1st Edition

Transcendence and Spirituality in Chinese Cinema A Theological Exploration

By Kris H.K Chong Copyright 2020
    178 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a framework by which a global audience might think theologically about contemporary films produced in mainland China by Chinese directors. Up to this point the academic discipline of Christian theology and film has focussed predominantly on Western cinema, and as a result, has missed out the potential insights offered by Chinese spirituality on film.

    Mainland Chinese films, produced within the nation’s social structure, offer an excellent lingua franca of China. Illuminating the spiritual imagination of Chinese filmmakers and their yearning for transcendence, the book uses Richard A. Blake’s concept of afterimage to analyse the potential theological implications of their films. It then brings Jürgen Moltmann’s "immanent-transcendence" and Robert K. Johnston’s "God’s wider Presence" into conversation with Confucianist and Daoist ideas of there being, spirituality-speaking, "More in Life than Meets the Eye" than simply material existence. This all combines to move beyond film and allow for a Western audience to gain a new perspective on Chinese culture and traditions. One that uses familiar Western terms, while avoiding the imposition of a Western mindset.

    This is a new perspective on cinema, religion and Chinese culture that will be of keen interest to scholars of Religion and Film, Religious Studies, Theology, Sociology of Religion and Chinese Studies.

    1 More in Life than Meets the Eye: Afterimage in Chinese Films

    2 Ultimate Concern: Tillich and Chinese Films

    3 Afterimage: The Fifth Generation Filmmakers

    4 Reframing Afterimage: The Sixth Generation Filmmakers

    5 Towards A Wider Presence in Chinese Films


    Kris H.K. Chong (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary; MPhil, Cambridge University) currently teaches at Baptist Theological Seminary, Singapore. Her work centres around Systematic Theology, Faith and Film and Theology & Culture. She has published in various academic journals in both English and Chinese. She writes Chinese articles for her own column 《海角一方》for Singapore’s leading Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报.