Journal of Religion and Film

Articles from Vol. 20, No. 1, 2016

"Aftertones of Infinity": Biblical and Darwinian Evocations in Terrence Malick's the Tree of Life and to the Wonder
Dreams from a dark millenniumEmpyreal visions,vague myriad tendrils floatingon an eternal voyage,journeying primordial pathwaysthrough cosmic cauldrons,to afterworlds beyond the edge of the future.Celestial voices echo the lost dreamsof the children...
Agonizing Transitions and Turning Away from God in Two Tunisian Movies
IntroductionFor several decades after independence, Tunisian cinema had been part of the nationalistic ambitions of the state, which sought to shape the cultural scene in Tunisia and to set the tone for a narrative about collective identity. Early productions...
Allegory and Ambiguity in the Films of Majid Majidi: A Theodicy of Meaning
The films of Majid Majidi, a contemporary Iranian writer and director, have certain identifiable socially-relevant themes: the lives of children, the struggles of the disabled or the enslaved, the marginalization of ethnic minorities, and the discovery...
Different Images of God: Theological-Aesthetical Evaluation of Films by Andrey Zvyagintsev and Pavel Lungin
Introduction: The Question of Theology and Film AnalysisCurrently the field of film studies from a religious or theological perspective seems to be a trend. Yet, not so many authors suggest theological approaches to film analysis. There is a challenge...
Enlightenments: The Interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism on Screen
According to the theory of zone-forming cultures, and the typology of Eastern literature (Braginskiy, 1991), the East is divided into three broad areas that do not coincide exactly with geographic borders. One of them is the Indian-Southeast, which includes...
Examining the Critical Role American Popular Film Continues to Play in Maintaining the Muslim Terrorist Image, Post 9/11
The "truth" of Islam in the way it is portrayed and distributed through popular movies is flawed in that it offers a homogeneous and monolithic understanding, essentializing the discourse on religion. This rhetoric of normativity becomes even more problematic...
Films and Religion: An Analysis of Aamir Khan's PK
Indian Film Industry and screen narratives on religionThe Indian film industry is the biggest in the world when it comes to number of films produced every year and has for many years been the world's largest film producing country, with an output in...
Films, Values, Absolutes: Why Theological Readings of Films Are Morally and Politically Essential
Introduction: Film-Watching as Significant Social PracticeMy purpose in this paper is simple: to argue for the importance of viewers' responses to the practice of film-watching as a context in which they discover or construct meanings by which they live...
Hinduism and Its Others in Bollywood Film of the 2000s
IntroductionThis paper will explore the representation of Hinduism and its others in Bollywood Film of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It will deal with constructed notions of "otherness" as revealed in the representation of the "West" and of "India"...
Madness, Otherness and Transformation: Exploring Religion in Nordic Crime Films
IntroductionCrime fiction has long been a very popular genre, but it is a genre that has long also been ignored in academia (Tapper 2011). The lack of interest in exploring crime fiction has no doubt a lot to do with the popularity of the genre. As with...
"Noah's Beasts Were the Stars": Arthur Melbourne Cooper's Noah's Ark (1909)
If the recent return of the biblical flood to cinema screens courtesy of both Darren Aronofsky's Noah (2014) and the animated feature Two by Two (2015) suggests that contemporary filmmakers find the story of the deluvian patriarch fascinating, they are...
On Human Nature in the Thought of Muhyiddin Ibn' Arabi and the Western Tradition within the Context of the Film the Silence of the Lambs
IntroductionIt is quite difficult to imagine that an intelligent, cultured, well-mannered, successful psychiatrist with an exquisite taste in art could also be a cannibalistic serial killer who eats his victims. Such a character is beyond the limits...
Philippine Muslims on Screen: From Villains to Heroes
IntroductionMuslims constitute an estimated five per cent of the Philippines' 100 million population. Previously concentrated in the southern part of the country, they are now visible in most regions as a result of internal migration and conversions...
Problematizing the Human-Technology Relationship through Techno-Spiritual Myths Presented in the Machine, Transcendence and Her
The fraught relationship between humans and technology providesmany a storyline within popular cinema. One of the most common ways the human-technology tensions are portrayed is through explorations of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from the female machine-human...
Religious and National Identity in My Name Is Khan
My Name Is Khan (2010, directed by Karan Johar) is a Bollywood film about an Indian Muslim man, Rizwan Khan (played by Shahrukh Khan) with Asberger's Syndrome, living in the San Francisco area and married to an Indian Hindu woman, Mandira Rathore (played...
Rivette's the Nun: Religion between Sadism and Masochism
I. The PlotThe Nun (original title: Suzanne Simonin. La Religieuse de Denis Diderot) is a 1966 French Film directed by Jacques Rivette and based on the homonymous novel written by Denis Diderot, first published in 1796.1 Following the plot of Diderot's...
Spirits and Ceremonies: How to Construct Religious Experience in Documentary Film
IntroductionThere is a lot of research about religion and film concerning fiction films, but not very much dealing with documentary film, and practically none at all from the point of view of practice led or artistic research.I am a documentary film-maker...
The 2015 International Conference on Religion and Film
In May of 2015 the Journal of Religion & Film and the University of Nebraska at Omaha sponsored the 2015 International Conference on Religion & Film.1 The conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, and was hosted by the Center for Values Education...
The Qur'anic Epic in Iranian Cinema
The production of Biblical films almost immediately followed the birth of cinema. Pathe's productions of The Birth of Jesus (1909), Life of Christ (1910) and C.G.P.C's Biblical releases Cain and Abel (1911), Infancy of Moses (1911) and Abraham's Sacrifice...
The Seal of the Confessional: Robert Lepage's le Confessionnal in Social and Cultural Context
Québec is unique among Canada's ten provinces in that it has its own distinct language - French - and its distinct identity. From its 17th century origins until the 1960s, this identity was heavily marked by Catholicism. Not only were most Québecois...
Time the Redeemer: Time as an Object of Cinema in a Post-Metaphysical Age
There is a sense in which time is fundamental to the cinematic experience - on the one hand, the physical medium has a constant, mechanical rhythm (the frame-rate of whatever is being projected); on the other hand, the content of any particular movie...
Tracking the Fallen Apple: Ineffability, Religious Tropes, and Existential Despair in Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once upon a Time in Anatolia
The constant balance between a secular constitution, Muslim majority, and an unavoidable Byzantine Christian history stands as one of Turkey's most unique characteristics as a nation. This complexity-indeed, tension-forms an uneasy foundation for Turkish...
Various Representations of Jews in Turkish Cinema
IntroductionNon-muslim minorities in Turkey have contributed to the development of Turkish cinema in terms of their active involvement in acting and production. Especially during the black-andwhite film period, the relatively high number of actors, actresses...
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