari Myers May 2012

Scapegoats And Redemption On Shutter Island, Cari Myers

Journal of Religion & Film

The themes of redemptive violence, scapegoating, and ritual in the films of Martin Scorsese have provided much grist for critical scholarship. While it is going too far to claim that Scorsese is intentionally interpreting Girardian themes (which are themselves borrowed from a rich mythological tradition), the comparisons between the theorist and the director are compelling. My goal here is to establish the primary themes of scapegoating, mimesis, the cycle of violence, and feuding identities that occur in both Girard’s works and Scorsese’s films and pull them forward into a more recent work of Scorsese, Shutter Island.


Menstruation As Heroine’S Journey In Pan’S Labyrinth, Richard Lindsay May 2012

Menstruation As Heroine’S Journey In Pan’S Labyrinth, Richard Lindsay

Journal of Religion & Film

I propose that the Guillermo del Toro film, Pan's Labyrinth (2006) follows the narrative outline of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey as experienced through the biological process of onset of menstruation in its young protagonist. I suggest a reading of the film that takes into account the visual and mythological symbolism of the figure of Pan, as well as the cultural context of menstruation in mythology and religion. I offer interviews from the director that support this interpretation, but ultimately I value a folk interpretation, or a "viewer's hunch" that the strange and fertile symbolism of the ...