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Tony Watkins

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  1. Another dimension of this is films/scenes which help people to grasp the importance of some of the basic concepts for the Israelites which are key to understanding the prophets. The idea of covenant, for example, is absolutely central to all that the prophets say (I'm primarily thinking of the writing prophets). But it's an alien idea for most people in western society now. Marriage is the one that people are familiar with, but that institution is no longer seen in covenantal terms by many of those entering into it, so it becomes something for a time, something disposable. Or irrelevant. So communicating the idea of covenant can be tricky. There was a useful example in Kevin Macdonald's The Eagle, which begins to get people into the right kind of conceptual territory: Marcus's father gives him Esca to be his slave. Although Marcus stands for everything which Esca hates, nevertheless he solemnly binds himself to Marcus's service because Marcus saved his life the previous day. Having been saved, he has an obligation. Another important concept is the land. What is there in film which reveals something of the emotional and symbolic tie to the land because it was the territory God had given them? The Na'avi in Avatar, I guess. Carl's attachment to his house is communicated very economically in Up - it's not just that he's an old man who doesn't want to move, but this house represented his and Ellie's hopes and dreams, as well as their life together. Any other ideas on these areas?
  2. Oh, I began to wonder the other day if Woody is one of the great screen prophets. In Toy Story, he proclaims Andy's commitment (hesed?) to the toys and calls the other toys to be faithful to him. He tells Buzz that he will find his truest identity in being what he was made to be - a toy, to be owned and enjoyed by Andy - rather than aspiring to something he's not. Of course, in Toy Story 2, he slips into unfaithfulness when he thinks that going to the museum will be his highest fulfilment, and Buzz preaches the Andy-gospel back to Buzz. There are similar ideas in 3.
  3. I'm primarily interested in the thematic interface rather than examples of [mis]quoting. But I'll copy and paste the relevant part of the list of biblical [mis]quotes in a moment. I'll have a look for your posting about Oversold - it's a new one to me. Certainly some westerns have a prophetic edge. Pale Rider is perhaps the most obvious example (and therefore Shane, too, I guess). There's a great chapter in Cinema Divinite comparing spaghetti westerns to Judges. So, here's the prophets section of The Arts and Faith Scripture in Film Index: Hmm. Not much is there? That's why I'm exploring the thematic connections.
  4. I have used ep. 1 for idolatry several times. Great suggestions about the others - I should have had all of them written down at the top of my list! I don't know it at all, I'm afraid. I must find it. Good one. I tend to associate it with Job, but there's plenty of other resonances. I'll watch it again (any excuse!). Of course! Should have had the first and last, but of these I only have TWBB on my list so far. Excellent. I don't know Masque of the Red Death at all. Thanks!
  5. OK, so it's my first time posting here in absolutely ages and I start back with asking for help. It's rather low, I know, but I still feel part of A&F even if I don't come here all that often anymore. Anyway, enough self-justifying preamble. . . . Some of you know that one of my particular passions is the Old Testament prophets. I'm giving a lecture soon on 'the prophets go to the movies', which is looking at how the prophetic books relate to the world of film. I'm not primarily interested in times when films quote passages from the prophets (though as far as I can tell, that's quite rare so I am still interested in such times - Knowing is probably the most obvious example), but in how some of the themes within the prophets come up in movies. I have some examples already, of course, but I would really value the collective insights of my friends here to help me find more. And I think this might be a subject to make some A&Fers start salivating! My guess is that there are a number of posts here which might cover one or other of them, but there's so much here that I find it hard to unearth such things (there's too much variation in wording to find good search terms). So although I've looked through dozens of threads, I've not unearthed much. Some of the themes which might be worth thinking about, with just a few examples off the top of my head: Idolatry - plenty of examples of this: success/money (e.g. Jerry on the phone in Jerry Maguire); independence (e.g. Clooney's 'no baggage' philosophy in Up in the Air); power (e.g. something in All the King's Men), etc. There's a great line in Elizabethtown: 'Success was the only god the entire world served.' Injustice - Wilberforce confronted with slavery in Amazing Grace; something in Prince Caspian?; grasshoppers demanding more food in A Bug's Life; 'Fairness, justice and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives' in V for Vendetta; Adultery/prostitution metaphor - Jude Law's infidelity in Breaking and Entering; Little Children; Closer Judgment - Knowing, Deep Impact And exile, apostacy, mercy, grace. remnant, hope, repentance, suffering servant, restoration, faith, faithlessness, etc. So, ladies and gentlemen, any bright ideas? Many thanks in advance for your help! Tony
  6. I don't really have time to say much about this now - it's meant to be a flying visit back to A&F to unearth some information - but I will leave a quick post just to say that the Damaris resources on the film are still available from www.damaris.org/creationmovie. I highly recommend the videos featuring Nick Spencer, author of the extremely thoroughly researched Darwin and God. The three scientists are also very interesting - one is an atheist, one an evolutionary creationist and one a young earth creationist. We were delighted that Icon Film Distributors included some of these on the UK DVD. Great, thoughtful post by NW Douglas, by the way.
  7. Somewhat bizarrely I couldn't locate this thread by doing a search for Bible quotations, even using Google site search. So this reply is just to get that particular phrase, and Bible quotes, into the thread!
  8. Scrolling through the topics list looking for something else, I happened to notice this thread and thought The Soloist should be included. (I know the original post was about some festival or other, but these threads are useful to refer to from time to time.)
  9. I'm not so sure. This was in the Telegraph last week: More on Telegraph.co.uk
  10. I really ought to have posted on this before, but I haven't had time to drop into A&F for a while. In Damaris we're producing a lot of resources for churches based on the film - service outline, small group material, outreach events, videos. It's tricky, as you might imagine, as there's a wide spread of opinion on the origins question. Thankfully it's not as polarised in the UK as in the USA, but there are churches that are already accusing us of promoting Darwinism. We're really not - we're saying that Christians have a range of views on the subject, but we can engage with the issues without attacking each other. They're all at www.damaris.org/creationmovie. What we need now is for churches to use them. I think Creation (premieres at TIFF this evening) is a lovely film. It's not a conventional biopic, but imagines the kind of turmoil in Darwin's mind through the device of imagined conversations with his dead daughter, and lots of flashbacks to times before she died. The death of Annie in 1851 was a defining moment in his life and key to his loss of faith. There are three central intertwining strands: the long gestation of On the Origin of Species, the tension with his wife who was a committed Christian, and the grief over Annie's death. Paul Bettany and wife Jennifer Connelly are brilliant as Mr and Mrs Darwin. Some fine supporting roles too. The film does take some artistic liberties with the history in order to tell the story, but that's the nature of telling stories in 2-hour films. There is no evidence, for example, that Darwin imagined (or hallucinated) conversations with Annie, but it's a great device for bringing some of his thinking out into the open. Thomas Huxley did not try to persuade Darwin to publish his ideas; rather he was uncertain about them until after reading Origin (and possibly even then). But it seems to me that everything that is done is effective in bringing the story to life, and opening up other dimensions beyond the science. If you're interested in these aspects, have a look at the Culturewatch.tv video on the page mentioned above, and the 'Digging Deeper into Darwin' videos when they're published (tomorrow I think) with Nick Spencer (author of Darwin and God) talking about the historical reality. My various blogged bits are at www.tonywatkins.co.uk/tag/charles-darwin/, for what they're worth.
  11. Tony Watkins


    Three English schoolboys are raising
  12. I absolutely hated almost every moment of this film. I cannot think of a film I have enjoyed less in years. I confess I'm not a metal fan at all, which didn't help. I assumed it was a mock documentary all the way through and was very surprised to discover that it wasn't.
  13. Interesting piece on views of global warming among Christians in the USA. Disturbing to see the opinions of evangelicals.
  14. Sorry. Not sure whether I just clicked the wrong link through poor motor control or whether it's because I had wondered about posting on this topic too.
  15. I'm late to twitter, too. I started about four weeks ago and I'm finding it a very valuable tool. When it's at the level of trivia, I'm not interested. One or two friends are about to be filtered out of what tweets show up in my feed, I think, and I was very quick to drop Stephen Fry. But for discovering what people whose opinions I value are blogging about, or what they're finding interesting online, it's great. Arguably I could get all their RSS feeds, but that assumes they're blogging everything. And many people don't. I certainly don't - I abandoned my blog which was so intermittent it was too embarrassing ever to post something else to it. But a couple of days ago, twittering spurred me to start a new blog - here's my blog post on why. It's also useful for quickly sending out a discovery of an interesting web page, or news of what I'm doing (usually in relation to my work, not my leisure, though I do those sometimes) to people who are interested. At a recent conference where a colleague and I were leading a seminar track, which included a session on social media, we encouraged people to tweet their questions to us. It turned out that internet access was so poor it didn't work, which was a shame. I heard of one major (5000 people) conference in which tweeted questions during sessions were (after a quick human filtering!) displayed on big screens so that everybody could see what questions and ideas were being stimulated, and the speaker dealt with them as he went. I think there's loads of potential which I'm only just beginning to see (and by selectively using tweets to update my facebook status, I can get more usefulness out of facebook without having to log in, except occasionally to deal with comments my updates have elicited). http://twitter.com/tonywatkins_
  16. Oh, the rotters. You'll have to get the book then.
  17. Interesting piece on views of global warming among Christians in the USA. Disturbing to see the opinions of evangelicals.
  18. Very good BBC documentary on Michael Ward's ideas (made by Norman Stone) is available on BBC iPlayer until next Thursday. Well worth watching for an introduction. My blog post on it.
  19. My article is up. As you'll see (if you read it!) I think the determinism/randomness question is not so much determinism/free will (though that is there, and that is the obvious antithesis, picked up by Peter and by Ebert) but determinism/meaninglessness - which actually is a very wrong pair to put in opposition to each other. I think it pushes us to look at it this way by Koestler's definition of randomness for his students: 'meaningless but inevitable accidents'. He says similar things later, and his initial worry is whether or not things mean something. I think I'm more positive about the film than Matt, though I realised that I could either let the film carry me with it, and not worry too much about the details, or I would only pay attention to its failings. I'm glad I read Ebert's review first. If I'd read some of the others I may have gone to it more cynically, despite having Alex Proyas at the helm.
  20. Saw this last night and thought it was a cracking film. While I'm not quite as positive about it as Ebert, I share his astonishment at how negative many of the reviews are. I wonder whether it's another of those times when critics react against films that raise profound philosophical questions while ostensibly being science fiction films. Gattaca met the same fate. I even enjoyed Nicolas Cage - not something I say very often. But why can't he have a different hair stylist on some of his films?
  21. I like it. Also came across this one: Man removes tattoos to help him forget, then loses his amnesia as two men bring his wife back to life. Yours is better.
  22. Tony Watkins

    Back flips

    Each week on BBC Radio Five Live (or on Mark Kermode's video blog), Mark Kermode and the show's host Simon Mayo talk films. Always very entertaining. For a couple of weeks they've had this thing about back flips sent in via Twitter. They're movie plots told in reverse, subject to the usual twitter constraint of 140 characters. Some of them are very funny. I like this one today for There Will Be Blood: Man saves priest's life, then saves the world by pumping all the oil back underground. There was a good one last week for The Shawshank Redemption. Something along the lines of, man digs into prison to repair a wall. He's later released to be a banker.
  23. I'll try to get time to reply to Gig's comments tomorrow. Meanwhile, a link to Mark Kermode's review on BBC Radio 5 Live. It's about 38 minutes in. I think Kermode is always good to listen to.
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