1st Edition

Exploring Film and Christianity Movement as Immobility

Edited By Rita Benis, Sérgio Dias Branco Copyright 2025
    304 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the connections between film and Christianity, considering how films express and depict Christian faith and spirituality and provide experiences associated with it. The notion of movement as immobility (from Simone Weil) is employed to describe film and its images in motion. Its movements can reconnect us with the movements of the world, those motions in which a mysterious sense of order, what Weil calls ‘immobility’, arises. Film is understood as a privileged form to access inscrutable spiritual (in)visibilities that can be linked with Christian concepts and practices. The chapters in this volume offer new studies of hailed directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Robert Bresson combined with analyses of recent notable films including Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, Martin Scorsese’s Silence, and Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Organised around the productive topics of theory, expression, depiction and experience, they make a valuable contribution to interdisciplinary research on film and Christianity.

    Introduction: Exploring Film and Christianity

    Rita Benis and Sérgio Dias Branco

    Part I: Theory
    1.       The European Tradition?: Film and Christianity Beyond the Canon

              Catherine Wheatley

    2.       “Little Sister Reality”: The Franciscan Sources of Bazin’s Philosophy of Cinema

                       John Caruana

    3.       Pattern, Rupture, Reaction: Christian Theology and the Temporal Dynamics of Cinema

                       Joseph G. Kickasola

    Part II: Expression

    4.       Cinema Places Us Waiting for What?: A Religious Look at the Cinema of João Salaviza

              José Tolentino Mendonça

    5.       Filming the Soul: From Robert Bresson to Manoel de Oliveira

              Maria Rosário Lupi Bello

    6.       On Christian Values and Bresson’s Forms: A Contribution to a Philosophical Legacy of Cinema

              Maria Irene Aparício

    Part III: Depiction

    7.       Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalgia: Personal Search and Spiritual Redemption

              Mário Avelar

    8.       The Striving Promissory: On the Immobile Movement of Promise in The Given Word (1962)

              José Manuel Martins

    9.       Herzog’s Kasper Hauser, or The Enigma of the Hidden God

              Paolo Stellino

    10.     Remembrance of a Lost Spring

              Adriana Martins

    11.     Theft and Return: An Augustinian Reading of Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket

              Gerard Loughlin

    12.     To Be is to Be Free: Cybernetic Life as Christian Subjectivity in Blade Runner 2049

              M. Gail Hamner


    Part IV: Experience

    13.     Surface and Depth: Icons in Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev

              Bruno C. Duarte

    14.     Revisioning Christian Film Aesthetics in Martin Scorsese’s Silence

              Dan Chyutin

    15.     Film Viewing as Actuosa Participatio: The Tree of Life’s Sacramental Experience

              Pablo Alzola

    16.     Movement as a Core of Being: Watching Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups Through David Bentley Hart’s Theology

              Denys Kondyuk


    Rita Benis is a Researcher at the Centre for Comparative Studies at the University of Lisbon,


    Sérgio Dias Branco is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.