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Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2010

    A unique film history

    Dr. Dans' focus on the depiction of Christians (particularly Roman Catholics) gives a reference line as he surveys (mostly) American film from 1905 to 2008.

    He mentions "...those who are sick of films with profanity, violence, and gratuitous sex and are searching for films about someone who takes religion seriously." (page 312). He keeps that perspective in mind as he reviews film history and individual films.

    He reports the good and the bad. Despite descriptions of many films that misrepresent Christianity or Catholicism, the book kept me interested, often encouraged.

    I was confused by a few apparent mistakes in the text, these two in particular:

    1) In describing the "Luther" movie, Dr. Dans writes that "Luther translates the New Testament into German and tells the people to learn to despise the cross and pretense." (page 309). "...despise the cross..."? Does Luther do that in the movie? I don't recall that. Wouldn't that be totally opposite to all he believed? I think it's simply a typo.

    2) On "The Passion of the Christ", Dr. Dans refers twice to Christ's bones being broken (pages 314 and 315). Again, I do not recall that in the movie, and I know it's contrary to the Bible, which notes that Christ's bones were not broken (as he is the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb) (John 19: 31-37 and Exodus 12:46). Surely Mr. Gibson knew that. Didn't Dr. Dans?

    But, I learned about many films and many eras. I wonder why Dr. Dans did not include "Daens" (1993, Netherlands), in which a tough, compassionate priest confronts child labor and industrialists' oppression of the working poor.

    I'm glad I read this unique movie history.

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