The Religion & Culture Web Forum
The Altar and the Screen: Filmmaking and Worldmaking
S. Brent Plate
This month, drawing on his most recent book, Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World, Brent Plate takes a look at the ways that film and religion reinterpret the everyday world:
Religions and films each create alternate worlds utilizing the raw, abstract material of space and time, bending them each in new ways and forcing them to fit particular standards and desires. Film does this through camera angles and movements, framing devices, lighting, costuming, acting, editing, and other aspects of production. Religions achieve this through setting apart particular objects and periods of time and deeming them “sacred,” through attention to specially charged objects (symbols), through the telling of stories (myths), and by gathering people together to focus on some particular event (ritual). The result of both religion and film is a re-created world: a world of recreation, a world of fantasy, a world of ideology, a world we may long to live in or a world we wish to avoid at all costs. The world presented at the altar and on the screen connects a projected world to the world of the everyday.
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