2016 - 2017

  Spiritual Cinematic Aesthetics                                                                       
Dan ChyutinMexico - Arts119Mon1600-2000 Sem  1
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description

How may we define spiritual film aesthetics? This question has preoccupied various scholars in film and religious studies over the past several decades. The basic premise underlying their scholarly attempts has been that certain aesthetic choices may create a spiritual dimension within a given film, even if it does not address religious issues directly, and that viewers can experience enlightenment and even ecstasy as a result of encountering these choices. The class will examine the implications of this premise with reference to Western and Eastern religious-spiritual traditions and in the context of such preeminent “spiritual” directors as Robert Bresson, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Yasujirō Ozu, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrei Tarkovsky, Carlos Reygadas, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Discussions will focus on select films made by these and other filmmakers and analyze their aesthetic ingredients in light of relevant filmic and theological research. By comparing these ingredients, we will ultimately question the existence of a spiritual-cinematic meta-style, and by extension—the nature of film’s supposed “spiritual potential”.

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