Here's more proof that Faith and Film don't have to add up to cringe-worthy cheese! There is a place for enjoying the world of movies from a Christian perspective that neither denies discernment and wisdom, nor rejects anything "the world" creates.
I'm a massive fan of cinema - my wife would probably call me obsessed - and I've always enjoyed getting immersed in other worlds and stories. From a Christian point-of-view this does, of course, present the challenge of knowing when to say "No" to watching a film due to its unhelpful or blatantly dangerous content, and knowing when to enjoy getting to understand someone else's world-view.
FOCUS does exactly that - here, Tony Watkins walks us through the art of enjoying and discerning the culture of cinema. Every film-maker has a world-view, and every film they make presents a taste of what that world-view is. Tony teaches us how we can delve deeper into a film, past the surface of mere entertainment (which, in its own way can influence us with anti-Biblical messages that we don't realise we're accepting), and dive further into engaging with the things we do agree with, the things we don't, and why.
This is a fantastic book for lovers of cinema, who also want to engage with the world around them for God's glory. Go buy!
A thought-provoking cartoon of two missionaries (named Mish and Meedja - geddit?) shows them walking through a street, one saying, "I give up! I just can't find a way to reach these people." Around them are shops and stalls selling comics, and everyone is reading them.
Most people in most cultures spend a considerable part of their leisure time in the world of story - films (cinema and TV) and books. Using culture as a way in to the good news about Jesus therefore seems almost essential. In this vital book, culture-watch guru Tony Watkins, of Damaris.org, writes about cinema with great insight and clarity. He divides his writing into three 'reels'. The first explains how worldview inevitably shapes films and their obvious or implied messages. His second explains how films communicate - the methods that film-makers use to tell a story. And the third reel helps us understand and interpret what films are actually saying. Although other books (e.g. Hollywood Worldviews) cover some of this material, no one else seems to have drawn it all into one volume.
Should you read it? If you are a web writer or blogger, yes. If you are a preacher, yes. If you ever talk to work-mates or friends about TV or film, yes. That really means everyone, right?
This is a masterful book that communicates the author's experience both enjoying and thinking about film. What I loved about this book was that it was utterly unpretentious. Most books on film make you feel like an idiot, because you aren't as "well watched" as the writer. Watkin's is a welcome relief from all of that, and is clearly able to do justice to the films as well as some of the themes that he tackles. This book has given me a superb list of great films to see, and has also helped me to appreciate what I have already watched. I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommended.
Having been studying Media With Cultural studies at university, this book has been a great follow on to apply my Christian faith to my knowledge of film and culture. Any one with an interest in watching or studying film, and is looking at how christians in contemporary society can engage with film, should read this book.
Tony has a great way of mixing examples of films, bible references, and his own knowledge of both to create a brilliant and easy to understand read. The book really helps you to look deeper into how culture is created, and how we should be engaging with it.
This book explores both the art and the soul of cinema (hence the subtitle). Some of the mechanics of film making are looked at with the emphasis on how this adds to the message of the film. The heart of this book examines how films communicate, how they are profoundly meaningful and worthy of serious thought and critical engagement.
Overall, an excellent resource, full of helpful examples to make going to the cinema, or thinking about film, a more fruitful and enjoyable experience. Essential for anyone studying film and media as well as for anyone who wants to go beyond the superficial and think about how films are fundamentally spiritual.
As a Christian working in the film industry, Focus has been a great guidebook and a reminder of the ultimate God behind creativity. Film is both beautiful and flawed, and Tony helpfully discusses both sides of the industry and its motivations, and gives insight for anyone who struggles with what they watch. It's great to be entertained at the cinema, but it's even greater to learn how to take a step back, and analyse what's going on behind the scenes. The tools for doing this are provided right here. Buy it!