Sunday, July 10, 2011

Because Eve Tushnet always has such interesting posts...

Eve challenged her readers to think of Christian films and atheist films for hypothetical film festivals. Apparently, it's been easier for her readers to think of atheist films than Christian ones.

For the purpose of this post, she's talking about films that represent those worldviews, not necessarily films made by Christians or atheists.

Christian films

The Trial of Joan of Arc (d. Robert Bresson) - Not just because the subject is Joan, but because Bresson is focused on the suffering and humility of Joan, even her very human weaknesses, and her faith enables her to endure and transfigure those elements of her life. That transfiguration is the miracle we see in the film, not some fantastic magic trick (which is how film usually defines them).

Love Exposure (d. Shion Sono) - Actually, this film can probably be interpreted multiple ways. And while there is a fair amount anti-religious material here, it's notable that the worst behavior is of people who turn religion to their purposes. The hypocrites and those without humility are those that cause the most suffering, and it is love (both secular & religious) that gives the male protagonist the strength to struggle on against a world that is turned against him. It's also about the way that outcasts can find fellowship & express Christian brotherhood for each other. I'd love to see Eve's reaction to all the complex & weird ideas about religion, love, gender & sexual orientation that overflow this film.

Terri (d. Azazel Jacobs) - This film, focusing on an intelligent, perceptive but troubled boy & his attempts to reach out to the world, deals with the injustice and pain of engaging with a flawed world and the broken, foolish people who inhabit it. Despite all the heartache and pain that engagement brings, the movie shows us the need to reach out to our fellow sufferers and sinners, since only that outreach can shape our suffering and pain into something better.

That's all that I can think of, off the top of my head, at the moment. But there are two relatively recent films and one older film that promote a Christian humanist worldview, to balance out all those despairing films Tushnet & her readers have thought of so far.