A thousand years in the future, the high-tech world of the 21st-century is ancient history. It is of interest only to archaeologists who look for old tech – fragments left after from the 60-minute war which wiped away civilisation around the globe. Facing dwindling resources, the towns and cities have become mobile, travelling around the plains on vast caterpillar tracks in pursuit of smaller, slower towns which are sources of valuable resources as well as potential competition. This is “Municipal Darwinism” – survival of the fastest. The largest of the predator cities is London – a vast multi-deck machine with enormous metal jaws into which can be drawn prey such as the small mining town which attempts to escape at the start of this story.
Why and how should we use film discussions in evangelism? Using films within our communication is very helpful because film is an extremely popular medium. Long-form television is arguably more popular, but film remains immensely important. Second, film is powerful because it is ‘multimodal’ – it doesn’t communicate in a single mode (images, spoken words, […]
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.
I've just come across this fascinating and insightful quote by film critic Michael Chabon, in the introduction to Matt Soller Seitz's The Wes Anderson Collection, about the brokenness of the world: The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
This is the second 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-faced human beings Adam and Eve were tempted by the freedom to make their own moral choices; they wanted […]
This is the first 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. Reflecting or shaping? Marvin doesn't like living in a media-dominated world. He doesn't watch television, avoids the cinema, shuns […]
My friend Mark Meynell is a great film fan, an enthusiast for superheroes and an excellent communicator. So I'm excited to see his new venture - an audio documentary about the significance of superheroes. It's 30 minutes long and is at the bargain price of £1.29 on iTunes (see below). I've not yet had time […]
A conversation this morning made me realise I'd never posted this article here, which is why it's appearing some time after the film. This article was first published on Culturewatch. Beware: spoilers ahoy! One of the many changes which the Internet has brought into our lives is that it is remarkably easy to masquerade as […]
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 […]
I love this quote from C.S. Lewis's An Experiment in Criticism (1961), which is easily applicable to film as well as literature: This, so far as I can see, is the specific value or good of literature as Logos; it admits us to experiences other than our own. They are not, any more than our […]
popcorn from Crestock Stock Photos I often lead film discussions, but there's enormous value in organising leading them yourself rather than depending on some 'expert' from outside (though sometimes that can be a good thing - I'm still open to invitations!). Here are some brief guidelines. I'll add to this and expand on some of […]
Here are some suggestions for good films to discuss in a group context. This list nowhere near exhaustive; merely a few films that I’ve either enjoyed using myself or that I’m confident would be great. The list is very roughly in order of how suitable I think a film is for discussing: things near the […]
Movie Time from Crestock Photos These question are based on those in my book, Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema. They are intended to help you organise your thinking as you watch a film. As well as helping you in your own thinking about movies, these questions also provide a useful framework for group discussions […]
Norman Wisdom was one of the funniest people in the history of British film. His talent for physical comedy was matchless - no wonder Charlie Chaplin called Wisdom his favourite clown. But he could also switch to become sensitive and serious, as when he first sang 'Don't Laugh at Me' in Trouble in Store (1953). […]
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 […]
In Woody Allen's film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Juan Antonia (Javier Bardem) invites Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) to accompany him to Oviedo to view a particular sculpture which he finds inspiring. Cristina jumps at the opportunity, but Vicky goes reluctantly. The statue we later see is of a crucifix, which allows Woody Allen […]
Every year, the film critics at Christianity Today compile a list of the ten films that they consider to be the most redeeming of the year. What do they mean by that? We mean movies that include stories of redemption—sometimes blatantly, sometimes less so. Several of our films have characters who are redeemers themselves; all […]
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