June 19, 2021

[If you haven’t seen the film Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 film, Arrival, be forewarned that the following article contains spoilers. Know also that Arrival is the last film on earth that should be spoiled. The author strongly recommends you experience the film for yourself, then return to this piece. If you have seen the film but need a refresher, fear not.] The film opens with our protagonist reminiscing on her time with her late daughter who was lost to leukemia. The… Read more

June 16, 2021

The icon of “the lamb and the lion” originates from the book of Isaiah and is often discussed in the context of Christ’s return. The image of something powerful lying by something gentle captures our imagination. Both creatures involved are beautiful to behold, but we know instinctively that these two don’t belong together. One is clearly a predator, and the other is clearly its prey. How could something so fierce by design sit next to something so defenseless? This disruption… Read more

June 12, 2021

On the day Disney+ went live, my sister and her husband selected Walt Disney Animation’s very first film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” as their inaugural viewing. (I think mine was the “Lady and the Tramp” remake?) Apparently my brother-in-law hadn’t seen the film since early childhood, and he didn’t remember the details of the ending. His reaction to seeing Snow White and the Prince approach the Castle in the clouds was something like “So … she’s dead?” The… Read more

June 9, 2021

The term “Madonna” has been used to designate art depicting Mary, the mother of Christ. One of the most central modes of religious art, Madonna statues and paintings have appeared throughout the centuries depicting Mother Mary usually with her infant son. Some of the most famous Madonna works of art have come from Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Filippo Lippi. One of the more fascinating representations came in 1984 from James Cameron. Though not a literal reinterpretation of Mary’s story,… Read more

June 7, 2021

Way back when I was auditioning my writing for Patheos, I wrote a sample piece about Cool Hand Luke as an allegory for the life of Jesus Christ. The film follows Paul Newman’s character, Luke, after he is interned in a state prison. Luke’s defiant spirit frustrates the prison’s tyrannical regime. Luke not only resists their oppression but also becomes something of a savior to the other prisoners. I was intrigued by not only the film’s religious imagery but also… Read more

June 1, 2021

Functionally, scriptures and fairy tales serve very similar purposes. Both tell coded stories that impart morality. Both tell fantastical stories. Most tellingly, both demand childlike faith from their reader. Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 film, El Laberinto del Fauno “Pan’s Labyrinth,” presents a unique intersection between the two. In doing so, the film reveals the striking overlaps between belief in magic and belief in the divine. The movie tells a fantastical tale about a young girl named Ofelia clinging to goodness… Read more

June 1, 2021

There’s a quote often attributed to writer-director Quentin Tarantino: “Movies are my religion and God is my patron.” Hearing the 4-time nominee describe his cinephilia using religious lingo is fascinating. After all, Tarantino’s describes his own religious preference as atheistic, agnostic, or simply non-religious depending on your source. Just so, the comparison is understandable. For those who make film their study, for those who have ever lost themselves in the tide of silver screen storytelling, the experience can only be… Read more

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