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The Sacred Screen: Religion and World Cinema

ENGL 292.910

In 1913, D.G. Phalke, who would come to be known as the father of Indian cinema, claimed that seeing an American film of the life of Christ inspired him to become a director. The history of world cinema is filled with stories of divine inspiration, and filmmakers throughout the twentieth century have been fascinated by faith.  In this course, we will look at the presence of religion in several global film traditions.  From silent Christ films in Europe and the U.S. to the controversial Passions of Pasolini and Gibson; the punk revolt against Islamic fundamentalism in Persepolis to the vengeful revolt against Christian evangelicalism in There Will Be Blood; supernatural incarnations from Ingmar Bergman to The Exorcist; the near-silent meditations in Ki-duk Kim’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring to the near-silent suffering of A Serious Man, we will think cross-culturally about the political, aesthetic, and spiritual investments of world cinema.

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