In this book, Craig Detweiler examines forty-five films from the twenty-first century that resonate theologically--from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Little Miss Sunshine--offering groundbreaking insight into their scriptural connections and theological applications.Detweiler writes with the eye of a filmmaker, leads Hollywood and religion initiatives at Fuller SeminaryIn this book, Craig Detweiler examines forty-five films from the twenty-first century that resonate theologically--from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Little Miss Sunshine--offering groundbreaking insight into their scriptural connections and theological applications.Detweiler writes with the eye of a filmmaker, leads Hollywood and religion initiatives at Fuller Seminary, and even came to faith through cinema. In this book, he unpacks the "theology of everyday life," exploring the Spirit of God in creation, redemption, and "general revelation" through sometimes unlikely filmmakers. It's the first authoritative book that dissects up-to-date movies selected by the popular Internet Movie Database.This book is recommended for teachers, students, pastors, film fans, and those interested in the intersection of Christianity and culture....
|Title||:||Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century|
|Number of Pages||:||320 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century Reviews
Anyone who brings the great theologian Jurgen Moltmann in conversation with film is alright in my book. Detweiler deftly explores a variety of films, bringing them into conversation not only with theologians, but with the scriptures, current events in society, his own life, and even with a variety of comments posted on the IMDB. God, he contends, speaks not only in the specific revelation of the scriptures, but in general revelation in the form of film. This book will help you learn how to discover hearing that voice.
A compelling writer whose main thesis of general revelation is undergirded by his own experience. The collection of movie reviews are tied together coherently into gospel themes and provides and alternative perspective on how to engage with film.
Some of this review is take from a longer review of several books, Sacred and Profane: A Survey of Christian Film Criticism.Detweiler blogs about working toward understanding between religious and secular, postmodern culture. He argues that movies are a good place for Christians to learn from a fractured, postmodern world. In his book, Into the Dark, he considers many of the films in the Internet Movie Database's user-ranked list of the 250 Movies14, which is, as Detweiler admits, an odd list. Of course, the demotic and non-authoritative nature of the list is the reason Detweiler chose it, it samples the films people watch and talk about, not just canonical film. While Detweiler is fun to read, his book is not cohesive or well-organized and much of what he writes doesn't make sense, critically or semantically. He will casually uses Biblical words, phrases, and allusions in any given sentence. It's easy to miss his point or be perplexed by his point all together. Consider this statement,"Art and commerce met in the films created by Hollywood's "holy trinity" of Coppola, Spielberg, and Lucas. Francis Ford Coppola served as the literal godfather to a new generation of filmmakers fresh out of film school."Or one of my favorites,"Despite our unprecedented financial and scientific success in the modern era, the twenty-first century can be characterized as a return to the Dark ages."Here he writes about the films of Quentin Tarantino,"Like John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, Tarantino was a forerunner for the messy, transcendent movies that have followed."And he later on continues,"To some, his success signaled the decline of Western civilization. But to dedicated fanboys (and girls), Tarantino's unlikely rise demonstrates the newer, democratic possibilities of filmmaking, film criticism, and even theology: general revelation in action."And there is more,"Quentin Tarantino married postmodern surfaces and brutal violence with the transcendent possibilities of film. Tarantino's disciples were inspired by the psychic power of cinema to simultaneously outrage and inspire. While some were attracted to Tarantino's higher calling, other unleashed even flashier (and emptier) forms of film noir."These cryptic comments about Tarantino bring me to one of Detweiler's main topics. Detweiler describes a resurgence of film noir and oddly identifies Tarantino has one of the most important figures in this movement, further placing Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Alejandro Gonzales, and Guy Ritchie as Tarantino's disciples. I had difficulty following Detweiler's definition of film noir15, but I think I understand his broader point. He is arguing that in dark (noir) films sin bears itself out in the "grim consequences of a world without God"; indeed he says Richard Rodriguez's16 Sin City is the "apothesis of film noir." "Film noir at its best reveals our cold, cold hearts. It understands the murderous impulses that lurk beneath our civil veneer," he summarizes.Just like other critics, Detweiler professes the belief that to be human is to act sinfully. The real difference between Detweiler and other critics, in my reading, is that Detweiler argues that Christian's should be willing to see and discuss any serious or popular film. He says that Christian is not an adjective. I took this as a rhetorical statement, since Christian is more of an adjective, a type of person or belief system, than it is a noun: Christian should not be a genre or label for art and Christian values should not be a measure of a movie's watchability. It's odd then, in his writing on postmodern art, when Detweiler regularly uses postmodern as an adjective; the suggestion seeming to be that postmodernity is not a cultural or historical trend, it's a movement or a point-of-view. The same goes for moral relativism, which is not a trend from scientific or humanistic facts on the ground, but it too is a political, anti-Christian movement. Again, unlike others, Detweiler is not denouncing the glorification of sin and nihilism in movies these days. He tries to avoid accusing filmmakers of playing tricks on us, manipulating emotions, or tempting an audience into sin. Detweiler wants people to watch films as an occasion for understanding: "Only when we agree that we have things worth discussing, convictions worth dying for, can we engage in meaningful dialogue." Still, I did not do very well in understanding much of Detweiler's book, partly because of the cant and mushy language he uses, and I often suspected that he was trying to appear more open-minded about certain films than he really was.
First, let me start off with what I appreciate: Detweiler's passion for film, and for seeing the divine in all of life is both evident and infectious. Based on his citations, he's also reading a lot of great theologians--esp. Balthasar and Moltmann.Now for the negative. The book is all over the map, not just in its structure chapter by chapter, but within those chapters as well. In each chapter, Detweiler focuses on several different films, loosely grouped around a theme. However, that theme doesn't really seem to stretch beyond a genre identification and a very general idea associated with that genre. Detweiler handles the development of those ideas in a scatttershot manner, making it difficult to follow a thread of argument from one section or film to another. On top of that, Detwieler, by way of Balthasar, promises an aesthetic accounting of these films (in addition to a focus on narrative). But beyond a tip of the hat to aesthetics here and there, the book is largely dominated by story and theology, word and not image. In the end, the concluding chapter felt like a restatement of numerous things already argued in the book and less an accounting of the implications of what he's argued. What is he arguing for? I wish I could say.This is an energetic and passionate author in need of a thesis.
Truly an excellent book for any film enthusiast who seeks to try and understand what the films of our day are asking about the human condition and what we are to do in the world. The theological insights and the Christian responses they tease out are amazing.
Craig Detweiler takes you behind the scenes --- life, movies and faith.