But there is no dogma associated with it, there is no attempt to explain, but just to experience, question, reflect — there is always dogma associated with religion.
But you don’t think novels and films do explain and help us understand, even if this is indirect? I agree that, for the most part, art doesn’t offer systemic dogma about these important questions, but hasn’t art helped some of these big questions? I think it has for me, and I’m a Christian. But art has never been as satisfying in terms of addressing these questions as Christianity has for me. Part of this discussion is an attempt to understand that.
Also, a link to a paper I wrote on this subject when I did my theology degree:
People are no longer relying on traditional religious institutions such as the Church to provide answers to many of the fundamental questions pertaining to human existence, and contemporary secular agencies such as film are taking this function. Critically assess this claim.
That link didn’t work, so here’s the essay in full. Bear in mind that this was written when I was an undergraduate.
People are no longer relying on traditional religious institutions such as the Church to provide answers to many of the fundamental questions pertaining to human existence, and contemporary secular agencies such as film are taking this function.’ Critically assess this claim.
While Western society may be largely built on the foundations of the Christian faith, there can be little doubt that it is becoming increasingly secular. We live in a post-Enlightenment era where religion is no longer being understood as providing the only answers to life’s most important questions. It is the purpose of this study to show that the answers to these questions are being sought not only outside the sphere of religion, but increasingly within the cultural arena – specifically in the visual medium of film. The nature of this study will therefore be two-fold. Firstly, there will be an engagement with scholarly debate surrounding the role of film as a cultural medium that may or may not be supplanting religion. Secondly, the fundament questions, or issues, pertaining to human existence will be briefly outlined and discussed in relation to a selection of four popular films from different genres – as such films represent our best indication of the willingness of the masses to engage with the aforementioned questions. Film as the New Religion – An Eschatological Perspective
In Luke 18:8, the evangelist recounts the words of Christ concerning his return: “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” The question is rhetorical and the implication clear – when the world comes to an end, belief in God will have all but vanished. Perhaps the best indication of the contemporary Western societies diminishing faith in a creator God is the decline in church attendance and the rise of secularism. However, answers to questions that have occupied the minds of theologians and philosopher through the ages are still being sought by those who no longer subscribe to theistic belief. Furthermore, even those who do subscribe to such a belief are starting to look outside of the Church for answers to these questions, as Robert K. Johnston observes:
“Conversations about God – what we have traditionally called theology – is increasingly found outside the church as well as within it. One of the chief venues for such conversation is the movie theatre with its adjacent café’s. With attendance at church stagnating and with movie viewing at theatres and through video stores at an all-time high, Christian’s find themselves wanting to get back into the conversation but often are not able to do so effectively.”
Johnston’s observations seems to highlight an increasing trend among modern day Christian’s to attempt to engage with a popular culture that is becoming increasingly interested in spiritual ideas. Of course this is not without historical and biblical precedent, as witnessed in the Apostle Paul’s encounter with the statues of gods in Athens (Acts 17). Paul too wanted to know what the art of Hellenistic society said about the spiritual beliefs of that culture, and he was able to relate his knowledge to his evangelism. So today’s Christian’s have a hermeneutically valid reason for wanting to engage with the cultural medium of film. However, the extent to which contemporary popular film reveals anything about the spiritual beliefs of modern society is problematic, as Joel W. Martin makes clear:
“In some key ways, film exceeds religion. The Police Academy movies, for instance, do not appear very promising case studies for our purposes. An interpreter might find a quasi-Christian morality encoded in these movies (the first shall be last and the last shall be first), but the yield hardly seems worth the effort, and a person advancing such an interpretation will appear humourless and driven. "
So clearly not all films are worthy of entering into a theological dialogue with. Indeed, Martin here highlights the distinction between film as entertainment as film as art. However, this distinction is not always easy to make. For example, the film adaptations of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings may well come from great works of literature, but their transition to the big screen has, at least in the case of the former, severely diminished their artistic credibility and essentially rendered them entertainment.
However, those films that can be considered works of art, perhaps best defined as auteur cinema, remain worthy of engagement with Christian audiences. Furthermore, John David Graham argues that the Christian viewers interaction with such films may help inspire theological thought:
“Like other media, film can stimulate or communicate theological reflection in the reader of the film. That can be evoked by the often powerful effect which the film has as we watch it and later reflect on that experience. By the very nature of the experience of watching it, film tends to be all-absorbing, especially when in the cinema. Even film on television can exercise a similar demand for total commitment from us, even if interruptions are more likely.”
It is this all-absorbing nature of film, especially within the setting of the cinema, which makes the interaction between film and audience comparable to that between preacher and congregation. Both preacher and film are communicating a message to an audience of onlookers whose attention is fixed for that period of time. Indeed, the coffee shop dialogue spoken of by Johnston may also be seen in the coffee and chat that often follows a Sunday service. In this sense then, cinema may be viewed as fulfilling a similar role to the Church in society. However, this does not necessarily make Christian viewer interaction any less valid, although an awareness of the comparison may help the Christian gain a better sense of perspective and proportionality. While the believing Christian may be permitted to interact with film, or films, they should not allow cultural institutions such as the cinema to gain the same level of significance as the Church in their lives. Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews makes the eschatological importance of regular fellowship abundantly clear: “…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25). The cinema may provide a limited basis for such fellowship, but the local church remains the natural platform for the meeting together of believers.
The cinema nevertheless stands as cultural arena where people may go for something more than entertainment. While its overall significance for the Christian must remain secondary in relation to the Church, Sylvain De Bleeckere argues that its importance to those outside of the Church may be more substantial:
“Film can be seen as a privileged and decentred field for postmodern mankind, in which it can freely express its religious feelings and thoughts. Film creates an important extra-ecclesiastical and non-clerical, as well as non-modernist, space of religious evocation for the person who learns to live without all-too-human illusions.”
Indeed, it may be the ‘non-clerical’ nature of cinema, free from the traditional regulations of organised religion, which makes it a more acceptable institution for an increasingly secular society. However, De Bleeckere uncovers and interesting paradox insofar as the relativist nature of postmodern society makes contact with religious ideas unavoidable. Indeed, a society which views religious belief as an integral part of a wider narrative gives religion a more fertile ground for expression than it had under Modernism – even if the convicting power of religion has been somewhat diminished. So religious thought remains an integral part of postmodern culture and while the consequences of such thought still remain unclear, the parallels with religion that can be seen in movie culture may reflect mankind’s inherent need for religious expression, as Christopher Deacy suggests:
“The very fact, then, that we are inclined to accord to film actors and actresses the status of ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ is testimony that films have the potential to fulfil certain religious needs and requirements, event to the degree that, to quote Bryant, ‘movies participate in this culture’s primordial longing for intercourse with the gods’” (Bryant, 1982. p. 106).
Deacy may be speaking more specifically about the excesses of celebrity culture in relation to film, but his insights are cogent nonetheless. The fact that film actors have been elevated to such iconic status highlights the power of cinema in society. While those who venerate such figures may not watch their films with the intention of looking for meaning, they have nevertheless found it in the performances, not to mention beauty, of the actors and actresses they admire. While this may be a more shallow approach to engaging with film, its impact on society is undeniable.
Religious considerations aside, film remains a medium to which people keep returning in order to seek meaning for their lives. This quest for meaning might also find its expression within the content of a film, as Ernest Ferlita suggests:
“Film is a form of dramatic art ideally suited to the portrayal of the passion for meaning. Because of its unique power to imitate action in time and space, it can show man in search of meaning through every technique at its command…Not surprisingly, the quest for meaning will often take the form of a journey; we should not be surprised, then, if the motion picture is of all the dramatic arts best able to depict man on the move. Nor should we be surprised if film appears to be the most suitable art for supporting our continued or renewed quest for meaning.”
So the quest for meaning continues with viewer and auteur alike. Furthermore, Ferlita’s contention that cinema may provide the best basis for this quest may be significant – insofar as the cinema, and film in general, provide perhaps the most accessible form of media in contemporary society. However, the ‘meaning’ that these various scholars refer to, in their examination of film in relation to religion, remains somewhat abstract. In order to ascertain the exact nature of the questions being asked, a more specific analysis is required.
Concerning Human Existence – The Eternal Question in Popular Film
While the questions pertaining to human existence have occupied the minds of our earliest philosophers, it was with the rise of Existentialism that we saw the process of personal inquiry begin to flourish in Western Society. While Existentialism may be seen as having Christian roots, as evidenced in the faith of proto-Existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, it can equally be seen as a school of thought independent from religion, as evidenced in the views of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Satre. Without going into an in-depth analysis of Existentialism, Colin Brown correctly identifies eight key themes of Existentialist though:
“…personal existence as contrasted with impersonal existence, the absurdity of life and the quest for meaning and validity, human freedom (or the lack of it), choices and the will, individual isolation, anxiety, dread and death.”
Indeed, these are eight common concerns that form the basis for Existentialist philosophy. Since, then, these are issues that are common to humanity and are being asked more frequently in a post-Enlightenment age, it should not be surprising that contemporary film makers are both asking and attempting to answer these questions in their films. It is therefore useful to examine the content of some relevant popular films in order to analyse how these questions are being addressed in this context. Some popular films (i.e. films that did good business) from various genres have been chosen. These films were chosen over independent or art-house cinema, as their popularity is the best indication of the willingness of the masses to engage with the questions that they address. High Noon dir. Fred Zinnemann, (1952)
Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 western cost $750,000 dollars to make and grossed $18,000,000 worldwide. It won four Academy Awards in 1953, and is considered a classic of the genre. It tells the story of Sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper), who is set to retire on his wedding day which also happens to be the day an old enemy is released from prison. The odds are stacked against the sheriff as his old adversary has three men as hired-help all lying in wait for him, whereas Kane is unable to find anyone willing to help him. Larry J. Kreitzer focuses on the specifically Christian aspects of the film as he sees a Christ analogy played out in the figure of Kane, as he is deserted by his friends and left to wait for the hour of judgement. In more general terms, however, Kreitzer highlights the confrontation between good and evil as it plays itself out in relation to light and darkness in this film. It is in this sense, then, that High Noon can be related to existential questions outside of Christianity concerning individual isolation, freedom of choice, anxiety, dread and death. Indeed, the western may be the one genre where the polarity between good and evil, as well as the black and white nature of moral values, may find its most clear cinematic expression. Psycho dir. Alfred Hitchcock, (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller come horror of 1960 cost $806,947 to make and grossed $50,000,000 worldwide. The story involves damsel in distress Marion Crane’s (Janet Leigh) ill-feted stay at the Bate’s Motel and slowly focuses on the title character’s twisted relationship with his mother. While Psycho’s popularity has never been in doubt, it was not well received by critics at the time of its release, although it has since come to be regarded as a classic of the genre and highly influential work. With this film Hitchcock subverted many of the conventions familiar to the horror and thriller genres of the day and surprised the cinema-going world with an entirely darker and more disturbing work than they had ever seen before. Larry E. Grimes contends that Hitchcock was an “idealist in search of universal truths about the emotional, if not the cognitive, life of human beings.” Furthermore, Grimes maintains that the ‘universal truths’ of sin and death are the chief features of the film: “…the body of the film speaks of corruption and death. Its biblical message is clear: the wages of sin is death.” While Grimes’s identification of these themes is closely tied to a specifically Christian worldview, the universal nature of Hitchcock’s work has already been established. Even if the concept of sin or evil is problematic in a relativist society, the issue of death is one that must be faced by all members of society, irrespective of their metanarrative. It is in this respect that the horror genre may provide the best cinematic platform for people to engage with ideas of evil, as well as human mortality. The Piano dir. Jane Campion, (1993)
Jane Campion’s 1993 drama is good example of a small independent film crossing over to a mainstream audience. As well as winning three Academy Awards, it was also the recipient of the Palm d’Or, the highest accolade at Cannes Film Festival. The film cost $7,000,000 to make and grossed $40,158,000 worldwide. It tells the story the mute Ada (Holly Hunter) and her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin), who have made the long journey by sea from Scotland to New Zealand for Ada to participate in an arranged marriage with a settler named Stewart (Sam Neill). After Stewart refuses to allow Ada to bring her grand piano to their house, insisting that she leave it on the beach, she grows gradually disenchanted with him and begins a slow-burning affair with a settler called Baines (Harvey Keitel,) after he salvages the piano. David Rhoads and Sandra Roberts call The Piano, “…a dark film about power – the power of the will against the power of domination.” The domination to which Rhoads and Roberts refer can be seen in three different ways: in the domineering attitude of Stewart towards his wife, in the subtle interplay between Ada and Baines in their sexual encounters, and in the sexual repression caused by the imposed religion of the settlers. Therefore, The Piano might be reasonably viewed as being anti-religion, although it may be more reasonable to see it as asking questions about religion. If so, then the film demands an engagement from the viewer as they attempt to draw their own conclusions about religion as it is presented in the film. Beyond this, The Piano addresses the existential questions pertaining to isolation, human freedom and choices of the will. Finally, The Piano shows that the genre of drama may prove the most effective in causing the viewer to engage with the deepest of human emotions. The Truman Show dir. Peter Weir, (1998)
Peter Weir’s critically acclaimed 1998 comedy cost an estimated $60,000,000 to make, and grossed $125,603,360. The story centres on title character Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) and the false reality that has been built up around him in the form of a hit reality TV show where actors play given roles in his life in an effort to maintain the illusion. As such, it can be seen as a prescient view of where Western television was headed in the nineties – the reality TV boom did not occur until the new century. Remarking on the director’s creative vision and worldview, Johnston writes: “In The Truman Show, we perhaps see Weir’s “counterculture” mind-set as he explores the spiritual consequences of virtual reality in our computer age.” One of the consequences Johnston refers to is that social disorders such as voyeurism start to become social norms when they are normalised as part of media culture. In this respect, then, the film asks serious questions of the viewer concerning their accepted patterns of behaviour in a society that is becoming, if not morally, then increasingly ethically abnormal. The impact of this as far as existential considerations are concerned is that an engagement with this film will cause the viewer to reassess their existence in relation to the society in which they live. The film also deals with the illusions that society presents us with and challenges the viewer to look beyond the material world into the possibility of a greater reality. The existential issues of isolation, human freedom, choices of the will and fear of the unknown are also borne out in the film. Furthermore, The Truman Show demonstrates that comedy may be the best cinematic genre for presenting a subversive view of society, as its inherent humour renders it deliberately disarming. Conclusion
In the final analysis it has been shown that cinema can be seen to be playing the role of religion in different ways within contemporary society. While this does not preclude Christian’s from engaging with film in an attempt to start an evangelistic dialogue with society, the higher value of cinema for society is best evidenced in its significance for those outside of religion. In this respect cinema can be seen to have replaced religious institutions such as the Church. The eschatological implications of this are also made evident in this respect – although a direct correlation between declining church attendance and increasing box office sales cannot be established. The attempt of auteur directors to address both Christian themes as well as existential themes found outside the sphere of religion has also been established. As mentioned, popularity of such films provides us with the best indication that the general public are seeking answers to these questions. The titular claim of this study therefore proves valid when understood in accordance with these distinctions.
The role of film (and other popular culture) playing a role in religion is evident in the church’s constant need to ape popular culture. If the church does not act like the world, the world will reject the church. The church is afraid to let the Gospel speak for itself, because the Gospel is both simple and amazingly complex at the same time. It’s challenges to the world, and its judgements are not cool.
So a lot of younger people are cool with religion as long as it is wrapped in a cultural packaging that they can groove to. When it is not wrapped in that package, they say they can’t relate. The real problem is that these people do not see religious concepts as something that exist beyond our immediate cultural milieu.
Film becomes a substitute for religion because it offers emotional catharsis, and it does offer ways of understanding the world that one can turn to. And it is also very entertaining, does not ask much of us, and (in the internet age) is extremely accessible. Film also does not have canon (at least not in the same way that organized religions do), and it is therefore easier to pick and choose what one relates to and turns to. The Bible, for instance, is full of a lot of things that are very confusing and difficult to process. But because it is canon, followers should not think they have the luxury of taking what they like and tossing the rest away. In cinema, you can take Casablanca and leave Citizen Kane if you feel like it. You are beholden to no one.
Cinema is an easy religion because it requires nothing.
EDIT: These remarks refer to the American church only. I do not pretend to speak for religious cultures in other parts of the world.
“High Priest of Cinema, tell me if my date is going feel me up during The Mirror.”
Jazz, one point is that we are aware that films are fully human creations. Religions—after they have been around long enough—can deny this. This is most obvious with revealed religions. A problem that the Mormon church has is that it is rather young and there is quite a bit of information about its origins that the Mormons don’t control. So for a lot of outsiders it still looks too obviously like a bunch of people got together and concocted a new religion and rather dubiously claimed it as a revelation.
If you are using film (or other art) as “a replacement for religion”, then I would think that your interests would be in considering the views of—obviously human—artists as opposed to the views of supposed supernatural entities. This might mean somewhat less susceptibility to dogmatism. On the other hand, when you consider how common dogmatic political or economic ideologies are, you would probably just conclude that lots of people are highly susceptible to dogma no matter what.
There is the separate question of religion as a way of organizing social interaction and community. Are there any Unitarian-like groups who get together every Sunday for services and just swap out the sermon for a suitably meaty film? I wouldn’t be surprised.
IMDBEN, church attendance in Western countries has fallen quite a bit faster than religious belief, so I am not sure you are addressing the “replacement of religion” (as I take Jazz to mean it) so much as religion moving out of churches. People can certainly look at films as commentary on, and interpretations of, preexisting religious ideas.
i haven’t read this entire thread but i’ve always felt that art, science and religion were separate paths toward some form of objective truth. and the search continues :)
To me the interesting connection between religion and art, as well as some other areas of life such as jurisprudence, lies in the necessity of interpretation, bias, and assertion of “truth”. For those who are a part of an organized religion or rely on some sacred book as the basis of their spiritual understanding, there is a demand for a sort of interpretation of what is seen as the passed down word of truth from some higher being or their representatives on earth. At the extremes, people adopt a sort of literalism or fundamentalism that basically works as a denial of abstract thinking, of a large area of human existence. These people see things as black and white, and claim to take what is written as “truth” even though that “truth” may be rife with contradiction and ambiguity as it was written in an era far distant from our own. They therefore are indeed interpreting the words, but in a manner that doesn’t admit interpretation as their belief in the evident meaning is so clear to themselves that arguing or suggesting ambiguity doesn’t register with them. The idea that the concepts given down by this higher being are not clear is anathema to them as it violates their notion of communication and “truth”. They simply can’t see things as having nuance, there is a right and wrong that are inarguable.
This can be seen in some art aficionados in a related way as their idea of excellence brooks no dispute, they are the sole arbitrators of what is good or right, and anyone disagreeing with them is not unlike a heretic. In jurisprudence, one can see someone like Clarence Thomas as being of a similar bent as his belief in the rightness and universal application of the constitution is so powerful that it doesn’t allow for the possibility of there being any doubt that the document contains the truth to sort out any dispute. His failure of abstract thinking is such that it demands a truth be seen even if it isn’t, to the non-believer, clear from the words themselves. he can see the answer as evident because he believes the document only contains evident answers to the problems he will face. Which may provide some answer as to why he doesn’t ask questions during hearings; he doesn’t need to, the “answer” is already evident.
On the other side, there are those that claim membership of a religion but don’t hold to its teachings or dogma. They instead adopt an attitude of fitting the “truth” to what they already believe and ignoring the rest. In art, this is the type of appreciation that sees what it wants and is content with that as it fits the preconceived ideas the person already holds. Any work that challenges that belief is seen as either too confusing to be understood or “bad”. They too reject a more complex struggle with interpretation as they don’t want to be held accountable or to put in the work to see the contradictions that may be inherent in the work and therefore may not provide the predetermined solace they seek.
In itself, a claim to a true interpretation is already riven with contradiction as anything so obviously true need not be interpreted as what it says is evident, and interpretation in itself is an act of asserting one’s own understanding on top of the work of another which will unavoidably alter that work in some way. There’s a Jewish joke this all reminds me of which asserts the value of interpretation as an act in itself and recognizes that engaging in interpretation is a communal act in terms of its application to a wider social order and there is not something that has an answer or absolute truth inherent within it, it is all to be worked through.
Not in Heaven
So it seems that these four rabbis had a series of theological arguments, and three were always in accord against the fourth. One day, the odd rabbi out, after the usual “3 to 1, majority rules” statement that signified that he had lost again, decided to appeal to a higher authority.
“Oh, God!” he cried. “I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong! Please give me a sign to prove it to them!”
It was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as the rabbi finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It rumbled once and dissolved. “A sign from God! See, I’m right, I knew it!” But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm clouds form on hot days.
So the rabbi prayed again: “Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. So please, God, a bigger sign!” This time four storm clouds appeared, rushed toward each other to form one big cloud, and a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree on a nearby hill.
“I told you I was right!” cried the rabbi, but his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.
The rabbi was getting ready to ask for a very big sign, but just as he said, “Oh God…,” the sky turned pitch black, the earth shook, and a deep, booming voice intoned, “HEEEEEEEE’SRIIIIIIIGHT!”
The rabbi put his hands on his hips, turned to the other three, and said, “Well?”
“So,” shrugged one of the other rabbis, “now it’s 3 to 2.”
Believe it or not, there is a story in the Talmud that is quite similar to this joke. During a legal dispute, one Rabbi came to the opposite conclusion as all of the other Rabbis. The lone rabbi was so confident about his point of view that he called upon God to testify to the correct opinion. Sure enough, God sided with the Rabbi in the minority. Upon hearing the Divine pronouncement, the rabbinic majority were not moved from their opinion because they had been given the assurance that the Torah was “not in heaven.” It was given to human beings to interpret using the Divinely given system of legal analysis by leading rabbis of the generation. So the Talmud not only contains existential truths but jokes too! Who knew?
As to the rest or gist of the question, I find the idea of art being a direct substitute for religion to be a little difficult to argue for, but it can be viewed from certain angles as providing a similar sort of satiation perhaps. But given I am in all things agnostic, my take on it is somewhat biased.
@ Jazz Giving one a sense of why they’re here on earth; providing a way to live one’s life; giving a sense of what happens after death, etc. Wouldn’t you agree that getting some answers to these questions would provide some comfort and stability? The religions that include a loving, all-powerful god can be comforting and stabilizing for obvious reasons as well.
I was going to write a response, but after reading Greg’s post, he pretty much covered it.
It comes down to interpreting a narrative full of contradictions and ambiguity.
Why isn’t existence concrete or a better question, why do humans need to wrestle with ambiguity?
Quite obviously there is a biological need to do so: adaptation.
And here adaptation is:Upon hearing the Divine pronouncement, the rabbinic majority were not moved from their opinion because they had been given the assurance that the Torah was “not in heaven.”It was given to human beings to interpret using the Divinely given system of legal analysis by leading rabbis of the generation.
Yes, getting answers to those questions is important, but the answers don’t come from God, most of them come from science. The questions leftover from science, can be answered by art.
Are there Godless religions that have some kind of parallel to experiencing art?
“IMDBEN, church attendance in Western countries has fallen quite a bit faster than religious belief, so I am not sure you are addressing the “replacement of religion” (as I take Jazz to mean it) so much as religion moving out of churches. People can certainly look at films as commentary on, and interpretations of, preexisting religious ideas”
That paper was admittedly written for an undergraduate course the focussed on Christian Theology, so the scope is a little narrow, for sure. I was also limited to 3000 words, and this is a subject that surely deserves a lengthier, more thorough treatment. For example, I didn’t have sufficient space to deal with the film industry in India and what that might say about religion in that culture. But surely my thesis bares relevance in relation to Western society, or is this thread only concerned with Eastern religion?
I disagree that film takes the same role as religion. First, religion fills different roles for different people. For some people it’s an absolute guide to the makings of the universe, for conservatives it’s a means for power and control and a validation of self-superiority, for my mother it’s a forum for community. I suppose film can be a forum for community as we ourselves prove, but for most people it’s really just another outlet for people to be interested in something they can share and discuss with others.
I’ve actually heard these statements from quite a number of people:
“Boondock Saints is my religion.”
“Michael Bay is God.”
How would you respond to that? It isn’t as deep or profound as you thought film now, is it?
I have always believe watching The Wages of Fear was a personal religious experience.
Then in one mubi thread (of all places) a bunch of folks questioned its brilliance. Blasphemy! Frankly, I wanted to crucify the lots.
But you don’t think novels and films do explain and help us understand, even if this is indirect? I agree that, for the most part, art doesn’t offer systemic dogma about these important questions, but hasn’t art helped some of these big questions?
I don’t know Jazz. I think art reflects, it helps us to reflect, and that is a part of trying to come to terms with whatever is unknown or not understood in our lives. The big difference is that it doesn’t provide THE answer, and if the artist is egotistical enough to do that, he isn’t an artist, he’s a preacher.
Oooh I hate preachy art.
How would you respond to that?
When people say a film is a religion or a director is a god, I consider it an expression of extreme admiration. Nothing more.
Unless they actually have mental problems. And some people do.
“Boondock Saints is my religion.”
yeah sometimes i’m ashamed to be from boston
Yes, anyone who uses hyperbole should die.
Art can present a different perspective on the ‘big questions’, and those perspectives can help us clarify our own, but that’s different from looking at art as a religion.
Yes. I’d rather go to Arclight Hollywood on Sunday morning than any silly church. Guess film IS my religeon.