World Cinema, Theology, and the Human
Humanity in Deep Focus
Routledge – 2012 – 164 pages
Forging an open-minded but reasoned dialogue between nine acclaimed titles of world cinema, and a range of theological perspectives that touch on the theme of human experience, World Cinema, Theology, and the Human offers fresh portals of insight for the interdisciplinary area of Theology and Film. In Sison’s approach, it is the cinematic representation of vivid humanity, not necessarily propositional statements about God and religion, that lays down a bridge to a conversation with theology. Thus, the book’s project is to look for the divine presence, written not on tablets of stone, but on "tablets of human hearts" depicted on screen by way of audiovisual language. Seeking to redress the interdiscipline’s narrow predilection for Hollywood blockbusters, the book casts its net wider to include a culturally diverse selection of case studies– from festival gems such as Singapore’s Be With Me and South Africa’s Yesterday, to widely-acclaimed sleeper hits such as Britain’s Slumdog Millionaire and New Zealand’s Whale Rider. The book will appeal to scholars of theology and religious/cultural studies interested in the Theology/Religion-Film interface, and, because of its commitment to an examination of film qua film, a crossover readership from film studies.
‘Professor Sison advances the dialogue between film and religion by adding a welcome international voice to the discussion. Students of theology and film, as well as serious film viewers, will find this an illuminating conversation with several lesser known but important films from around the world.’ – Richard Blake, Boston College, USA
'Antonio Sison sagaciously sifts through film's profanities to find sacred nuggets buried within: on toilets and motorcycles, among infectious diseases and teenagers in love, in flying kites and dancing ballet. As with Sison's previous writings, World Cinema, Theology, and the Human proffers a brilliant balance between the well-written and the scholarly, while remaining rooted in human experiences. Being fully human has something to do with being more fully aware, and Sison here succeeds in bringing us to our audio-visual senses. In so doing, readers will become more conscious of the holy depths of everyday life.' – S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College, USA
'In this book, Sison skillfully demonstrates the intricate affinity and pulsating synergy between film and theology. He offers readers powerful lenses for appreciating the art of film as a revelatory medium of the reign of God. This impressive work breaks new ground in the hermeneutics of cinema and equips readers to view film with a fresh set of eyes and to discover in it profound theological meaning and spiritual insight.' – Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator
'[Sison’s] eloquent and beautiful style takes the reader beyond mere technicalities. As a great storyteller, he focuses on the film narrative, allowing theological reflection to sprout. While the reader may perceive in S. the training of a theologian with a well-rounded knowledge of film, S., being a filmmaker as well, clearly has a great passion for film. His knowledge and love for film making are such that his writings put into practice a method for art making: the art of discovering humanity in depth by means of an insightful interdisciplinary dialogue.' – Angel F. Mendez Montoya, Universidad Iberomericana, Mexico City in Theological Studies
Introduction Part I: Creative Humanity 1. Dance Of the Humanum: Billy Elliot 2. To Taste and See Heaven’s Love: Be with Me Part II: Reconciling Humanity 3. Measuring Forgiveness: The Son 4. A Way To Be Good Again: Kite Runner Part III: Liberating Humanity 5. Playing For Life: Lagaan, Slumdog Millionaire 6. Wheels Of Change: Motorcycle Diaries Part IV: Inclusive Humanity 7. She Who is Three in One: Yesterday 8. Christ-Figure on the Back of a Whale: Whale Rider Filmography Bibliography Index
Antonio D. Sison, C.PP.S., Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. He is the author of Screening Schillebeeckx: Theology and Third Cinema in Dialogue (2006) and a contributor to Routledge Companion to Religion and Film (Routledge, 2009). He is also an independent digital filmmaker.