March 8.docx

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27 Mar 2012
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March 8, 12
Religion and Mise-en-scene
- JHB 3:30-5:00PM
- Or Sunday 1-3:30 starbucks or robarts café
Critiquing “Traditional” Religion and Film Scholarship/Courses
- S. Brent Plate: A Religious Visuality of Film
- Melanie Wright:
- Influenced Christopher Deacy
- Wright is cirtical of scholarship that ignores film studies and that
only aims to identify parallels between religious phenomena and
elements of a chosen film.
- Examples of the “traditional” approach that Wright critiques:
- Kozlovic (Christ-figures)
- Oswalt (Apocalyptic)
- Bendle (Apocalyptic)
- The article that accompanies your film (essay)
- We need to be willing “to listen to and debate with others engaging
in serious writing on the cinema” (22)
- Laura Mulvey and the male gaze
- Janet Staiger and spectatorship
- Screen theory
- Bordwell-Thompson: Film form and Film style
- Plate: synaethesia and “disembodied cinematic experience”
- Why is it that most religion and film scholars don’t do what we do?
Wright offers 4 suggestions:
- 1) Contemporary Film Studies is highly influenced by Marxism and
psychoanalysis.
- 2) Theologians desire to see theology “re-throned” as the “Queen
of the sciences” – emphasis is on theology, not film.
- 3) Scholars of religion or theology fear that if they introduce Film
Studies to the equation, it may end up dominating the discourse.
- 4) Scholars and Professors of Religion and Film are trained in
RELIGION not FILM… as well, many are trained in interpreting
TEXTS not AUDIO-VISUAL.
- Review: Why did we watch The Gospel of John?
- The movie is a word-for-word adaptation of the text.
- But the film presents Jesus different than does the text.
- The main point: We miss a lot when we focus our analysis
exclusively on “bookish” features (e.g., character dialogue, the
series of events in a film). For example, if we took the “bookish”
approach, we would have neglected to discuss the significance of:
- ^The canted frame in the crucifixion scene
- ^The use of dissolve transitions in the prologue.
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