Of Pilgrims and Fire: When God Shows Up at the Movies

Overview

In This Illuminating Guidebook, film teacher and critic Roy Anker explores some of cinema's most profound depictions of human beings searching for meaning in life. The films he delves into - The Thin Red Line, American Beauty, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Shawshank Redemption, Dead Man Walking, The Apostle, E.T., Magnolia, and twelve more - are, with few exceptions, not overtly "religious" or "Christian." Yet from the world of secular Hollywood Anker succeeds in drawing together some of the most religiously ...

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Overview

In This Illuminating Guidebook, film teacher and critic Roy Anker explores some of cinema's most profound depictions of human beings searching for meaning in life. The films he delves into - The Thin Red Line, American Beauty, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Shawshank Redemption, Dead Man Walking, The Apostle, E.T., Magnolia, and twelve more - are, with few exceptions, not overtly "religious" or "Christian." Yet from the world of secular Hollywood Anker succeeds in drawing together some of the most religiously provocative movies of our time.

Providing synopses, commentary, background information, and both pre-viewing comments and post-viewing discussion questions for each film, Anker - without being preachy or didactic - offers movie buffs profound new insights. Watching this diverse collection anew through Anker's eyes, readers will find these films not only enjoyable but also deeply enlightening.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802865724
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Roy M. Anker teaches literature and film at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. His other books include Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies and the two-volume Self-Help and Popular Religion in American Culture.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Of Pilgrims and Fire 1

A Dozen Tips for Smart Film Viewing 11

I The Gift of Splendor: "All Things Shining" 17

American Beauty 20

The Thin Red Line 30

The Color of Paradise 40

Decalogue I 49

II Wrestling with Angels (and Demons): The Collision of Morality and Belief 61

Crimes and Misdemeanors 63

The Godfather: Part III 74

Wide Awake 84

III The New Life: The Surprise of Love 97

Tender Mercies 100

The Shawshank Redemption 109

Dead Man Walking 120

The Mission 130

The Apostle 141

IV Facsimiles of God: The Whys and Whos of Incarnation 153

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial 156

Superman: The Movie 167

Millions 178

V The Feast of Love 189

Places in the Heart 192

Grand Canyon 204

Babette's Feast 216

VI Signs and Wonders 227

Magnolia 229

Heaven 240

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