Journal of Religion and Film

Articles from Vol. 18, No. 1, 2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
If the information that this is "the first Iranian vampire film" doesn't pique your interest, don't worry, there's more to this tale than a straightforward horror flick. Shot in black and white cinematography, each shot is beautiful, reminiscent of both...
Appropriate Behavior
If you are a bisexual woman in an ideal Persian family, what is "appropriate behavior?" Shirin, played by writer and director, Desiree Akhavan, is making the effort to answer this question.In this delightfully funny film, Shirin must navigate a relationship...
Calvary
After the allegations of child sexual abuse against some members of the Catholic clergy, can we ever look at a priest in a film, book or television show as a blank slate again? Can we ever wonder what sort of character the priest will be, or will we...
Chapel Perilous
(On Saturday, January 25, 2014, the YouTube Audience Award was presented at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony to CHAPEL PERILOUS, a short film in competition that garnered the greatest number of views on YouTube between January 16 and 24,...
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Picking up where Dead Snow left off, Dead Snow 2 adds another cult film to the zombie genre. The original film was noted for its use of "Nazi zombies" who appeared in the present day-once teenagers uncovered their horde of Jewish gold, of course. Although...
Drunktown's Finest
Writer/Director Sydney Freeland chose to create this dramatic film in response to a 20/20 news report about "Drunktown U.S.A.", a Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico. The film centres on "Sick Boy," (compellingly played by Jeremiah Bitsui) a young...
E-Team
Following a small team comprised of members from various countries who are described as the "Emergency (or E) Team," this documentary follows several years of research on human rights allegations, starting with Kosovo and moving to present day Syria....
First Baptist
Odell Bernard is the choir soloist at First Baptist. His brother, Moses, is the choir director. One night Moses catches Odell rehearsing at the church, wearing a red woman's wig. Moses is embanassed when he realizes that his brother is gay and he asks...
God's Pocket
God's Pocket is a dark comedy about a man and his wife. Her son is killed at work, but she does not believe that he died as his colleagues say he died. This sets off a series of adventures-maybe misadventures would be a better term. In the end, the husband...
Ida
Ida has been raised in a Catholic orphanage. In two weeks she will take her final vows and become a nun in a closed order. Before she takes her final vows, her Mother Superior suggests that Ida visit her aunt, her only living relative. This will bring...
Interview with Edet Belzberg
Interview with Edet Belzberg, Director of Watchers of the SkyEdet Belzberg made her directorial debut with the film Children Underground, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001: it documented unwanted children placed in orphanages in Romania...
Jamie Marks Is Dead
Who killed Jamie? This is the superficial question.But "What does the death of an adolescent do to those it leaves behind?" and, "How do teenagers explore death and the afterlife?" are the more complex questions explored in Jamie Marks is Dead.Jamie's...
Kidnapped for Christ
Kidnapped For Christ is a documentary film that follows the experiences of several American teenagers after they were kidnapped from their homes and sent to an Evangelical Reform school named Escuela Caribe located in the Dominican Republic. Many of...
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
Kumiko is an unhappy woman, living a sad life in Japan. She has a domineering boss who thinks she should already be married with a family - she is 29. Her closest companion is her bunny rabbit Bunzo. Kumiko is a treasure hunter - out on a windy beach,...
Life after Beth
We saw this movie because of the title's parallel with "life after death." And it is about life after death-Beth's death. Beth is a young woman who goes for a hike, is bitten by a snake, and dies. As everyone is grieving, Beth returns to life and her...
Little Hope Was Arson
This documentary is about someone setting fire to churches in East Texas in 2010. In all, ten churches were burned within the period of about one month, creating fear in the community. The fire at the first church, Little Hope Baptist Church, was thought...
No No: A Dockumentary
No No: A Dockumentary is the story of Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher, Dock Ellis. Dock played for the Pirates at a time when many baseball players used drugs of various sorts and Dock was no exception. Although he once pitched a no hitter under the influence...
Pink & Baby Blue
Pink & Baby Blue is a short film about gender. A young transgender person is trying to decide which restroom to use. The transgender person is wearing a dress and lipstick and so gets cruel stares from those using the men's room. This leads the transgender...
Song One
Song One is a story of family, of tragedy, of inspiration and of redemption. Franny (Anne Hathaway) has distanced herself from her family; her brother had decided to undertake an unorthodox career and she did not approve of this path. Rather than pursuing...
The Babadook
Samuel is a six year old boy who suffers from a fear of monsters. He wakes up his mom, Amelia, nightly to check under the bed and in the closet for monsters. But Sam is also proactive in his fear of monsters - he builds weapons to protect himself and...
The Case against 8
Religion has had a long history of approving or disapproving various forms of sexual behavior. In the last several decades, religion has taken on the issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In the United States, the disapproval of homosexuality,...
The Green Prince
The political and religious struggle between Israel and Palestine takes on a new vantage point when a member of the Shin Bet (Israeli secret service) turns a seventeen year old Palestinian youth into an Israeli spy. The Green Prince is a documentary...
The Overnighters
As a documentary film, this is the story of one pastor's efforts to live out the Christian virtues of loving your neighbor as yourself and showing compassion to those in need. Pastor Jay Reinke is the pastor of the Concordia Lutheran Church in Williston,...
The Sublime and Beautiful
The Sublime and Beautiful is based on a true story that the director Blake Robbins witnessed in his life. College professor David Conrad is a caring father of three children. He has an outwardly good relationship with his wife Kelly while he is cheating...
Watchers of the Sky
Watchers of the Sky is a documentary about dedication to an idea, and humanity's ability to want to help the world while at the same time seeing humanity's capacity at destroying the world through persecution and death. Director Edet Belzberg examines...
Web Junkie
Web Junkie is a documentary on the growing problem of Internet addiction in China. The film explores the practices of one military hospital which acts as a reprogramming facility for children suffering from online addiction.The majority of the children...
What We Do in the Shadows
When one watches a vampire movie, it tends to be filled with blood and gore and screams. Needless to say, there is quite a bit of blood in this film, but it's not your average horror flick: it's not really a horror film at all as you will laugh too much...
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