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didn’t want you to enjoy the film. I wanted you to look very closely at your own soul

Sam Peckinpah (Director)

The cinema or pop film[2] has now become “the cathedral of the [twenty-first] century.”[3] Among its many implications, this metaphor keenly denotes that the film now provides its viewers with theological or spiritual meanings and issues that vitally affect their everyday (religious) thinking, behaviors and life patterns. Doubtless, this spiritual or religious function of the film used to be the church’s unique spiritual responsibility or task in the Christian West. Now, the film does it in place of the church. Hence, it is not surprising to hear George Miller, the producer of Babe and The Witches of Eastwick, say, “I believe cinema is now the most powerful secular religion and people gather in cinemas to experience things collectively the way they once did in church.”[4] But, to be clear, this is not a space to moan over the church’s loss of its once unique spiritual function, but rather a space for constructive dialogue between the church’s faith and film, a significant cultural and spiritual phenomenon of the twenty-first century.


Originally published in the Asian American Theological Forum, vol. 4, no. 1

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