Pondering Transcendence in Film

I’m taking part in Script Frenzy this year–I’ve added the counter on the right so that my daily progress is visible on the blog, and you’ll understand why I might not get here as often this month.

As I’ve been mentally preparing to start writing a new script over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want the scripts and stories I write to stand out from other good–even great–scripts that are already out there. And I’m receiving my “answer” in bits and pieces from all over the place–from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spes Salvi, from my own reflections on holiness (prompted by my study of the saints in the book that I’m writing), and from some of the speakers at the recent Interchapter meeting of the Daughters of St. Paul. This morning, several ideas came together while I was praying.

In my screenplays, I want to offer the transcendent hope of the Gospel–a hope that trusts in the redeeming power of Christ’s love, especially in darkness and suffering; a hope that not only gives meaning to suffering, but experiences in the mystery of the Cross the joy of Redemption.

There are many great films out there that show the presence of God at work in the beauty of the world, and in the goodness of other people. And these are wonderful films that I celebrate and enjoy sharing. But what I think Pope Benedict (and others) are pointing out is that the hope of this world is fragile; only the hope of the eternal love of God is lasting. And that’s the hope that’s missing in today’s society, and that’s the void I want to speak to. (I’ll leave the “filling” of that void to God–perhaps God can use one of my films to open a person’s heart to receive the hope that only Christ can give.)

My next question is: how do I do that? How do I create a story which becomes a window to God’s everlasting love? Have you seen any films which you would describe as “transcendent” or as witnessing to the transcendent? (My next post will be about films in which I have found transcendent moments, but I’m interested in which films you would propose as well.)


6 thoughts on “Pondering Transcendence in Film

  1. “Have you seen any films which you would describe as “transcendent” or as witnessing to the transcendent?”
    is a good, thought-evoking question.


  2. A friend of mine living in Montreal saw “Of Gods and Men.” She highly recommends it, and says it’s quite a transcendent film.

    I haven’t seen the film, but I know it’s playing at the Cumberland here in Toronto. I’m not a great fan of movie theatres, so I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD to watch it.

    Looking forward to your list of transcendent films…Maria


    • Maria,
      Yes, it is a very powerful film. Thanks for the recommendation. I hadn’t realized it was playing here in Toronto–I will share that on my blog.

      That list of transcendent films is coming…
      God bless!


  3. I don’t generally watch recent movies, but I did watch “Facing the Giants” and found it to be one of the most touching movies I have ever watched. It really shows how God works in our every day lives, especially in times of difficulty. It was made on a shoe-string budget by members of a Protestant parish with little or no experience in filmmaking, but the few flaws are certainly overshadowed by the moving script and, for the most part, superb acting (albeit by amateurs). It gives a powerful spiritual message.

    Your script sounds interesting! Good luck!


    • Agnes,
      So good to hear from you!

      Thanks for the suggestion. “Facing the Giants” has moved many people. You might enjoy “Soul Surfer” as well.

      Alas, my own script didn’t get very far with Script Frenzy: too much book writing to do! But I’ll be getting back to it shortly.

      I look forward to hearing what you’re writing when you have a chance!


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