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The New Filmgoer's Guide to God: From the Passion of Joan of Arc to Philomena [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Timothy Cawkwell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 May 2014
Tim Cawkwell's knowledge and experience of the cinema has been poured into his writings about it. Originally published in 2004, this new edition sees some substantial revisions: some previous material has been dropped and a lot of new material has been added, especially on more recent films. The whole text has been very significantly reshaped with the addition of images to support Tim's writing. Dozens of films are referred to in this book, which finds new insights into the variety of religious narratives that different countries have produced. Those receiving more in-depth consideration include such masterpieces as The Passion of Joan of Arc, Rome Open City, Diary of a Country Priest, Winter Light, The Gospel According to St Matthew, Three Colours: Red, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Night Of The Hunter, The Funeral, The Samurai, A Man Escaped, In The Fog, The Word, Babette's Feast, Silent Light, Andrei Roublev, The Colour of Pomegranates, Mother and Son, It's a Wonderful Life, The Searchers, Hail Mary, The Banishment, Dead Man Walking, Tree of Life, Into Great Silence, A Canterbury Tale and Philomena. The aim of this new edition is both to explore the way religious narrative has produced a number of masterpieces from such major film-makers as Bresson, Dreyer, Rossellini, Tarkovsky and Kieślowski, but also to reflect on the way the core ideas of Christianity such as salvation, martyrdom and redemption continue to surface in films. Tim also explores the way that a cultural shift towards doubt about the value of religion and even hostility towards Christianity itself has revealed itself in films. Tim describes the way the different denominational contexts of Christianity such as Catholicism, Lutheranism and Orthodoxy differentiate films coming out of those contexts and considerably enrich the whole picture. The book pays particular attention to the way films are conceived and created with a view to illuminating their virtues as a visual medium. It is written in a sinewy but clear style and commends itself to anyone interested in the history of the cinema and in cultural changes since the Second World War.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Matador (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178306384X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783063840
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.7 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,081,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Tim Cawkwell has been in love with films ever since his childhood in the 1950s. For 20 years he was a film-maker. He co-edited The World Encyclopaedia of Film (Studio Vista, 1972) and in 2008 launched a website for his writing on film. For 30 years he worked in the not-for-profit sector, culminating in the lay position of chief administrative officer for Norwich Cathedral in the UK. He continues to live in Norwich, continues to watch and think about films, and about the claims of religion.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition
This book updates the same author's earlier 'Filmgoer's Guide to God' and continues the same good work. A series of themed vignettes identifies and illustrates the attitudes to religion of various contemporary filmmakers and directors, and their treatment of religious issues in film.
The author makes clear from the start that this is not an exhaustive tome, rather a stimulus to deeper exploration of key films by important film luminaries, such as Bresson, Godard, Tarkovsky, Rossellini and Bunuel. The reworking of the earlier book allows for the inclusion of more recent films such as 'Philomena' and 'Dead Man Walking', emphasising the continuity of the treatment of religious themes in contemporary film.
The reader does not need to have seen every film discussed - although it would help! - because the author is concerned with the underlying theme of religion in film, rather than individual detail. This book should however encourage the true 'iconophile' (to whom the book is dedicated) to search out rarer films and view them as religious commentaries.
The author - himself a filmmaker - writes with authority, humour and passion, challenging the reader to follow the underlying themes from 'God Present, God Absent' through to 'The Book of Revelation'. He ends with a description of 'A Canterbury Tale', described as 'a highly suitable keystone for the edifice of religious cinema' created by the author.
This is not a book to read in one sitting, but nor is it a dry, academic treatise. It is an original and intelligent contribution to serious film studies.
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