Shown evident through the Renaissance, and many other movements related to Christian art, it is true that Catholicism is an aesthetic religion. Do you think that that aesthetic movement from Catholicism has carried over to film with filmmakers such as Scorsese amongst others and Jesuit and Catholic film schools such as USC and Chapman?
I really think that religion has affected film in many ways in general, like how you referred to Scorsese.
What is an aesthetic religion?
I care, but I think there is a thread about this already. I’m Catholic, Robert Bresson was Catholic and it does matter. I was just watching “A Serious Man” by the Coen brothers and that film is a testament to the fact that our religion does matter, it affects what we create.
I would say an aesthetic religion is one whom has a certain focal point in terms of artistic beauty.
My feelings exactly Berjuan, I don’t necessarily think our films should preach or religion, but I do think we are influenced by what we believe in.
I FOUND IT!!
Omar how do you think Catholicism affects films? Can you share some examples?
Yeah i am very curious to hear what you have to say about that since you just made a bold comment but nothing to back it up.
Oh, thanks man!
hmmm, good question. Well what I really believe is that since Catholicism has always been a religion surrounded and based around artistic beauty, hence the stained glass windows, basilicas, cathedrals, all the statues and paintings by the masters of the art, I think that this heavy philosophy on aestheticism has been rooted in the descendants of these Catholic artists or just Catholics in general. The inspiration for all these past are arts have now been carried through in this new medium of cinema.
I wish I could find the interview where Almodovar talks about how he loves the Catholic aestethic and how he uses it as inspiration in some of his films, but thanks for bringing this up. I guess Bresson would be the greatest example with his Diary of a Country Priest and his views on grace.
Interesting, do you know if Alfonso Cuaron is Catholic?
I’ve been thinking about Bresson and Catholicism a bit of late, but I’m definitely looking in from the outside. Jazzaloha and I are hoping to get some people to coordinate viewings so that we can all talk about a film we have recently seen. I want to launch one such discussion early next week about Bresson’s Mouchette. So if you have some ideas about Bresson and religion, particularly in regards to Mouchette, I hope you will join that discussion. I’ll put a post up to start it off on Monday or Tuesday.
USC and Chapman are not Jesuit or Catholic film schools. I don’t know where you got that from. They are both part of private universities without religious affiliation.
I thought Bresson was an atheist.
Btw, I think this is an interesting subject. I’d like to hear some specific ways Catholicism has influenced films/filmmaking—with some specific examples. I’m assuming that when you guys say “influence” you don’t necessary mean that the films are overtly Catholic (i.e. the subject matter is directly about or included Catholicism), but something more subtle?
Is Abel Ferrara a Catholic? Some of his films seem to indicate that he is.
I’m an atheist but I have a serious thing for nuns. I’ve started to explore the world of nunsploitation cinema, although I don’t think this is quite what you folks mean.
Without Catholicism, many great artists wouldn’t have anything to rebel against.
Looking into Almodovar and Catholicism would be interesting. I didn’t think about that at all when watching his movies, but thinking back, maybe I should have.
I saw “Broken Embraces” last December and all I wondered was why didn’t I choose a different film. I wouldn’t have went if the other person didn’t suggest it.
…then again, there were less tempting choices.
I read the thread that Berjuan linked to. It’s a good thread as far as it goes, but I’d like to see more discussion in the context of particular films. Anybody else feel that way?
@Bobby Wise: As it turns out, Chapman University started out as a Christian (not Catholic) institution. From their Web site:
“Chapman University was founded as Hesperian College in Woodland, Calif., on March 4, 1861. The institution’s founders were members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), who believed in equal education for males and females of all races. Unfortunately, around the turn of the century, as California started offering free public education, many private schools were forced to close, including Hesperian in 1895. The following year, the Disciples founded the Berkeley Bible Seminary at UC Berkeley, which incorporated the assets of Hesperian. But by 1912, the seminary’s population had dwindled to 35 students, so the church decided to transfer its remaining assets to a new Disciples college in Los Angeles. The principal benefactor for the school was Charles Clarke Chapman, an Illinois native who found great success in Southern California as a real estate investor, producer and marketer of Valencia oranges, as well as a politician and avid supporter of the Disciples.”
Another aspect of Catholicism and film:
The question of whether Alfred Hitchcock was a Roman Catholic artist was probably first addressed in print by Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol in their groundbreaking monograph, Hitchcock: The First Forty-Four Films. In addition to pioneering the notion that the auteur was a Roman Catholic artist with consistent themes and stylistic/iconographic obsessions, that volume used autobiographical details of the director’s life (his father’s harsh discipline, his Jesuit teachers’ corporal punishment, and even his repressed sexuality) to document a cinematic moral universe as multifaceted and indeterminate as the world he lived in. They also located recurring Catholic themes and motifs such as Original Sin, exchange of guilt, martyrdom, crucifixion, Pieta, etc., in many of his movies.
The pageantry and rituals of the Catholic Church are also aspects of how its pomp enters into the consciousness of filmmakers, especially those from predominately Catholic lands — Italy, Ireland, Spain, South America, etc.
Yeah, I read about that Christian link in the history of Chapman University. But I still didn’t think it was strong enough to call Chapman a Christian college. If for no other reason than I don’t believe that they identify themselves that way. And I know for sure about USC!
I have still yet to read Rohmer and Chabrol’s book on Hitchcock. It’s something I’ve wanted to read for years. But I don’t think a translated version existed until recently, right?
“consistent themes and stylistic/iconographic obsessions, that volume used autobiographical details of the director’s life (his father’s harsh discipline, his Jesuit teachers’ corporal punishment, and even his repressed sexuality) to document a cinematic moral universe as multifaceted and indeterminate as the world he lived in. They also located recurring Catholic themes and motifs such as Original Sin, exchange of guilt, martyrdom, crucifixion, Pieta, etc., in many of his movies.”
That sound like the old tired way of looking at it. I find it very cliche. I there anybody that writes about it in a different way? The reason I was interested in Almodovar’s interpretation/influences was because it was fresh. Rohmner and Chabrol’s interpretation seems absolete.
Well, it was written half a century ago!
@Bobby Wise: Yes, the English translation of the Rohmer-Chabrol book on Hitch is readily available, having been published first in 1979.
@Berjuan: In the sense that thematic and psycho-biographical criticism is somewhat out of fashion these days, yes, HITCHCOCK: THE FIRST 44 FILMS is a bit outdated. However, it was very influential in its day and many of their ideas were used by subsequent scholars such as Robin Wood, who brought serious Hitchcock analysis to the English language. Given that many current paradigms in film studies (such as cultural studies) do not even deal with the films themselves, I don’t think that an auteurist approach should be considered obsolete — or even “absolete” as you put it.
“Without Catholicism, many great artists wouldn’t have anything to rebel against.”
uummm, you’re forgetting close-mindedness. sheesh, it’s not all about the Abrahamic religions dammit.
HAIL MARY, Jean-Luc Godard, 1986
Viridiana (1961) Luis Buñuel