What is a “Christian film”?
According to Wikipedia, “Christian film” is “an umbrella term for films containing a Christian themed message or moral, produced by Christian filmmakers to a Christian audience, and films produced by non-Christians with Christian audiences in mind”. I see no reason to contest that both because it is probably as accurate as any definition I could come up with and because it is not my intent to dedicate this blog to “Christian films”, though our paths may cross at times.
Do you have something against Christian films?
Nothing. It’s just not the point. If you look at the definition I quoted above, you’ll notice that the “Christian-ness” of a given film is determined by the target audience. But movies for Christians, by Christians are not my concern here. I want us to make a greater effort to examine Christian themes in films intended for a general audience.
Will all the films you feature here be family friendly?
In a word, NO. How many of them are will depend on your definition of “family friendly”. I have little personal interest in films that revel in the Fall (excessive violence, swearing, nudity, etc), so you’re not likely to see anything too extreme here, but some of these films will include elements that some will find objectionable. Looking ahead to some things I do plan to cover, I can tell you now, there will be sex and swearing and some moderate violence, among other things. I will do my best to note these issues somewhere so you can decide for yourself whether you want your family to see it or not. I’m not gonna sit here and count swear words for you, but if there are enough that it actually sticks out in my memory, I’ll definitely point that out.
Will all the movies be in color?
Ugh! I can’t watch a black and white movie!
Yes, you can.
Will they all be in English, at least?
Nah. I’ve got movies from Poland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Mexico and plenty of other countries coming down the pike. The Gospel is for everyone, after all, not just anglophones. Moreover, some of these movies won’t have spoken dialog at all. Don’t worry, though, it’s good for you. Wait until we get into Lois Weber’s social consciousness films from the WWI era.
Who are your favorite directors and will you be covering them here?
Some of my favorites, like Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges made mostly light yet subversive comedies which may not really fit the mold here. (Though it could be interesting to delve into Lubitsch’s post war melodrama Broken Lullaby or maybe the second half of Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels some day. Others, like Carl Th. Dreyer and Eric Rohmer have Christian philosophical currents running underneath many of their films (even if Dreyer was famously “nonreligious”.