Cinema of Transcendence is a three-month program that will examine the role of spirituality on film as well as man’s search for enlightenment. We shall explore this theme through many genres of classic Hollywood including pre-Code, horror, gangster, Western, and historical epic. Though some films will challenge us, as with the hypocrisy seen in 1931’s The Miracle Woman, the overarching theme reflects the light of faith in a dim world. We will look upon the divine image of Christ on film, as well as religious allegory in drama, and the role of Christian legend.
Though these films offer a Hollywood version of religion, they were nevertheless made in the spirit of the message. There are no reinterpretations of The Word, no black comedies or misguided attempts to modernize the message as has been seen in the last fifty years.
What the Christian cinema markets today is often simplistic, condescending, and laughably bad. Nevertheless, the worst of these films– God is Not Dead, Son of God, etc.– seem to gather a huge audience. Nevermind that they have the production values of a cable movie or are cast with “actors” who would be better off on the cover of GQ– not in the pages of the New Testament. These modern religious films seem to make money because audiences are obligated to see them. This is product tailored specifically for a particular market, and moviegoers flock to the theatre by the busload.
What if instead we did a series of good religious movies that don’t insult our intelligence? Films that depict an enlightenment of the soul without making us feel as though we were emotionally manipulated. This was the reasoning and motivation behind this series.