Church of England turns Jesus into drug addict

A former drug addict takes the place of Jesus – wearing a crown of thorns made from syringes – as part of a shock tactic advertisement the Church of England hopes will attract new worshippers this Easter.

Rob Jones, 46, from Halifax, West Yorks, who spent years living rough punctuated by time in prison before turning his life around, plays the central role in a short film modelled on a traditional passion play.

He appears alongside a former white witch who converted to Christianity and others in the video made as part of the Church’s “Just Pray” campaign.

‘Deadpool,’ ‘Easy A,’ And More: 12 Films Condemned By The Catholic Church

DeadpoolWhen it comes to movie ratings, we are all familiar with the same letters: G, PG, PG-13, and R. These ratings serve as a notification for movie-goers so that we know the general level of maturity of the film. If the film is PG, sure, bring the kids. If it’s R, leave the kids at home.

What you may not know is that the Catholic News Service has their own set of ratings in accordance to their own beliefs and morals. They have five different ratings, consisting of A-I (general patronage), A-II (adolescents and adults), A-III (adults), L (limited adult audience), and O (morally offensive).

While an L rating states that a very small adult audience should see the film, an O rating claims that the film shouldn’t be seen at all.

Film Series: “Faith and Religion in Film”

Going My Way, 1944Few things inspire such passion and conflict–and such meaningfulness and peace–in our lives as religion. Join us for different looks at faith and religion through the lens of the filmmaker as we start our next film series at OLLI: “Faith and Religion in Film” on April 11. During April through July, we will screen these eight movies, each with differing perspectives on the role of religion in individual lives and in communities and civilizations:

April 11 A Man For All Seasons, 1966
April 25 Elmer Gantry, 1960
May 9 Amazing Grace, 2006
May 23 Going My Way, 1944
June 13 The Robe, 1953
June 27 The Chosen, 1981
July 11 Doubt, 2008
July 25 Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973

CALL FOR PAPERS: Divine Recognition

Film and HistoryAn area of multiple panels for the 2016 Film & History Conference:
Gods and Heretics: Figures of Power and Subversion in Film and Television
October 26-October 30, 2016
The Milwaukee Hilton
Milwaukee, WI (USA)

DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2016
AREA: Divine Recognition

This area invites papers that explore and debate cinematic portrayals of spirituality and religion, ranging from subtle, permeating themes to examining explicitly devout characters and religious ritual. Ideal presentations will identify figures of piety that may include devout saints, fanatical zealots, or conniving charlatans; religious rituals may represent real-life traditions or fictional fabrications. This area welcomes the discussion of large-scale biblical epics, intimate spiritual journeys, and other themes that critically reflect on the intersection of faith and film.

“Through a Class Darkly” – takes a look at religion in an unconventional way

Through a Class DarklyA supernatural world full of mythical beings and musical songs set on East Carolina University’s campus comes alive tonight in Speight Auditorium.

Through a Class Darkly,” a film written and directed by ECU professor Michael Tierno, takes a look at religion in an unconventional way. Tierno, creator of “Through a Class Darkly,” drew from his observations of religion to write the film.

“I’m obviously teaching in the Bible Belt and I’m sort of surrounded by a lot of faith based students,” said Tierno. “I’m more of an atheist myself. But I felt like it’s sometimes hard to feel all alone in the universe and these kids have faith and a lot of the rest of the world demonizes faith based people.”

The Passion review – Jesus Christ turns superstar in live broadcast

The PassionFox’s take on the story of the crucifixion comes live from New Orleans, with the aid of pop music and some inescapably campy production choices

For anyone who grew up in a Christian household, the story of the crucifixion is absolutely familiar. However, The Passion, Fox’s live retelling of that story with the help of pop stars and modern music, made it seem like the most confounding experience imaginable. The live TV show, whose format was first tried in the Netherlands, was a bizarre combination of live concert film, news report and the kind of DVD that a youth minister of a megachurch would play to try to make religion appeal to kids.

Hell or High Water Trailer

Hell or High Water” tells the story of a young pastor loved and adored by the people around him. Things change for him when he has to confront a hidden truth about himself—a truth that could make or break him psychologically. But, whatever decision he makes, he is still going to crash and burn, for life as he once knew it would never be the same again. The story explores the reality of sexuality amidst spirituality, exorcism, blackmail, and family life. ”Hell or High Water” challenges stereotypical narratives about sexuality and spirituality.

Books added to filmandreligion.com in March 2016

Cover for Pasolini: The Sacred FleshIn the month of March 2016 I added this 19 books to filmandreligion.com that discusses aspects of film/TV and religion. About half of them are from the last year, and the rest is from the 2000’s

  1. Big Screen Bible Lore (2013) by John Howard ReidBuy
  2. Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies (2004) by Roy M. AnkerBuy
  3. Chasm: Crossing the Divide Between Hollywood and People of Faith (2014) by Larry W. PolandBuy
  4. A Christian Response to Horror Cinema: Ten Films in Theological Perspective (2015) by Peter FraserBuy
  5. Cinéma Divinité: Religion, Theology, and the Bible in Film (2005) by Eric S. Christianson, Peter Francis and William TelfordBuy
  6. Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global (2015) by Marla FrederickBuy
  7. Divine Film Comedies: Biblical Narratives, Film Sub-Genres, and the Comic Spiri (2016) by Terry Lindvall, J. Dennis Bounds, Chris LindvallBuy
  8. Dream West: Politics and Religion in Cowboy Movies (2013) by Douglas BrodeBuy
  9. Empire Triumphant: Race, Religion and Rebellion in the Star Wars Films (2005) by Kevin J. WetmoreBuy
  10. The Gospel According To Monty Python (2014) by Julian DoyleBuy
  11. Mimesis, Movies, and Media: Violence, Desire, and the Sacred (2015) by Scott Cowdell, Chris Fleming, Joel Hodge (Editors)Buy
  12. One Power in the ‘Verse: Finding God in Firefly and Serenity (2009) by Paul LytleBuy
  13. Pasolini: The Sacred Flesh (2015) by Stefania BeniniBuy
  14. Paul Tillich and the Possibility of Revelation through Film (2012) by Jonathan BrantBuy
  15. Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies (2012) by William D. RomanowskiBuy
  16. Religious Science Fiction in Battlestar Galactica and Caprica: Women as Mediators of the Sacred and Profane (2015) by Jutta WimmlerBuy
  17. Salvation from Cinema: The Medium is the Message (2015) by Crystal DowningBuy
  18. Theology Goes to the Movies (2007) by Clive MarshBuy
  19. When the Lights Go Down: Movie Review as Christian Practice (2014) by Mark D. EckelBuy

BFI Flare: Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? follows Saar, a gay man from a very religious family in Israel. After being kicked out of the kibbutz because of his sexuality, Saar moves to London, where he enjoys all of the pleasures that had been denied to him in the restrictive space of his home country. These pleasures however, lead to an HIV diagnoses and more turbulent times for Saar. But with the support and love of his friends in his adoptive city, and the fantastic support and community of the London’s Gay Men’s Chorus, Saar beings to repair and bridge the relationships with his family, and educates them about the rest of the world.

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is a very real look into life with HIV, homosexuality and religion, immigration, separation from family, heartbreak, community and relationships. And if you worry for one moment that a documentary attempting to cover all of these enormous and important topics might feel cluttered or watered down, you’d be dead wrong. Through the masterful direction of the Heymann brothers, the skills of Alexander Bodin Saphir and his team, and the instant and permanent connection you make with Saar from the moment he appears on screen, you are engaged, involved and charmed.

Risen movie review: when habeas corpus gets weird

RisenHere’s something we don’t see often on the big screen: a detective story set in the ancient world. There are lots of novels, but I can’t think of a single other movie in the mold of Risen, an initially intriguing mystery tale in which a politically ambitious Roman soldier, Clavius (Joseph Fiennes [Hercules, Running with Scissors], who is terrific here), is set to a policing task by Pilate (Peter Firth: Spooks: The Greater Good, Pearl Harbor), the Roman governor of the province of Judea in the Middle East. It seems that the followers of a local rabble-rousing preacher who was just executed believe that he is some sort of “messiah” and that he will somehow rise from the dead, so Pilate instructs Clavius to put a guard on the preacher’s tomb, lest his followers steal the body and proclaim him arisen in fulfillment of their prophecy. And when Clavius’s inept guards fail at their task and the body does indeed disappear from the tomb, the soldier now has to hunt down the preacher’s followers in the hopes of finding the body and disproving the “prophecy.” The whole situation is, you see, perceived to be politically embarrassing for the local religious authorities and for the Romans, all of whom obviously have no use for the antiestablishment attitude the dead preacher had been spreading.