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Seven stories we keep telling

Over the course of around twenty years of analysing films, books and other media, I have often been struck at the ways in which storytellers keep telling the same kinds of tales over and over again. That’s not to say that the narratives they construct are inevitably wearied or hackneyed; far from it. There is extraordinary diversity in the way that the themes have been explored. Yet, it remains the case that, under the surface, most if not all stories are versions of a limited number of key themes.

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part five)

This is the fifth in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Celebrate the good1 Image from iStockPhoto.com If the ideas actually make sense, we need to acknowledge that fact, even…

Are Fairy Tales Finished?

An interesting piece by Mike Cosper on The Gospel Coalition Blog about Walt Disney’s announcement that it will not make any more princess fairy tales, at least for the foreseeable future. I was particularly struck by this observation:   I can’t help but wonder, though, if the cognitive disconnect between today’s families and the world…

Jeffrey Overstreet on the how of storytelling

Encounter 10: Jeffrey Overstreet on the how of storytelling from International Arts Movement on Vimeo. Jeffrey is a great, insightful Christian film critic whose perspectives I value highly. This lecture was given at the International Arts Movement Encounter 10. These posts may be related: Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part six) This is…

A Hunger for Truth and Justice

Stieg Larsson’s Crime novels Interview with Tony Watkins by Christian Bensel, 23 March 2010   The bestselling Millennium Trilogy features cases of mass murderers, human trafficking and government conspiracies. 27 million copies have been sold in over 40 countries according to theEconomist (March 22,  2010), making the late  Stieg Larsson the second most sold author worldwide in 2008…

Philip Pullman and his atheist fiction

Philip Pullman CBE is the acclaimed author of around thirty books, mostly aimed at older children. He is best known for His Dark Materials, a brilliantly written, ambitious trilogy (Northern Lights/The Golden Compass (1995); The Subtle Knife (1997); The Amber Spyglass (2000)). He has received many awards, including the highly prestigious Astrid Lindgren Award. His…

Angels and Demons – discussion guide

This discussion guide was first published on Culturewatch in 2009. Summary Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is woken by the ringing of his telephone in the early hours of the morning. The caller is Maximilian Kohler, Director of CERN, the largest particle physics research facility in the world. He wants Langdon’s help because of the murder…

The Da Vinci Code – more audio

I’ve now added the recordings of Wednesday evening’s events at Above Bar Church, Southampton, which I shared with David Couchman of Focus. I talked about the appeal of The Da Vinci Code, its opposition to orthodox historical Christianity, the sacred feminine and goddess spirituality. David addressed three key claims in the book: that the Gnostic…

More on the book

Here’s an outline of what the book will include: Part 1: Chapters about Philip Pullman, the influences on him, etc., and chapters about the three volumes of His Dark Materials. Part 2: Chapters about the big philosophical and theological themes which Pullman explores. Since it’s a ‘thinking fan’s guide’ it will be both enthusiastic about…

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part six)

This is the last in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Two more aspects of responding to film and literature 4. Morality Image from iStockPhoto.com We have considered the moral…

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part four)

This is the fourth in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Image from iStockPhoto.com Worldviews in film and literature While not wishing to over-emphasise this aspect of responding to art…

Interview with Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor

Colin Duriez, the most knowledgeable person on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien I know, interviews ‘the Tolkien Professor’, Corey Olsen, for Festival in the Shire Journal. Here’s one question which particularly interests me. You can read the rest here, but you’ll need to go to the Festival in the Shire home page to access anything…

Pullman’s next book reworks of the story of Jesus

Children’s author Philip Pullman says Jesus wasn’t the Son of God by Tom Kelly Bestselling children’s author Philip Pullman has provoked more anger from Christians with a new book denying that Jesus was the son of God. The book, due to be published next Easter, accepts there was a holy man called Jesus but says…

Getting Da Vinci-ed out!

I’m beginning to feel like I’ve overdosed on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Hardly suprising I guess since it’s been such a huge bestseller since publication and especially given the amount of over-the-top hype from Sony (which is, frankly, setting people up to be disappointed with the film – all the advertising makes people…