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Research Guide to

Christianity and Film
John M. Kelly Library
University of St. Michael’s College

ESSAY COLLECTIONS
CONTENTS
The Routledge Companion to Religion and Film.
Edited by John Lyden. London: Routledge, 2009. Essay Collections 1
[St. Michael's 2nd Floor – PN 1995.5 .R68 2009] Non-Academic Essay
Collections 2
Includes several historical chapters about the relationship between Aesthetics 3
Christianity and film, and chapters on specific categories including Journals 3
redemption, apocalyptic, and Jesus and Christ-figures. Prescriptive Reviews 3
Finding Journal Articles 4
Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue.
By Robert K. Johnston. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.
[St. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995.5 .J59 2006]
A valuable companion for the Christian wishing to become a more thoughtful and discerning film
viewer. Includes chapters on Theological Approaches to Film Criticism; Image and Music;
Responding to Film Ethically: Moving Beyond the Rating System, and more. Very comprehensive
bibliography.

Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline. Edited by Robert K.
Johnston. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.
[St. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995.5 .R43 2007]
In addition to providing a good overview of the film and faith dialogue, this book offers useful
suggestions on how it can actually move forward. The essays are by recognized scholars and fall
into one of six sections, such as Moving Beyond a Literary Paradigm and Extending Our
Conversation Partners.

Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century. By Craig Detweiler. Grand
Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008.
[St. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995.5 .D48 2008]
This insightful book explores forty-five recent popular movies for theological substance. The films
are organized by theme into three parts—Identity, Community, and History—and represent many
genres. The general bent is that of emergent/post-liberal Christianity. The author draws
convincingly on theology, popular culture, and critical theory, and is eager to learn from those
outside the church.

and a brief closing prayer by the authors.5 . Includes reasonably detailed readings of seven Hollywood films and a useful bibliography. Oxford: Blackwell. [St.M27 2001] This unique 3-volume set matches appropriate films to each of the readings in the Lectionary’s 3- year cycle. Key Scenes and Themes. After attempting to stake a place for theology within film studies. [St. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995. and popular vs. similarities between religion and cinema. Commentary. 2003. 2 .com/legacy/spring04/index. NON-ACADEMIC ESSAY COLLECTIONS Lights. the star system. Catholics in the Movies. Mostly written by non- religious critics and scholars with film choices ranging from predictable (Groundhog Day.E96 1997] Older yet still relevant. The book amounts essentially to a history of Hollywood through its relationship—on and off-screen—with Catholics and the Church. Edited by Colleen McDannell. At the same time. Boston: Pauline Books & Media. 1997. [Victoria College Pratt Library Stacks – PN1995. each on a movie in which Catholic characters feature prominently. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995. [St.5 . 2005. Ordet) to delightfully unexpected (Love Affair.Faith in Film: Religious Themes in Contemporary Cinema.C35 C38 2008] Thirteen essays. Explorations in Theology and Film: Movies and Meaning.R4 H53 2003] Shorter (3-4 page) essays on fifty films with representations of the divine. 2008. Each chapter follows a basic format: Synopsis. By Christopher Deacy.D38 2005] Densely-packed essays touching on many relevant topics: religion and popular culture. 3 volumes. within or without of the narrative. Thoughtful and lively meditations on an eclectic set of films – similar to The Hidden God.reverseshot.html] This issue of the online journal Reverse Shot features sixteen essays on films “reflective of a spiritual tendency in cinema – through the medium’s very form. Edited by Clive Marsh and Gaye Ortiz. Michael’s 3rd Floor – BS2565 . the book uses a number of films and filmmakers as occasion for exploring such themes as redemption and liberation.9 . The Hidden God: Film and Faith. the articles here interact well with both theology and film theory. Ideal for faith and film groups. 2002. UK: Ashgate. Utamarro and His Women). art-house cinema. audience reception. New York: Museum of Modern Art. Reverse Shot [Available online: http://www.9 . Aldershot. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Camera… Faith ! By Fr. Peter Malone and Rose Pacatte. Dialogue with the Gospel. [St. Closes with article “A Future Agenda for Theology and Film”. or where the work reproduces the spiritual within the writers themselves”. Babette’s Feast. For Reflection and Conversation. each essay is a model of intelligent critical engagement with a film text and can be read on its own. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995. Edited by Mary Lea Bandy and Antonio Monda.

Dated somewhat by its tendency to distinguish too neatly between sacred and profane. Includes a four-part ratings system which evaluates films for artistic and entertainment value. Most of the reviews are written by Steven Greydanus. Pentecost) in particular movie scenes. Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting [Available online: http://www. critique. 1972. By Paul Schrader. humility.com/] Essay-length critical reviews of popular movies “from the perspective of the historic Christian faith”. Dreyer. and age-appropriate audience.com/movies/movies.g. 3 .unomaha. Michael’s 2nd Floor – PN1995 . Examination of films by Ozu. Prepared by the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” Contains substantial reviews of current movies as well as lengthy essays written in academic style (“In this paper I will argue that…”). PRESCRIPTIVE REVIEWS Decent Films [Available online: http://www.catholic. moral and spiritual value.S417] A seminal text. Bresson and Dreyer reveals certain formal properties – “austerity and asceticism” – best suited for expressing the spiritual.AESTHETICS Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu. Film Reviews.au/filmreviews/] Fairly detailed reviews of over 1200 films produced between 2000 and 2009. otherwise a good place to start exploring the neglected role of style in the film-faith dialogue. CA: University of California Press.org/movies/] Short reviews with ratings for over 8000 movies. Slightly less stress on moral and spiritual content than Decent Films. JOURNALS Journal of Religion and Film [Available online: http://www.edu/jrf/] This peer-reviewed online journal “examines the description. Berkeley. covenant. and embodiment of religion in film. Bresson. The contributors are scholars from a variety of faith backgrounds. overall recommendability. film critic for the weekly newspaper National Catholic Register. totally unique in its concern with aesthetics.org.textweek. USCCB Movie and Family Video Reviews [Available online: http://www. [St.decentfilms.usccb. Movie Concordance [Available online: http://www.htm] An index to spiritual themes (e.

type the film’s title in the second box below and select the “TI Title” field.mcferran@utoronto. Index to Film & TV Periodicals [Available online (1972 – present) for UofT use: www. type “motion pictures” into the first box and select the “SU Subjects” field. type “motion pictures” into the first box and select the “SU Subjects” field.000 bibliographic citations to Catholic books. To search for articles about movies on a particular subject. More recent citations also include a summary of the article.ca/kelly/research_guides/christianity_film.library. International Index to the Performing Arts [Available online (1864 – present) for UofT use www.C3] Over 200.000 articles from more than 300 academic journals and popular magazines.] Over one million bibliographic citations to journal articles. type a search term (e.utoronto. type “films” into the first box and select the “SU Subjects” field. It is currently maintained by Noel S.g.library. [Available online for UofT use: www.utoronto. It was last updated October 2011.FINDING JOURNAL ARTICLES Catholic Periodical and Literature Index (CPLI). “redemption”) in the second box below. To search for articles about a particular movie. This research guide was originally created by Armen Svadjian.ca/] Citations to over 300. and book reviews in the field of religion.ca/. “redemption”) in the second box below.ca/. To search for articles about a particular movie. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.asp 4 . type the film’s title in the second box below and select the “TI Title” field.library.g. place checkmarks against both indexes.ca).utoronto. click on the blue “Choose Databases” tab at the top of the webpage. It is possible to search the ATLA Religion Database and the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index at the same time: when you are using one or the other index. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – AI 3 . type “films” into the first box and select the “SU Subjects” field. book reviews. and journal articles from more than 160 Catholic magazines.library. [Available online (1981 – present) for UofT use: www.] [Print version (1930 – 1980): St. To search for articles about movies on a particular subject.utoronto. The latest version is available online: http://stmikes.ca/] Citations to articles from over 240 performing arts periodicals including over 60 film periodicals. type a search term (e. McFerran (noel. essays in books.utoronto. and then click on the “OK” tab.