Cinematic Construction of Early Modern Religions

  • Author(s): Richard Walsh
  • When: 2013-12
  • Where: Reformation
  • This article focuses on the construction of early modern religions in some recent films about early modernity. The films create different aesthetic worlds and value systems, but one can make some general comments about the early modern religions they create. One prominent religion, which they create (and which never existed previously), has some similarity to Protestantism. This article‚Äôs final section attempts to situate and clarify that assertion. Before that, the article makes brief cinematic and thematic comments on the films and is, in essence, a review of those films. The article arranges the films into topical groups in order to highlight specific themes pertinent to the various films‚Äô hallowing work. The article progresses through these topics: the Tudors (and English nationalism); Russian nationalism; anti-authoritarianism and religious violence; border wars (the problem of Turks and of independent women); challenges to Euro-centrism and colonization; and the revelatory power of art. While this arrangement is not necessary, it does move from the most popular cinematic topic (the Tudors) to examples in which cinema hallows itself (and art generally) quite blatantly and offers itself, in some sense, as a substitute for religion.

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