Special Focus:
Moving Pictures, Moving Our Hearts

Like all record breaking movies, "Titanic" taps into a strong emotional vein. Such films move our passions in wondrous ways. Recall some of the most memorable films of the last 25 years. Do not all of them find either a basic yearning ("Star Wars", "E.T.") or fear ("Jaws", "Jurassic Park") that they can appeal to in a visually spectacular way?

The ability of images to profoundly move the soul is not a concept exclusive to Christianity. Plato knew well the psychology behind the effective use of imagery. But does the content of many contemporary movies that we pour into our minds concern us? Do we care that many filmmakers play to our emotional sympathies as they challenge, even mock, our convictions? Perhaps the "right" to be entertained is one of our most cherished convictions. Current mainstream movie screens are filled with explicit scenes of extramarital sex, meaningless violence and cultic ritual draped in postmodern trappings. The ready acceptance of these disturbing elements should tell us something about our society and ourselves.

Feature Article:

The U.S. Titanic
John Gay
Is there something beyond the perfect set design, the dazzling effects, and the box office receipts? Is there more to "Titanic" than meets the eye?

Reviews of Movies Past:

The "English Patient" Plays "Casablanca"
David Aaron Murray
It won nine Oscars including Best Picture (only two films in history have ever won more claimed the ads). Does the "English Patient" deliver a sublime message or mere sentimentality? The reviewer answers this question by comparing this postmodernist movie to the film classic,"Casablanca."

The Moral World of the "English Patient"
First Things, Correspondence (October 1997)
Two readers of David Aaron Murray's review of "The English Patient" respond to his harsh critique of the film. This article includes Murray's reply to each of them.

The 2001 Principle
Mordechai Steinman and Gershon Robinson
In the annals of motion picture history, the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" holds a special place. Though outwardly science fiction, the film speaks about life, the universe, and reality in general, and the message seems to be one of enormous consequence. But that message may not be what you think.

The World View of "Jurassic Park"
Dr. Ray Bohlin
The book and movie "Jurassic Park" were more than just great entertainment. There was a specific attempt to alter the way you think about Nature, its use and potential abuse.

Why the Main Character of "Braveheart" Is Not William Wallace
John Gay
Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" won five academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Most people would assume that Gibson's character, William Wallace, about whom the movie was named, was the movie's central character. Was he? If not, who was? And how does this character's life speak to our own lives?

Movies and Morality:

Film and the Christian
Todd Kappelman
How should a Christian view films? The author, an experienced film critic, calls us to demonstrate discernment in distinguishing between art and entertainment, without damaging one's spiritual vitality.

Lost in the Movies
James Nuechterlein
Contemporary films are replete with scenes and innuendos of casual sex. When such movies are explicit and degrading, we may find ourselves repulsed. But there are many times when the message is more subtle and perhaps just as dangerous.

Movies and Morals
Ray Cotton
This article provides warnings and guidelines for movie watching.

Friday Night at the Movies
Dr. Walter Bradley
"Friday Night at the Movies" is an outreach program to students that takes the form of an Open House with food (pizza, popcorn, dessert, etc.) and soft drinks, but most importantly a thought-provoking movie that raises one of the "big questions" regarding life, meaning, purpose, etc.

Related Articles:

Exorcising Demons
John P. Sisk
Book review of "Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry" by Frank Walsh. The reviewer is John P. Sisk. The author describes the relationship of Catholicism and Hollyood with particular attention paid to the now defunct Legion of Decency. This influential organization of Catholics would instigate powerful boycotts of movies that were deemed morally inappropriate.

Redemptive Sex at the Met
Michael R. Linton
The New York Metropolitan Opera under conductor James Levine has only premiered two works: Phillip Glass's "The Voyage" and John Corigliano's "The Ghost of Versailles." In both operas the plot centers around non-marital sex. Unlike classic opera, however, neither treats this theme with tragic overtones.

The Craft of Acting, the Art of Acting and Their Relationship to the World of the Work
Jeff Taylor
This 41 page paper explores the essence of acting and its relationship to God, Satan, communication, and dramatic art. The relationships which are discussed provide some general principles which are freeing for the Christian who is a dramatic artist, while providing a basis on which the artist can grow in discernment and accountability.

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