Approaching God in the cinema

Approaching God in the cinema

Approaching God in the cinema (San Paolo Publisher, 2013, 15 euros) is fruit of a collaboration with Professor Enrique Fuster, Lecturer of Theory and History of the Cinema at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome), Professor José Maria Galvan, Lecturer of Moral Theology and Anthropology at the Faculty of Theology at the same university and the RAI journalist Daniela Delfini.

The work of the three authors has been brought together and the result is a harmonious collection of theme-based film reviews on subjects such as pain, guilt, the freedom of choice, anxiety of eternity and the possibility of divine filiation of man.

The aim of the work is to take the reader on a cinematic journey (see subtitle of the book) that man and human nature has undertaken. It starts from the first years of the last century at the time when cinema became the most influential form of art in society and surpassed painting and writing as a consequence.

The title leads us to believe that the book speaks directly about the presence of God in the cinema world, where God is the protagonist or about those who have made God their reason in life.

The book does not examine films where they speak directly about God or Saints, moreover, the book observes how man continually asks questions about the meaning of life, and how man is a creature of free will who is constantly aware of his inadequacies and limits.

Ultimately, the book speaks about man as a living being open to transcendence. Man is incapable of attaining happiness solely by satisfying his material needs as he does not feel he is just a mere agglomerate of substance. He sees death as a fact which contradicts eternity to which he is called and yields when he renounces the desire and hope of love which goes past the confines of biology.

The films under analysis were taken from different eras and based on various themes but what emerged from all of them was the presence or absence of God has equal importance or opposing value in the balance of the life of man.

Approaching God in the cinema highlights the fact that we are able to speak of God or of His absence through our needs, anxieties, and expectations and through a constant search of divinity we depict and portray images of God in works of art .

The protagonist of the book is not Man in its strictest sense, but man as he is portrayed in films. God stands very much behind the curtain. However, that does not mean that God is not relevant and does not have a rightful space in the book. He is there, and he could but not be there. His work is done behind the scenes but His work is projected on what is happening on the stage.

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