Journal of Religion and Film

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 1, April

Abe
The Sundance Film Festival now has a category of films labelled, "Kids," but note that these are really films that can be enjoyed by all ages. Abe is a fine entry in this category which deals with interreligious identity thoughtfully and sensitively.Fans...
Behind the Bullet
Behind the Bullet (2019), dir. Heidi YewmanBehind the Bullet is a documentary feature film that is a collection of four stories about people who have pulled the trigger and the aftermath of that action. Christen is a young woman who pulls the trigger...
Boni Bonita
Boni Bonita (2019), dir. Daniel BarosaOne of the things that religion offers us is an explanation of death; an explanation that helps us to deal with death, whether our own or that of someone we know. In this film a young girl, Beatriz, has recently...
Dirty God
Dirty God (2019), dir. Sacha PolakDirty God, the first film by a Dutch Director (Sacha Polak) to be screened at Sundance in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, is about a young woman who has to come to terms with being disfigured. Vicky Knight, in...
Divine Love
Divine Love (2019), dir. Gabriel MascaroAs a voiceover at the beginning of the film sets it in Brazil in the year 2027, we assume that we are about to watch a dystopian fable that forecasts a future close to our own, filled with cautionary messages about...
Dolce Fine Giornata
Dolce Fine Giornata (2019), dir. Jacek BorcuchMaria Linde is a Nobel Prize winning poet, a survivor of the Holocaust and a refugee to Italy where she settled and married. She lives in a beautiful house in the Tuscan countryside enjoying the privileges...
Gaza
Gaza (2019), dir. Garry Keane and Andrew McConnellThis is a remarkable movie about ordinary people living on the Gaza Strip. What we discover is the misery and hopelessness of living in Gaza. We also discover the resourcefulness and courage of the Palestinians...
Groundhog Day at 25: Conflict and Inspiration at the Tipping Point of Seasonal Genres
Over 25 years after the release of Groundhog Day, its legacy as an inspirational film remains unimpeachable. "The film has become a curious favorite of religious leaders of many faiths," noted Alex Kuczynski in 2003, "who all see in Groundhog Day a reflection...
Hail Satan?
Hail Satan? (2019), dir. Penny LaneThe Satanic Temple is certainly not subtle. Whenever a state legislature proposes to place a monument of the Ten Commandments on the property of a state capitol, they follow with a proposal to place a statue of Baphomet...
Hala
Hala (2019), dir. Minhal BaigMuslim teenager Hala is the child of immigrants from Pakistan. Her parents keep a close eye on her as they worry about the influences of American culture: her mother is perturbed when she skips her morning prayers (fajr),...
I Am Mother
I Am Mother (2019), dir. Grant SputoreI Am Mother is a twist on the regular post-apocalyptic sci-fi film. Rather than there being a ragtag group of humans suffering to eke out a meager existence on a destroyed planet, all that we see that remains in...
Lapü
Lapü (2019), dir. Juan Pablo Polanco, César Alejandro JaimesDoris is a young Wayúu woman in Columbia who has a dream of her dead cousin. She tells her grandmother that her cousin appeared but did not speak to her in the dream, which her grandmother interprets...
Light from Light
Light from Light (2019), dir. Paul Harrill"Are you a believer or a skeptic?" is the straightforward question put to the protagonist, Sheila (Marin Ireland), in the opening scene of Light from Light which premiered at Sundance in the category of NEXT...
Markie in Milwaukee
Markie in Milwaukee (2019), dir. Matt KliegmanMarkie in Milwaukee is a fascinating memoir and an amazing documentary film, making its world premiere at Slamdance. Here's the story. Mark Anthony Wenzel discovers at an early age that he is a woman in a...
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements (2019), dir. Irene Taylor BrodskyWho gets to define a full life? What do we need to communicate and connect with others? What truly limits us?These are just a few of the existential queries raised for me...
Of God, Humanity, and the World: Reflections on "The Truman Show"
Popular analysis of the 1998 movie The Truman Show generally has focused on the comments the movie is making about our media culture and corporate influence in our lives. This is understandable. The movie depicts the production of a television program...
Report from the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival
This is the 25th Anniversary of the Slamdance Film Festival. It began in the mid-nineties and was first called "Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah" because it was an alternative to the wellestablished Sundance Film Festival. But Slamdance has now established...
Seadrift
Seadrift (2019), dir. Tim TsaiThis is a documentary feature that everyone interested in immigration issues should see. Oh, the lessons we can learn from this story and this film!In the late 1970s, South Vietnamese refugees were invited to the United...
Seeing like the Buddha: Enlightenment through Film
Cho, Francisca. Seeing Like the Buddha: Enlightenment through Film. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2017.Francisca Cho's Seeing Like the Buddha: Enlightenment through Film is, to date, the most important contribution to the academic exploration...
Sister Aimee
Sister Aimee (2019), dir. Samantha Buck and Marie SchlingmannAimee Semple McPherson is a fascinating and complicated figure in the history of American religion. A conservative Christian evangelist and healer, she founded the Foursquare Gospel Church,...
Spiral Farm
Spiral Farm (2019), dir. Alec TibaldiSpiral Farm, for which the movie is named, is a commune-like community that is off the beaten path. It is identified as a place of understanding and a place of acceptance-noble goals to be sure. Spiral Farm is a mostly...
The Farewell
Billi (Awkwafina) is a struggling writer living in New York City who talks to her grandmother in China every day. She has not visited China for many years. But when she learns that her grandmother, "Nai Nai," has a terminal lung cancer diagnosis, she...
Them That Follow
Pentecostal movements that handle snakes as part of their religious rituals are few in number, perhaps being only 40-100 congregations in Appalachia today. They base their practice on Mark 16:17-18: "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In...
The Representation of Turkish Women in James Bond Films
General observationsWhile the popularity of James Bond as a film character continues to flourish at the cinema box office, it is no surprise that his role has required revisions in order to appropriately update his significance within an everevolving...
Touched by Grace? A Look at Grace in Bergman's Winter Light and Martin Luther's Writings
IntroductionDespite Ingmar Bergman's opposition to institutional religion, the word and the phenomenon of grace play an important role in several of his movies.1 catherine Wheatley argues that Bergman was an agnostic concerned with the loss of religion....
Who Is like God? the Deer Hunter as Angelic Allegory
IntroductionThis past December marked the fortieth anniversary of Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter.1 The film's initial reception sparked as much controversy as it garnered acclaim, with many critics censuring its ahistorical approach to the Vietnam...
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