God is in the Movies Blogathon

Andrew (Or Fisti) over at A Fistful of Films is hosting a very interesting blogathon. Here's what he has to say:

The basic idea behind this blogathon came from the recent swell of biblical inspired films.  I mean, at first we heard of Noah, and then Exodus…but then out of nowhere came Man of God and it became clear that 2014 was the year to bring back the biblical epic.  Biblical films were at one time pretty popular, but they’ve all but faded from mainstream cinema, and while faith based films come and go, unless you’re an avid fan of Kirk Cameron’s style of BEAT ME OVER THE HEAD WITH YOUR BELIEFS cinema, you probably don’t watch many of those kinds of films anymore.

So my question is this; how do you like God in your movies?

The concept is simple.  I want you to rack your brains for the film that, to you, defines how the bible (and all of its facets) should be presented in film.  Do you like your scripture presented in a grand, sweeping epic like 1956’s The Ten Commandments?  Do you like your scriptures tampered with, as in Scorsese’s polarizing The Last Temptation of Christ?  Do you want to see an artistic approach to God’s book, like with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?  Or, do you prefer your faith handled in a more provocative and less direct way, as in the many works by Ingmar Bergman?

·         Pick a movie (or style) 
·         Write a post explaining WHY it is your preferred dip into the Bible 
·         Link this post (and use my heavenly header) 
·         Leave your link in the comment section

When I saw his post last month, I was stumped. I've never really thought about how I liked God in my movies. Religion has always been a very private thing to me. I identify as a Christian, but I've always kept my religious beliefs somewhat to myself.  I still don't know how to answer the main question, but it did bring back an interesting memory for me, and when I told Andrew about it, he said it would count as part of his blogathon. 

I'm going to talk about the most obvious religious movie out there, The Passion of the Christ. This came out in theaters while I was still in high school and actually working at a movie theater at the time. I have never quite seen a reaction to a film much like I have to this one.

To start, it sold out like mad. We weren't prepared for it. We had all these wacky show times for church groups that went. We actually ran out of concessions except for Sprite and Snow Caps (seriously, what the fuck are people doing eating during this movie?) But the reaction to the violence in this film was something else. People literally were running out of the theaters screaming, gagging, or both. I had never seen something like this.

We got to the point where we would actually be holding the theater doors open for these people that couldn't take it anymore and had to excuse themselves, and every single person always left crying. What is it about religion that has people act like this?

POTC was gory, but it's not the goriest thing I've ever seen. I never see people running out of horror movies, or war movies. My friend and I pondered this after we watched the film. I remember saying "Well, that really happened. That's why it's so hard to watch." but when I think back on it, why was I more disturbed after watching POTC than I was after watching Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan or Roots? Those things really happened too. Why did this seem to hit harder? It's not like I can relate to one more than the other. They're all about awful things that shouldn't have happened. Is it because I feel like I have a strong relationship with Christ? Is that why more people can't handle the gore of POTC but just scrunch up their faces when they watch something like Evil Dead?

I still don't know the answer. What do you think?

*Thanks for hosting, Andrew!!*


  1. This is a great post, because it leaves us with something to ponder! I think that Christ, for many, is an image of faith. He stands for hope. Knowing that he suffered FOR US makes his suffering more heartbreaking. He did it because he wanted to. While that is never going to negate the atrocities that befell those who didn't ask for it, knowing that his suffering was an extension of his love for us makes it harder to watch.

    My mother cries every the she reads the accounts in the scriptures of his death.

    I love that you contributed this post. Thanks!

    1. That is true. It's hard to see someone say "Forgive them" even though they are doing something awful.

  2. Something I've noticed amongst the Christian community around me is that most people seem to go into these movies blind. They know virtually nothing about the film except the subject matter it is based on. Maybe this is just me being film obsessed but I know a lot of people don't read reviews before going in, or even check ratings. Sometimes they don't even go further than watching a trailer (if that!). As well, the audience that eats up the 'religious films' are ones who don't watch extremely violent movies. I think much of this came from the shock of not realizing how gory the film was going to be, and not being used to it at all. (I'm not trying to be stereotypical here, just basing this off my parents/in laws/other Christians around me who are exactly as described above)

    But further, as Fisti mentioned, it's seeing exactly what our Savior went through and exactly what a sacrifice it was. It's one thing to read about stuff like that and another to see if (more or less) for ourselves.

    1. That's a very good point. I suppose most of the people that saw Passion probably haven't sat through a true horror movie either, so maybe that was the goriest thing they've ever seen.

  3. Great question, Brittani. When I first saw POTC, I turned away during some scenes because it's very disturbing. I wonder if it's the gravity of the situation in POTC that made people run from the theater. Christ dying to save all mankind is a moment that probably registers more with individuals on a spiritual level. If it hits home, it's going to feel worse.

    1. That's exactly it. Witnessing all those people running out of the theater was really something else.


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