Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith

Overview

You love movies. Who doesn't?

In Finding God in the Movies Catherine Barsotti and Robert Johnston show you how to combine your love of movies with your desire for God. Introducing thirty-three films of faith-ranging from Tender Mercies to X-Men-the authors identify and explore key biblical themes like forgiveness, faith, and repentance. An enthusiastic guide for the individual movie lover or small group, this resource contains production notes and film synopses, relevant ...

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Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith

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Overview

You love movies. Who doesn't?

In Finding God in the Movies Catherine Barsotti and Robert Johnston show you how to combine your love of movies with your desire for God. Introducing thirty-three films of faith-ranging from Tender Mercies to X-Men-the authors identify and explore key biblical themes like forgiveness, faith, and repentance. An enthusiastic guide for the individual movie lover or small group, this resource contains production notes and film synopses, relevant Scripture texts, theological reflection, recommended video clips, discussion questions, and more. It will deepen your fervor for film and for God.

"I've often suggested that Christians open up their homes for a film night: show a movie and follow up with snacks and a discussion. It's a simple idea but, for most people, is tough to carry out. Where do we begin? We begin with Finding God in the Movies. Robert Johnston and Catherine Barsotti have done a wonderful service in creating a book that teaches believers how to analyze films. Use it alone, with your family, or, better yet, invite the neighborhood."-Charles W. Colson, Prison Fellowship

"To read God into movies is not difficult. To find God there waiting for us-now, that is something else altogether. Finding God in the Movies peels back God's presence in thirty-three compelling films, leading us from superficial analysis and utilitarian agendas to deep, personal engagement. Bravo!"-Sally Morgenthaler, founder, Sacramentis.com

"Barsotti and Johnston demonstrate their incredible ability to dialogue with both Hollywood and the community of faith. Unlike other film review books, they appropriate each film's vision of life and invite the reader to interact with it. Here is an invitation to enhance your journey of faith via the silver screen."-David Bruce, host of HollywoodJesus.com

"Written with humility, grace, and sensitivity, Finding God in the Movies will be a tremendous resource for those seeking light inside the cinema. More than just a guide to great films, this book is a window into how to engage them; and find on the other side, a deeper understanding of the Lord."-Todd Komarnicki, filmmaker, producer of Elf

"In every arena of youth ministry today, we are seeing that movies are providing students many of their takes on life. Finding God in the Movies can help you use movies more authentically in your teaching and outreach. I wholeheartedly recommend this book."-Cliff Anderson, vice president of training and strategic resources, Young Life

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inviting Christians to "have a conversation with a movie's story, not an inquisition," Barsotti and Johnston add to the growing number of film study guides on the market for pastors, youth leaders and religious educators. By even mentioning an inquisition, Barsotti, a film reviewer for The Covenant Companion magazine, and her husband Johnston, a professor of theology and culture at Fuller Seminary, make it clear that their primary audience is evangelical Christians who see film as a guilty pleasure. For the guilt-free, some parts of the book will feel like unnecessary apologetics, and the language sometimes lapses into evangelical jargon. The heart of the book is its evocative, open-ended questions for each film-a study in how to approach visual texts in a postmodern world. Instead of telling readers what they should think of the popular films, the authors simply share their delight in each film, and then invite us to enter the stories with new eyes. Each film gets a synopsis and theological reflection, a few "dialogue texts" from scripture, discussion questions and suggested clips for viewing and analyzing. Anyone wanting to discuss Christian theology or spirituality found in film will enjoy exploring these 33 well-tested movies and will appreciate the well-articulated model for engaging spiritually with popular culture found in this study guide. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801064814
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 712,348
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert K. Johnston is a professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church and formerly served as dean of North Park Theological Seminary. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Reel Spirituality.

Catherine M. Barsotti teaches courses at Centro Hispano de Estudios Teologicos in the areas of theology, ethics, and spirituality (in Spanish). She also does consulting to Christian non-profit organizations in the area of strategic planning and board development. Together with Rob, she has been writing movie reviews for the last eight years for the Covenant Companion and Faith@Work.

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Table of Contents

Preface 10
Finding God in the Movies: An Introduction 12
How to Use This Book 31
Affirming Our Humanity
1. Life Is Beautiful (d. Benigni, 1997) 42
2. Amistad (d. Spielberg, 1997) 50
3. No Man's Land (d. Tanovic, 2001) 58
4. We Were Soldiers (d. Wallace, 2002) 58
Beauty, Imagination, and Creativity
5. Spirited Away (d. Miyazaki, 2002) 74
6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (d. Lee, 2000) 82
Choosing Life
7. Big Night (d. Scott and Tucci, 1996) 92
8. Fearless (d. Weir, 1993) 98
Embracing Our Vocation
9. The Rookie (d. Hancock, 2002) 108
10. Billy Elliot (d. Daldry, 2000) 115
11. The Apostle (d. Duvall, 1997) 123
Reconciliation within Families
12. The Straight Story (d. Lynch, 1999) 134
13. Ulee's Gold (d. Nunez, 1997) 142
14. Fly Away Home (d. Ballard, 1996) 150
Racial Reconciliation
15. Save the Last Dance (d. Carter, 2001) 160
16. Remember the Titans (d. Yakin, 2000) 160
17. X-Men (d. Singer, 2000) 173
18. The Hurricane (d. Jewison, 1999) 173
Forgiveness
19. Smoke Signals (d. Eyre, 1998) 188
20. Antwone Fisher (d. Washington, 2002) 196
Community and Friendship
21. About a Boy (d. Weitz and Weitz, 2002) 206
22. Italian for Beginners (d. Scherfig, 2001) 213
Faith
23. Simon Birch (d. Johnson, 1998) 222
24. Tender Mercies (d. Beresford, 1983) 229
Faith and Doubt
25. The Third Miracle (d. Holland, 1999) 238
26. Signs (d. Shyamalan, 2002) 245
27. K-PAX (d. Softley, 2001) 245
Living Our Faith
28. The Year of Living Dangerously (d. Weir, 1982) 260
29. Patch Adams (d. Shadyac, 1998) 266
Images of the Savior
30. The Spitfire Grill (d. Zlotoff, 1996) 276
31. The Iron Giant (d. Bird, 1999) 283
Renewing the Church
32. Sister Act (d. Ardolino, 1992) 292
33. Chocolat (d. Hallstrom, 2000) 298
Appendix 1 Movies Listed by Related Biblical Text 307
Appendix 2 Movies Listed by Topic 310
Notes 319
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