Sunday, February 2, 2020

Can the Medium of Film Surpass the Bible in Biblical Storytelling?

For anyone interested in filmmaking, a film that features the internal operations of a film studio—especially one during the “Golden Age” of Hollywood (i.e., the 1940s and 1950s)—is likely to be captivating. After all, as Eddie Mannix, the studio executive in Hail, Caesar! (2016), says, the “vast masses of humanity look to pictures for information and uplift and, yes, entertainment.” This film provides all three for its audience in terms of filmmaking and the studio system. The film could have provided the three in terms of Christian theology too, but the treatment is hurried and thus difficult to digest, with the exception of Baird Whitlock’s emotional speech on a studio set as the Crucifixion scene is being filmed within the film. Eddie Manix’s meeting with a rabbi, Catholic priest, Greek Orthodox priest, and Protestant minister is flooded with fast-moving theological points, and is unfortunately of little use to the viewers of Hail, Caesar!  This is interesting because the scene’s role in the film’s narrative is to make the point that Capital Studio’s management takes seriously the informational role the film being shot in the film.

The full essay is at "Hail, Caesar!"