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Film as Cultural Artifact: Religious Criticism of World Cinema

Film as Cultural Artifact: Religious Criticism of World Cinema

Author: 
Mathew P. John (Author)
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Description

Film is popularly described as a mirror of culture. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating intercultural dialogue in our global village. World cinema helps us understand and appreciate each other’s cultural identity, and promotes harmony across different cultures in our pluralistic society. It introduces us to the life of “the other” in an entertaining yet engaging fashion, creating cultural bridges that foster a sense of unity in the midst of our diversity.

This book argues that cultural anthropology and theology offer two distinct, yet intrinsically connected theoretical frameworks to formulate a more “holistic” reading of religion from world cinema. It proposes an integrated methodology for religious criticism of film in which we look at religion as a subsystem of culture and observe how religious experiences depicted on the screen are mediated through the personal bias of the auteur and the context in which the film is produced. It thus creates a renewed appreciation for the religious diversity in our world by providing a new way of observing and interpreting ethnographic information from world cinema.

ISBN: 
9781506421698
Price: 
$39.00
ISBN: 
9781506421704
Price: 
$39.00
Release date: 
June 15, 2017
Pages: 
170
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Contents

Foreword by Robert K. Johnston
Introduction

1. Seeing the Unseen: Film as Religious Experience
2. Theological Criticism of Film: A Substantive Lens on Religion
3. Cultural Exegesis of Film: A Functional Lens on Religion
4. The World of Cinema: Extended Boundaries of Religious Criticism
5. The Elements Trilogy: A Cultural Critique of India
6. Touching the Screen: Field Research in India
7. The Crisis of Faith: A Religious Dialogue with the Elements Trilogy

Conclusion
Bonus Features
Bibliography
Index

Endorsements

Mathew P. John moves the world cinema conversation forward by leaps and bounds.

“Mathew P. John moves the world cinema conversation forward by leaps and bounds. He deftly weaves anthropology, ethnography, theology, and film criticism to unpack Deepa Mehta’s underseen Elements trilogy. What an essential contribution to our understanding of the cultural currents flowing through her Fire, Earth, and Water.”

Craig Detweiler |Pepperdine University

Anyone who cares about religion and film will want to read this pioneering work.

“While many have written about western cinema and theology, in this book Mathew P. John breaks new ground by putting world cinema under the triple microscope of anthropology, theology, and film studies. Anyone who cares about religion and film will want to read this pioneering work.”

John P. Bowen | Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

The explosion of filmmaking around the globe has changed who we are, and Mathew P. John shows us why.

“Welcome to the future. The explosion of filmmaking around the globe has changed who we are, and Mathew P. John shows us why. He shows how film creates harmony, cultural bridges, and intercultural understanding. Thank you for leading us in this!”

Ralph Winter | Producer of X-Men and Planet of the Apes

Mathew P. John opens new horizons for cultural understanding

“World cinema beyond Hollywood is often rich, fascinating, and deeply human. Mathew P. John opens new horizons for cultural understanding through film by exploring the theology of place that informs Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta’s Element’s trilogy, Earth, Fire, and Water.”

Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP, | Founding Director, Pauline Center for Media Studies, Los Angeles

I highly recommend this book.

“One of the greatest gifts of film is its ability to help audiences see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of the other. Yet the discipline of religion and film as a whole has struggled to identify the critical tools necessary to assess the cross-cultural and interreligious potential that movies possess. Mathew P. John helps the entire field take an important step forward in laying out an interdisciplinary methodology for understanding film not simply as a cultural artifact but as a profoundly religious/theological one as well. I highly recommend this book.”

Kutter Callaway | Author of Scoring Transcendence and Watching TV Religiously