film and theology help

June 18, 2007 | 18 Comments

film reelIn July and August, I’m going to lead a study on film and theology in our home. As I’m thinking through how this will look, the purpose of the study is not going to be to use a few movie clips here and there to illustrate some points or Bible verses I want to reinforce.

Rather, each week, participants will be asked to watch a film ahead of time with an understanding that all truth is God’s truth. They will be asked to bring that perspective to our discussion and share how they experienced truth in each film. We will then grapple with how those truths might be congruent, or incongruent, with the understandings we have of the Christian faith and Scriptures.

So, I am asking for help from you, my loyal (or very bored!) readers who have stuck with me through my inconsistent posting of late. What films come to mind that you think might be good for us to experience in this study?

  • Bam

    Hey John,
    We’ve been working through some foreign films over the past few months, and the most intriguing work that I’ve seen recently is Paradise Now (2006). It is a perceptive window into the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and I can envision some thought-provoking conversations stemming from this film. My second recommendation would be To End All Wars (2001). Both of these are worthwhile views as we contemplate the gritty reality of the conflicts of our day. Keep us updated on how your study goes… wish we could join:) Hope you are well, and tell Sherri & the fam hello.

  • I can vouch for ‘Paradise Now’. It’s an extremely thought-provoking film. You’ll have no shortage of discussion topics.

    Some movies that will probably be a little easier for everyone to pick up would be ‘Children of Men’, ‘Babel’, or ‘Stranger Than Fiction’.

    Or you could really throw them for a loop and assign ‘Major League’.

  • Lawrence of Arabia – One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest – A Clockwork Orange (violent) – Platoon (violent) – Network – Shawshank Redemption – 12 Angry Men (deep) – Seven (violent) – Das Boot (German – Long)- Batman Begins – Crash

  • david

    cool, always wanted to do that,
    here some that fascinate me:

    house of sand and fog
    dr. strangelove
    spirited away
    life is beautiful
    in america
    paradise now
    mystic river
    catch me if you can
    changing lanes
    truman show
    million dollar baby
    eternal sunshine
    motorcycle diaries
    hotel rowanda
    city of god
    life of david gale
    21 grams

  • lacie

    what a great idea! i like your approach especially. i know i have some ideas, but i’ll have to look at my movies when i get home to remember the titles. maybe i could come sometime…

  • Blood Diamond…just used it, really good discussion…Idiocracy…Batman Begins…Hotel Rwanda…Jesus Camp…Shut Up and Sing…Smartest Guys in the Room…The Revolution Will Not Be Televised…The Last Samurai…and of course the greatest movie series of all time…The Fast and The Furious!!! Graceandpeace….

  • You’ve Got Mail… lots of depth. I especially love the part where they pass each other in the street and don’t even know that they just passed the person they love!!!! Or Chocolat…that’s got good stuff too.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo

  • Gerilyn (TM)

    I agree with some of David’s, even though I haven’t seen them
    I’m more of a book reader, BUT some very good books are movies…

    I read the book The House of Sand and Fog…Very thought provoking. I’ve never seen the move. I know the premise of Gattica and we discussed it in a college Biology class, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it.

    Dead Poet’s Society (I lived that story)
    To kill a mockingbird (I know, the book is better)
    Shawshank Redemption (I second that)
    Mona Lisa Smile
    The seventh seal (is there any truth in this?)
    Stand and Deliver
    Invinceable (haven’t seen it but I want to)
    Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd story
    The Old Man and the Sea, Of Mice and Men(again, I only read the book)
    The five people you meet in heaven
    Defending your Life
    Lord of the Flies
    The Handmaid’s Tale (warning: centers around sex and the role of women)

    Just to name a few book / movies.
    Have fun, and if you run into any good movies, send them my way.

  • I second “Count of Monte Cristo”. Would have some similar themes as Les Mis.

    Also, “Drop Dead Fred” Perhaps the greatest film of our time.

  • Pi
    The Fountain
    Stranger Than Fiction
    21 Grams
    The Village
    Babette’s Feast
    The Mission
    Chariots Of Fire

    That’s all I can think of right now. I’ve been thinking of starting a small group at church that is similar to what you’re doing – I think it would be an excellent thing to do.

  • jamie

    Dean is right about Drop Dead Fred.

    I know that most didn’t like Lady in the Water, but the themes and story are worth it.

    The Village

  • Sherie

    Tears of the Sun (it might be too violent/graphic for some people but has great images of sacrifice, valuing others, and making choices for what is right)
    Remember the Titans

  • alaina

    Hello. I found your blog via longbrake’s blog.

    I would recommend __Life is Beautiful__. It’s a powerful Italian film that illustrates the power of art and the story.

  • chris

    If you want to throw a current movie into the mix, I would suggest Black Snake Moan. You have to wade through some language (it’s Samuel L. Jackson, for goodness’ sake), but the story is filled with truth, and quite provocative at times. And the “black snake” scene, in which Jackson plays the old blues tune which serves as the title for the film, is one of the best scenes I’ve seen this decade!

  • blake

    i would suggest “To End All Wars”
    absolutely fabulous.

  • Vaughan

    I can believe no one has suggested “Fight Club” or the original “Matrix”, they just ooze with truth.