This past Monday night, our monthly Faith and Film Night featured the touching film, Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith and his son. Our Faith and Film nights begin with the reading of a Scripture passage that relates to the film, then we watch the film together in its entirely. Afterwards, we gather in a circle to dialogue about the themes of the film and the highlighted Scripture passage.
This approach to viewing films was developed by Sr. Rose Pacatte, a Daughter of Saint Paul who directs the Pauline Centre for Media Studies, and Rev. Peter Malone, SC, film reviewer and former president of Signis, the worldwide Catholic association for communications. Together, they authored a series of books that relates mainstream films to faith: the cycle of readings in the lectionary (a movie for every Sunday’s Scripture readings), the ten commandments, etc. One of my favorites is: Lights, Camera… Faith! The Ten Commandments. Check out some of her film reviews here, or the website for the Pauline Centre for Media Studies.
Learning to “read” a film through the lens of faith can be a life-changing experience for those who have never done it because it transforms our experience of culture, helping us to integrate our secular culture and our faith. Participants at our movie nights tell us that they will never watch a film in the same way again.
Sr. Rose calls reading film with a spiritual lens “cinema divina.”