Film festivity

So Andrea and I wandered over to Yorkville after church today to see if we would run into any A-list celebrities… last year some friends of ours got their picture taken with Howie Mandel, so we were setting our sights pretty high. And we did actually see someone famous: NBA superstar Steve Nash, or at least his doppelganger, which would have been more exciting if either of us were remotely interested in basketball. No George Clooney, though – sorry folks.

In any case TIFF fever has overtaken the city – giant posters of eTalk hosts Tanya Kim and Ben Mulroney now dominate the skyline – and we’ve been trying to get tickets for a few of the shows. One of the films that looks really good is “Of Gods and Men,” which follows a group of Algerian monks in the midst of an extremely hostile political situation. Of course it’s sold out, so we’ll be trying our luck at 7 am on Tuesday. Also we might try to pop by one of the remaining Wavelengths screenings at the AGO, as there will be screenings of new work by Peter Tscherkassky and Ken Jacobs. But if not, I’ll hopefully see some of the “experimental” films at the new Lightbox after the festival is over.

It’s interesting thinking about the proximity of my new home at the St. Mike’s Department of Theology to all the celebrity goings-on in Yorkville. “Film” and “theology”… two things that do not go together very often, or at least with much forethought. I think this dialogue is just breaking open. Evangelical scholar Robert Johnston and co. are definitely moving in an interesting direction by talking about how the narratives of cinematic stories can be “read” theologically. But they aren’t really penetrating to the essence of cinema as a medium, of photographic “writing with light” and how that has its own peculiar mysticism.

A great resource for this field that has recently come to my attention is the Arts & Faith “Top 100” films, available at It pretty much defines the canon in terms of film and theology, with some Kieslowski, Tarkovsky, Bergman, P.T. Anderson, Babette’s Feast (of course) but also  some unexpected inclusions such as Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the Afternoon.”

N.B. – “Fireproof” was somehow left off the list.


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