Beautiful Light: Religious Meaning in Film

Beautiful Light: Religious Meaning in Film

by Roy M. Anker


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Though "religious" films usually don't get much respect in Hollywood, religion still regularly finds its way into the movies. In Beautiful Light Roy Anker seeks out the often unnoticed connections between film and religion and shows how even films that aren't overtly religious or Christian in their content can be filled with deep religious insights and spiritual meaning.

Closely examining nine critically acclaimed films, including Magnolia, The Apostle, American Gigolo, and M. Night Shyamalan's Wide Awake, Anker analyzes the ways in which these movies explore what it means to be human—and what it means, as human beings, to wrestle with a sometimes unwieldy divine presence. Addressing questions of doubt and belief, despair and elation, hatred and love, Anker's work sheds "beautiful light" on some of Hollywood's most profound and memorable films.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802873699
Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date: 05/26/2017
Pages: 282
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Roy M. Anker taught film and literature for many years at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. His other books include Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies and Of Pilgrims and Fire: When God Shows Up at the Movies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Through Wonder to Veneration 1

1 "Not All Angels Have Wings" 27

Wonder, Light, and Love in M. Night Shyamalan's Wide Awake

2 And The Blind Shall See 49

Grasping the Radiance of Being in The Color of Paradise

3 The Education of a One-Man Preaching Machine 67

The Realization of Love in The Apostle

4 Love's Pure Light 87

Moral Light and Reconciliation in Dead Man Walking

5 When Hope Breaks Out 113

Love and Redemption in The Shawshank Redemption

6 "It's Taken Me So Long To Find You" 139

Search and Rescue in Paul Schrader's American Gigolo

7 "How High Can I Fly?" 157

Murder and Sacramental Ascent in Tom Tykwer's Heaven

8 "It Can Happen" 184

Frogs, Deliverance, and Reconciliation in P. T. Anderson's Magnolia

9 "The Glory Smiling Through" 216

Wonder and Beauty in The Thin Red Line

Filmogcaphy 267

Index 269

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