Last month, I spent some time at the Sundance Film Festival. In a recent post, I noted the difference between marketing films to Christians and the possibility of film as a transformative space in the life of a Christian. Instead of imagining Christians as a set audience whose worldview we don’t want to disturb, I wonder if we could use Christianity’s specific theological language to enliven our understanding of film. Could Christianity’s theological lens illuminate elements of film that other cultural perspectives miss?
Perhaps the best example of this possibility that I saw at Sundance came from watching the Justin Kelly film I am Michael.
I’ve never seen a film that translates grace to the screen like Babette’s Feast. As one of the rare films that focuses on the lined and battered faces of real people Babette’s Feast challenges viewers to love real life. The film embraces God’s love for the embodied, the ordinary and the value of the extraordinary, and a love that wastes nothing.
Director Kevin Smith's 1997 film Chasing Amy focuses on people in their early to mid-20s who are at a crossroads between adolescent sexual experimentation and the possibility of mature relationships. He shrewdly notes these characters' hip mannerisms and Gen-X obsession with mass culture.