The Aura of the Divine. Religions in Film


2008, Feb 23, Sat — 2008, Mar 08, Sat

Film theorist Siegfried Kracauer once said that the cinema deals with physical reality, with what can be presented. Many theoreticians of religion contend that religions deal with the relationship of human beings to the transcendental, in other words: with the relationship to that which defies representation. At the same time, however, religions shape life and the way it is perceived, they seek to be concrete and to give expression; they link the finite and the infinite, the abstract and the concrete. For religions do not exist only in an inner mental space, but also have their visible sides: in a practice that creates identity. And for this reason, they play an important role in life and in its images and, not least, in film too – although the ‘likeness’ can be assigned a very different status by the different religions.

This series shows films from the religious-cultural regions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. It asks what the cinematic point of view can show us about specific religious-cultural and aesthetic phenomena. How are religions and religious life portrayed in film? What is the relationship between religious content, religious life and forms of cinematic expression? Do specific religious systems of meaning influence the camera’s point of view or the narrative structure? This series aims to take up these and other questions and thereby contribute to our understanding the Other and the Self. Each film will be introduced by a 30-minute talk.

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