Faith and Form on Screen

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Bacon , G 2016 , ' Faith and Form on Screen ' , Religions , vol. 7 , no. 11 .

Title: Faith and Form on Screen
Author: Bacon, George
Contributor organization: Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies
Film and Television Studies
Date: 2016-11
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Religions
ISSN: 2077-1444
Abstract: To understand any aspect of being-in-the-world in general or cinematic experience in particular, both reductionist and holistic approaches are needed. Psychological accounts can give us only functional explanations of human behaviour or responses to signifying artifacts such as art. To understand the significance of these experiences the psychological must be complemented by a study on a level which may be termed spiritual. This line of thought is applied to analyses of Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket, starting from David Bordwell’s formalist and cognitive account of why many people experience this film as religious despite there being no explicit reference to religion. Paul Schrader’s analysis of the formal structure of this film in terms of his notion of transcendental style in film goes a step forward by explaining how the formal structure as he analyses it suggests a transcendental dimension which cannot be addressed directly. This approach connects in an illuminating way with Slavoj Žižek’s notions of the imaginary and the symbolic sphere. Bordwell’s approach, functioning on the psychological level, is basically reductionist, while Schrader’s, boosted with Žižek’s ideas as appropriated for the purposes of this article, is holistic and operative on the spiritual level. This two-tiered analysis reveals how cinematic form in Pickpocket serves as an indirect expression of faith.
Subject: 6131 Theatre, dance, music, other performing arts
film form
film style
transcendental style
Robert Bresson
David Bordwell
Paul Schrader
Slavoj Žižek
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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