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 Religious Themes in Films? 
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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:18 pm
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Post Religious Themes in Films?
Since i'm a practising evangelical Christian, I am just crurious to see what all us film fans and filmmakers think about religious content and themes in a movie. I shot a feature length movie last year called 'The Hope Within' which centred around a drug addict becoming a Christian. I am currently filming another feature length film about a Christian family who go through great suffering when their 15 year old daughter gets kidnapped - focussing on how a Christian family deal and cope with this type of suffering.

It isn't just Christianity of course, there are a lot of Religious themes in movies made all over the world. Buddhism has been very prominent in a lot of Hong Kong films - featuring Buddhist Shaolin monks in hundreds of films.

I'm not sure if anyone has ever had some religious themes in their films but I thought it would be interesting to see what people thought on the subject.

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Graeme Noble
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Wed May 05, 2010 9:14 pm
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
Generally, religious subtext in film bores and irritates me. It can be used effectively at times, though. I don't mind Zen philosophy (questionable if it can be referred to as "religion") in Asian films and it can be done quite beautifully, but generally I prefer my cinema secular. At one time, however, I was working on a screenplay about several individuals who were bestowed the power of God for one day, but that wasn't so much a message about salvation as a warning about responsibility and corruption and I eventually ditched it when I found out that something similar had already been done.

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Wed May 05, 2010 10:11 pm
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
I haven't seen a good Western-religious film in a while. I think the last I saw was Last Temptation of Christ, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Eric Jacobus
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Wed May 05, 2010 10:29 pm
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
Everyone should watch Alejandro Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain. He's a one that dude.


Thu May 06, 2010 12:57 am
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
I'm not one for torture on screen so I loathe films like Martyrs, Irreversible and The Passion of the Christ. My somewhat irreverant review of Mel Gibson's Jew baiter was primarily a way of expressing how repellant the Passion story actually is, filled as it is with suffering and grotesque imagery.

That said - the themes Graeme talks about concerning the functional effectiveness of belief seem interesting. I can't believe how much stuff you make Graeme - these films and your comedy show and your fight stuff!


Thu May 06, 2010 7:37 am
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
I actually haven't seen Passion of the Christ so i'm not sure how accurate that one is.

Quote:
the themes Graeme talks about concerning the functional effectiveness of belief seem interesting.


I like to think that even those people who have no religious faith can adopt a positive attitude towards a religious message in a story as it can promote good morals.

Quote:
I can't believe how much stuff you make Graeme - these films and your comedy show and your fight stuff!


I know. I spend about 3 hours a day filming, 2 hours a day editing and the rest of the time I am working part time in a newsagent to get some money! I have a group of over 40 actors so it can be done if you are motivated!

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Thu May 06, 2010 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
The Holy Mountain is a tremendous religious/philosophical film by Alejandro Jodorowsky (as is El Topo, Santa Sangre and his comic book works like Metabarons and Incal.

Here's my review for Holy Mountain from http://www.fatally-yours.com/horror-rev ... tain-1973/

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain is not a story, although it tells a story; it`s hard to even call it a movie, although it takes place within the structure of one. The Holy Mountain is not about the conclusion of a quest, it is about the journey to reach it, the transformations and sacrifices one has to endure along the way are tests for the characters, the viewers, even the film itself.

There is nothing quite like The Holy Mountain in the cinematic experience.

The Holy Mountain challenges everything, even the expected conventions of its own rebellious nature. You’ll see grotesque lampooning of religious leaders, business men, politicians, fashion designers and war-mongers; but these Goya-ish parodies are simply superficial. The images and identities in the Holy Mountain are cast off as easy as one would discard a piece of clothing; in essence, The Holy Mountain seeks for a deeper meaning. A destruction of images and identities, an abolishment of desires and wants, ironically spear-headed by greed itself.

The story of The Holy Mountain opens with a man awakening from the dead, or perhaps being dead, awakening in purgatory. The man is exposed to hideous caricatures of humanity and inhumanity, cruelty, wanton sexuality, terrifying violence and manipulation. He is surrounded by people who are missing something (sometimes literally), lunatics, outcasts and lost souls, exploitationists and sadists. Searching for a greater purpose the man ascends a large tower and confronts the Alchemist (Jodorowsky himself) a mysterious figure who is leading a group of monstrous power-hungry rulers on a quest for immortality and ultimate knowledge by conquering the mythical Holy Mountain.

The Holy Mountain is like a reverse of Dante’s Inferno; where we see an ascent into heaven from the perspective of corruption and like Inferno, the ending ultimately reveals the nature of the cycle. In The Holy Mountain evil charges into heaven to steal its secrets, only to discover that the sacrifices it has to make to obtain those secrets purifies it. Corruption and gluttony and lust and brutality, devour themselves like serpents eating their own tail; showing that evil’s greatest wish can only ever be obtained by destroying itself. The caricatures of the thieves of the Holy Mountain, are not made to parody, but to show the nature of evil in the face of its own ultimate end; the futility of greed and ambition where as much as men and women of power can control, dominate and hurt others, ultimately they are an even greater slave to themselves

The Holy Mountain’s message of ultimate self-destruction carries to the very core of every single scene in this movie; and not just in the events, or the story but in the direction and acting and effects. It flies in the face of its very medium, it shatters perception and realism, it shows the thin absurd veneer beneath the magic of camera tricks and special effects. It is as though the film itself cannot escape the scrutiny of the quest for the Holy Mountain. We see the exposed devices made to create the illusion of blood squibs; it leaves the very nature of the effect naked on camera, and yet the effect is somehow even stronger. The desire to reveal, instead of disguise the trick leaves one feeling a sense of uncomfortable honesty without pretension. That is one of the reasons why The Holy Mountain works so well. The strangest, most effective and most beautiful images in this movie are one hundred percent authentic.

Jodorowsky’s vision culminates and implodes in the finale; as everything is stripped away from the characters and the film itself. All of the fear, doubts and insecurity, all of the gimmicks of cinema are abandoned; the movie is left empty, naked, exposed and free.

The Holy Mountain is a film that really goes beyond taste and critical debate; it is very possible to vehemently hate The Holy Mountain and still appreciate the sheer spectacle and audacity of Jodorowsky’s achievement. The Holy Mountain doesn’t strive to entertain or to pacify, it does not seek to use political or social imagery to be rebellious; love it or hate it, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain is a search for personal truth.

The Holy Mountain is an oddity; a unique vision in a field too often devoid of insight. For the connoisseurs of the bizarre, the strange and the unorthodox, for those who seek more from a film than simplicity in plot and visuals and yearn for something more; Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain is waiting.

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Tue May 11, 2010 2:48 am
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
Have you guys seen Starship Troopers 3?


Fri May 14, 2010 7:42 pm
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Post Re: Religious Themes in Films?
Is that the one where they find out the bugs worship Cthulhu?

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Wed May 19, 2010 8:41 am
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