ideas and forms, providing access to the transcendent through the provocation of contemplation; in a certain sense, art has a mediational capability in its inexhaustible andmultivalent interpretational structure.
In this, visual art is an expressive idiom throughwhich theological modes of thought can be communicated in a powerful and relevantmanner.Cinema is a particular type of visual art that has gained vast currency incontemporary culture, and represents a located artistic form with a tremendous reservefor visual articulation of theological ideas and provoking theological thought,contemplation and discussion.
According to film critic and screenwriter/director PaulSchrader, the development of a ‘transcendental style’ in filmmaking has given rise to theability of film to be expressive of the holy; as Schrader indicates, the nature of themedium, and its concomitant techniques, lends itself to visual communication of ‘theineffable and invisible, the transcendent refracted through immanent, temporal means.’
The transcendental style of film creates a unique sense of connection between themedium of cinema and the nature of religious iconography, which projects the viewer beyond the immediate impression of the visual into the region of encounter, incontemplation and experience of the sublime and the beautiful.
Film is able, at once, to
1982), 34-44, 79f.; cf. Trevor Hart, “Through the Arts: Hearing, Seeing and Touching the Truth,” in
Beholding the Glory: Incarnation Through the Arts
, ed. Jeremy Begbie (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 1-26.
Cf. Friedrich Schleiermacher,
On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers
, ed. and trans. RichardCrouter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 3-54, 69.
A. Bazin, “Cinema Theology,”
South Atlantic Quarterly
91/2 (1992): 393-408; D. Bridge, “Back to theCinema: Theology Reflects on the Arts,”
22 (Jan. 1995): 39-44; Paul Schrader,
Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer
(Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1972),169. Clive Marsh, lecturer in divinity at University of Sheffield, UK, suggests that film is a key resourcethrough which theology may discover constructively its discursive contribution to contemporary culture; hecautions, in so doing, that both theology and film must mutually engage each other in their own integrity,which is to say that one cannot co-opt the other in an expedient quarrying of utile parts. Cf. Marsh, “Filmand Theologies of Culture,” in
Explorations in Theology and Film
, eds. Clive Marsh and Gaye Ortiz(Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 2, 27-29.
Transcendental Style in Film
, 3-4, 7-8.
Ibid, 11-13, 161f., 169. Cf. Jim Forest, “Through Icons: Word and Image Together,” in