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Full-Text Articles in Religion

Eternal Now: Recent Time Loop Movies And The Sanctity Of The Moment, John C. Lyden Dec 2018

Eternal Now: Recent Time Loop Movies And The Sanctity Of The Moment, John C. Lyden

Journal of Religion & Film

I will examine three time-loop films—Source Code (2011), About Time (2013), and Before I Fall (2017)—to suggest that while they all look to this world as the place where meaning can be found, they do not entirely reject transcendence. The hero of Source Code actually transcends the cycle only when he accepts to exist in it fully, suggesting a view like Buddhism that one only finds transcendence when one stops looking for it. In About Time the hero learns that he must accept certain things that he cannot change, and that his ability to relive the past without ...


Neo-Gnosticism At The Movies, Michael Kaler Dec 2018

Neo-Gnosticism At The Movies, Michael Kaler

Journal of Religion & Film

A number of American films released in the mid/late 1990s drew on, or have been discussed in the context of, gnosticism—a loose, imprecise umbrella term usually applied to a number of heterodox early Christian literary traditions. The Matrix is the most famous of this group of films, which also includes such films as Pleasantville, Dark City, The Truman Show, and Thirteenth Floor. This curious trend would not have been possible had it not been for the emergence of gnosticism in mainstream culture generally; as well, gnosticism’s emphasis on the spectacular, constructed and ultimately illusory nature of apparent ...


Screening Religiosity In Contemporary Polish Films. The Role Of Religious Motifs In Visual Communication., Mariola Marczak Dec 2018

Screening Religiosity In Contemporary Polish Films. The Role Of Religious Motifs In Visual Communication., Mariola Marczak

Journal of Religion & Film

In the paper the Polish contemporary cinema has been explored as a vehicle through which films can reflect and communicate social issues, such as religiosity of Polish society, the character of it, the ways of expression and values promoted by it. The main components of modern Polish religiosity are shown as they are exhibited in film works perceived as part of modern visual culture. The examination also comprises most frequently and typically tools used for communicating or revealing the transcendent sphere in the contemporary Polish films, such as Christ-figures - including apocryphal ones and parables. They are considered as a narrative ...


Visual Grandeur, Imagined Glory: Identity Politics And Hindu Nationalism In Bajirao Mastani And Padmaavat, Baijayanti Roy Dec 2018

Visual Grandeur, Imagined Glory: Identity Politics And Hindu Nationalism In Bajirao Mastani And Padmaavat, Baijayanti Roy

Journal of Religion & Film

This paper examines the tropes through which the Hindi (Bollywood) historical films Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat (2018) create idealised pasts on screen that speak to Hindu nationalist politics of present-day India. Bajirao Mastani is based on a popular tale of love, between Bajirao I (1700-1740), a powerful Brahmin general, and Mastani, daughter of a Hindu king and his Iranian mistress. The relationship was socially disapproved because of Mastani`s mixed parentage. The film distorts India`s pluralistic heritage by idealising Bajirao as an embodiment of Hindu nationalism and portraying Islam as inimical to Hinduism. Padmaavat is a film about ...


‘Love-Jihad’ And Bollywood: Constructing Muslims As ‘Other’, Nadira Khatun Dec 2018

‘Love-Jihad’ And Bollywood: Constructing Muslims As ‘Other’, Nadira Khatun

Journal of Religion & Film

In the postcolonial nation state that is India, cinema has become an important tool for propagating the idea of nationalism. In recent times, one of the most controversial components of Hindu nationalism has been the hate campaign against what is termed as ‘love-jihad’, which is deployed as a weapon to mobilize, polarize, and communalize citizens. The Indian Hindi-language film industry, popularly known as Bollywood, has also become a controversial site. In this paper, I argue that if ‘Indian nationalism’ is to be represented as ‘Hindu nationalism’ and ‘Indian culture’ as ‘Hindu culture,’ it logically follows that this majoritarian construction needs ...


Myth And Monstrosity: Teaching Indigenous Films, Ken Derry Dec 2018

Myth And Monstrosity: Teaching Indigenous Films, Ken Derry

Journal of Religion & Film

The past few times that I have taught my course on religion and film I have included a number of Indigenous movies. The response from students has been entirely positive, in part because most of them have rarely encountered Indigenous cultural products of any kind, especially contemporary ones. Students also respond well to the way in which many of these films use notions of the monstrous to explore, and explode, colonial myths. Goldstone, for example, by Kamilaroi filmmaker Ivan Sen, draws on noir tropes to peel back the smiling masks of the people responsible for the mining town’s success ...


Representations Of Nineteenth Century Mormonism In A Mormon Maid: A Cinematic Analysis, Elisabeth Weagel Dec 2018

Representations Of Nineteenth Century Mormonism In A Mormon Maid: A Cinematic Analysis, Elisabeth Weagel

Journal of Religion & Film

During the first quarter of the 20th century there was a trend in Hollywood to make films about Mormons. Practices such as polygamy created just the kind of sensationalism that attracted filmmakers (even Thomas Edison contributed with his 1902 film A Trip to Salt Lake). Many of these were B-pictures, but the 1917 film A Mormon Maid stands out because it was produced by a major production company (Paramount) and was backed by top director Cecil B. DeMille. It is often given passing reference, but very little genuine scholarship has been done on the film. A hundred years after its ...


Ask The Beasts Of The Southern Wild: Exploring Human Identity As Beast, Being And Beholder In Ask The Beasts: Darwin And The God Of Love And Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Stephanie Cherpak Clary Dec 2018

Ask The Beasts Of The Southern Wild: Exploring Human Identity As Beast, Being And Beholder In Ask The Beasts: Darwin And The God Of Love And Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Stephanie Cherpak Clary

Journal of Religion & Film

Anthropocentrism and hierarchical dualism together encourage a dangerous anthropology where human primacy among creation and the prioritization of certain humans leads to destruction for all. During a time when suffering caused by climate change continues to intensify, it is increasingly important to find compelling ways to share the stories of those who suffer most. I will explore how Beasts of the Southern Wild (Zeitlin, 2012) contextualizes the ecofeminist theology found in Johnson’s Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love (2014), specifically the idea of humans identifying as beasts, beings and beholders. Furthermore, I will discuss how the ...


Trickster Ambivalence In Kwaw Ansah’S Praising The Lord Plus One, Adwoa Opoku-Agyemang Dec 2018

Trickster Ambivalence In Kwaw Ansah’S Praising The Lord Plus One, Adwoa Opoku-Agyemang

Journal of Religion & Film

Kwaw Ansah’s film Praising the Lord Plus One revolves around a crooked charismatic preacher. This paper examines him as one of the manifestations of the West African trickster. Though the figure of the trickster is bound to West African folktales, his familiar, contradictory and ultimately funny features transcend the oral tale to manifest in other media. The article examines Gabriel’s self-transformation into a miracle-maker, his utilization of that identity, and his unmaking. It looks at how biblical exegesis and Christian rites, while apparently major aspects of the film, are reduced to marketing tools for sustaining the trickster ethos ...


Solidarity Beyond Obligation: Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri, Grace Chiou Dec 2018

Solidarity Beyond Obligation: Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri, Grace Chiou

Journal of Religion & Film

In his film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, writer-director Martin McDonagh creates a compelling parable regarding suffering, justice and solidarity. This unfiltered and witty, dark comedy examines the interlaced connections between humans and non-human agents during periods of anguish. Frequently, the ensuing communication includes abusive or belittling language and violent physical attacks. These extraordinary assaults are then contrasted with small gestures of kindness. While the film has faced various critiques, this piece of cinema creates a dynamic narrative to consider the human experience of grief and experiencing grace from one’s enemies. In doing so, Three Billboards paints an inclusive ...


Reason (Vivek), J. Barton Scott Oct 2018

Reason (Vivek), J. Barton Scott

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of Reason (Vivek) (2018), directed by Anand Patwardhan.


Ad Vitam, J. Barton Scott Oct 2018

Ad Vitam, J. Barton Scott

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of Ad Vitam (2018), directed by Thomas Calley.


A Star Is Born, Sherry Coman Oct 2018

A Star Is Born, Sherry Coman

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of A Star is Born (2018), directed by Bradley Cooper.


Myth And Ritual In Moonrise Kingdom, Sarah F. Haynes Oct 2018

Myth And Ritual In Moonrise Kingdom, Sarah F. Haynes

Journal of Religion & Film

This essay examines religious themes in Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom. An analysis of the film reveals the characters utilize ritual and myth as a means of creating knowledge and as the catalyst for a transformation of self. This essay argues that Anderson’s characters construct and interpret their reality, of self and world, by engaging with ritual, myth, and community.


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 ...


Terrence Malick Beyond Nature And Grace: Song To Song And The Experience Of Forgiveness, Elisa Zocchi Oct 2018

Terrence Malick Beyond Nature And Grace: Song To Song And The Experience Of Forgiveness, Elisa Zocchi

Journal of Religion & Film

In The Tree of Life Terrence Malick poses the question of the relation between the order of grace and the order of nature in the cosmos and in human existence, a question presented through the relation of mother and father in the O'Brien family. The aim of this article is to analyze this issue and to present the role of glory in The Tree of Life as the transfiguration of nature operated by grace. Specifically, the example of forgiveness as one strand of this glory seems to be an helpful tool to understand the movie. Forgiveness, already present in ...


An Old Film In A New Light: Lighting As The Key To Johannine Identity In "Ordet", Richard V. Goodwin Oct 2018

An Old Film In A New Light: Lighting As The Key To Johannine Identity In "Ordet", Richard V. Goodwin

Journal of Religion & Film

In his essay on Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Ordet, P. Adams Sitney draws a parallel between the protagonist, Johannes, and John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel. He suggests that the delusional Johannes’s sanity returns upon the recovery of his own name, turning on the invocation of his biblical namesake, John the Evangelist. Compelling as Sitney’s is, however, I argue that we arrive at a more helpful interpretation by attending to an aspect that has been largely overlooked in critical discussion of the film: lighting. Careful analysis of the lighting yields a perspective in which Johannes is ...


Is Slumdog Millionaire A Retelling Of The Ramayana? (Hindi), William L. Blizek, Michele M. Desmarais Jul 2018

Is Slumdog Millionaire A Retelling Of The Ramayana? (Hindi), William L. Blizek, Michele M. Desmarais

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a Hindi translation of the article that appears in English in this same issue.

Is a banner with a picture of Rama and Sita on it and the word, “Ramayana,” the only link between the film Slumdog Millionaire and the great Hindu epic? In this paper we explore elements in the film that correspond to elements in the Ramayana. There is no one-to-one correlation, and some relationships between the two are, in fact, mirror images. However, there are enough correlations and influences to suggest that the film might be considered a retelling of the Ramayana. We also acknowledge ...


Won't You Be My Neighbor?, John C. Lyden Jun 2018

Won't You Be My Neighbor?, John C. Lyden

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018), directed by Morgan Neville.


First Reformed, William L. Blizek Jun 2018

First Reformed, William L. Blizek

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of First Reformed (2018), directed by Paul Schrader.


The Qur'anic Epic In Iranian Cinema (Farsi), Nacim Pak-Shiraz May 2018

The Qur'anic Epic In Iranian Cinema (Farsi), Nacim Pak-Shiraz

Journal of Religion & Film

The representation of religious figures in Islam has become particularly controversial in recent years. The creation of religious films has, therefore, turned into a highly sensitive undertaking. Iranian cinema is one of the very few in the Muslim world to have employed this new medium in imagining and narrating stories of revered religious figures. In this article I examine the complex socio-political context of Iran to study the relatively late emergence of the epic genre in Iranian cinema. I then study the recent creation and development of ‘Qur’anic Films’ within Iranian cinema with specific reference to Kingdom of Solomon ...


Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Gregory Chad Wilkes Apr 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Gregory Chad Wilkes

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) directed by Rian Johnson.


Novitiate, Joshua Canzona Apr 2018

Novitiate, Joshua Canzona

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of Novitiate (2017) directed by Maggie Betts.


Thelma, Kevin V. Dodd Apr 2018

Thelma, Kevin V. Dodd

Journal of Religion & Film

This is a film review of Thelma (2017) directed by Joachim Trier.


The Semi-Anti-Apocalypse Of Black Panther, Ken Derry Mar 2018

The Semi-Anti-Apocalypse Of Black Panther, Ken Derry

Journal of Religion & Film

This is one of a series of films reviews of Black Panther (2018), directed by Ryan Coogler.


Black Panther As Spirit Trip, Laurel Zwissler Mar 2018

Black Panther As Spirit Trip, Laurel Zwissler

Journal of Religion & Film

This is one of a series of film reviews of Black Panther (2018), directed by Ryan Coogler. This review analyzes engagement with the movie as a religious experience and considers some political implications of both its storyline and reception. In particular, the piece focuses on constructions of race, especially in relationship to Africa and African Americans, as well as practical tensions around commodifying dissent.


Ancestors Change Constantly: Subversive Religious Colonial Deconstruction In The Religion Of Black Panther, Jon Ivan Gill Mar 2018

Ancestors Change Constantly: Subversive Religious Colonial Deconstruction In The Religion Of Black Panther, Jon Ivan Gill

Journal of Religion & Film

This is one of a series of film reviews of Black Panther (2018), directed by Ryan Coogler.


Editorial In(Ter)Ventions: Comparing The Editorial Processes Of The Hebrew Bible And The Star Wars Saga, Timo Tekoniemi Mar 2018

Editorial In(Ter)Ventions: Comparing The Editorial Processes Of The Hebrew Bible And The Star Wars Saga, Timo Tekoniemi

Journal of Religion & Film

Canonicity and authority of one textual form over another, textual plurality, and scribal freedom in the early transmission of the Hebrew Bible have in the recent decades become prominent topics in the methodological discussions of biblical scholars. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it has become clear that, when attempting to discern the oldest text of the Hebrew Bible, we are in need of new and better models of textual transmission that take into account all extant textual evidence. Working solely on the basis of the so-called Masoretic Text is no more methodologically tenable, especially when it comes ...


Classroom Cannibal: A Guide On How To Teach Ojibwe Spirituality Using The Windigo And Film, Brady Desanti Mar 2018

Classroom Cannibal: A Guide On How To Teach Ojibwe Spirituality Using The Windigo And Film, Brady Desanti

Journal of Religion & Film

This paper is intended as a pedagogical guide on how to teach elements of Ojibwe religious and philosophical beliefs using the windigo and its depictions in the films Wendigo and Ravenous. The windigo complex is exceedingly complex and remains an enduring component to the cultures of Ojibwe and several other Algonquian-speaking communities in the United States and Canada. While the windigo enjoys exposure in a variety of popular entertainment sources, film remains one of the most useful methods to incorporate in the classroom to help students comprehend how an anthropophagus “monster” directly relates to Ojibwe ideas of personal balance, social ...


"Fake It Until You Make It:" A Reflection On Film, Hypocrisy, And Christian Ethics, William Bartley Mar 2018

"Fake It Until You Make It:" A Reflection On Film, Hypocrisy, And Christian Ethics, William Bartley

Journal of Religion & Film

I will argue that a representative group of films including Mr. Lucky (with Cary Grant), Rossellini’s Il Generale della Rovere, and Galaxy Quest affirm an assumption that is as well known as it is offensively false to many: i.e., we acquire a virtue or quality of character by pretending that we already possess it—the ethic colloquially and popularly known as “fake it until you make it.” The importance and power of this ethic, as thoroughly secular as it seems to be, is best understood in the context of its Roman Catholic and ancient philosophical provenance, which for ...