Tim Cawkwell’s knowledge and experience of the cinema has been poured into his writings about it. Originally published in 2004, this new edition sees some substantial revisions: some previous material has been dropped and a lot of new material has been added, especially on more recent films. The whole text has been very significantly reshaped with the addition of images to support Tim’s writing.
Dozens of films are referred to in this book, which finds new insights into the variety of religious narratives that different countries have produced. Those receiving more in-depth consideration include such masterpieces as The Passion of Joan of Arc, Rome Open City, Diary of a Country Priest, Winter Light, The Gospel According to St Matthew, Three Colours: Red, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Night Of The Hunter, The Funeral, The Samurai, A Man Escaped, In The Fog, The Word, Babette’s Feast, Silent Light, Andrei Roublev, The Colour of Pomegranates, Mother and Son, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Searchers, Hail Mary, The Banishment, Dead Man Walking, Tree of Life, Into Great Silence, A Canterbury Tale and Philomena.
The aim of this new edition is both to explore the way religious narrative has produced a number of masterpieces from such major film-makers as Bresson, Dreyer, Rossellini, Tarkovsky and Kieślowski, but also to reflect on the way the core ideas of Christianity such as salvation, martyrdom and redemption continue to surface in films. Tim also explores the way that a cultural shift towards doubt about the value of religion and even hostility towards Christianity itself has revealed itself in films.
Tim describes the way the different denominational contexts of Christianity such as Catholicism, Lutheranism and Orthodoxy differentiate films coming out of those contexts and considerably enrich the whole picture. The book pays particular attention to the way films are conceived and created with a view to illuminating their virtues as a visual medium. It is written in a sinewy but clear style and commends itself to anyone interested in the history of the cinema and in cultural changes since the Second World War.
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I first had my name on a book when I co-edited THE WORLD ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF FILM in 1972. Forty years later I was publishing articles and in 2008 launched a website for my writing on film. In 2011 I published my first digital book FILM PAST FILM FUTURE and since then have published three essays online: TEMENOS 2012 (about the Temenos film festival in Greece), FROM NEURALGISTAN TO THE ELATED KINGDOM: A PERSONAL JOURNEY INSIDE SICILY IN SIX MOVEMENTS (a travel book but not as you know it) and, in 2013, BETWEEN WEE FREE AND WI FI: SCOTLAND AND THE UK BELONG, SURELY? (about the cultural, historical and geographical links between Scotland and the rest of the UK). In 2015, I published A TIVOLI COMPANION: HISTORY AND GARDENS about the Italian hill town near Rome famous for Hadrian's Villa, the Villa d'Este and the Parco Villa Gregoriana.
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