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Matters of Place: Placing Religion in Film

M. Gail Hamner explores the place of religion in film where, beyond cartography, place is relational: indexed in an at once individual and collective where, what and when. Beyond tracking actual and tangible places such as the Vatican or American West, religion in film is about what she calls affecognitive economies that offer expression for felt if unthought responses to those places. Hamner’s attention to film form, including light and sound, and to the sedimented histories of certain places further offer ways of feeling the violences that not only mark our current world filmicly but that also inundate our daily lived lives.

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Flaying the Second Skin: Mormon Underwear and Intersectionality

Dai Newman draws attention to movies in which gay Mormon men engage in their first sexual encounter. In each case, the films include a brief moment of exposing sacred Mormon undergarments on the cusp of erotic contact. Newman considers how the garment is a visible, physical marker of conflicting identities and raises questions about the ability of intersectionality theory to explain the overlap of religion and sexuality.

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Religion, Materiality and Machines in Faouzi Bensaïdi’s Death for Sale

Rebecca Moody interprets Bensaïdi’s 2011 film, Death for Sale, using a variety of perspectives; from the ways that religion influences the materialization of political and economic structures—especially in relation to state institutions—to the link between broken (or breaking) institutions and broken (or breaking) lives, as informed by Deleuze and Guattari, to the struggles of Muslim women in rapidly changing societies. The film uses subtle visual techniques and minimal dialogue to convey the conflicts and fragmentation that commence when two (or more) starkly different ways of life are forced into an uneasy alliance too quickly.

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