Theology and Film Podcast

  • Subscribe to the "Theology and Film" Podcast through iTunes

    Why subscribe?

    Subscribing means that whenever you hit the "Refresh" button in the Podcasts section of iTunes, you'll automatically be updated with the latest and greatest podcasts from the Theology and Film blog! It's entirely optional (you could manually find and download each mp3 file as we post it) but we think it makes things a little easier.

    Tip: You can even set iTunes so that it will automatically "Refresh" for you each time you open it!

    How do I do it?

    Simply click the Subscription link above which will take you to the Theology and Film page in iTunes. Look for the "Subscribe" button and you're away!

    ...uh, what's an iTunes?

    iTunes is a really easy to use music (and podcast, movies etc...) organiser for your computer. It's from Apple and is free to download and use. You can get it here.

« Film Review - "The Passion of the Christ" | Main | Film Review - "Jesus of Montreal" »

July 31, 2007


Chris Hutchinson

Bernard Lonergan must be a smart man. I don't know if id get through the first 6 chapters of mathematical science or whatever it is. Anyway i thought the podcast was good, yet i probably should of written some things down cos it was pretty long and I've forgotten half of it. I think it would be good if i saw the movie as well to help with the examples.

However I thought some good points were raised - such as finding data and how you cant use one movie (or book) as a guideline for all. I also found it helpful how Shane and Kate reviewed parts of the movie, so i have more of an idea of what to look out for in the classes and assignments.

It is an interesting podcast.

gordon millerick

Linking interpretation to the film "Kenny"
The film can open up a number of avenues of interpretation, such as a/ A person with high morals and ethics, that is prepared to do any job to completion. His motivation being his respect for authority and his respect for himself and those around him.

B/ A person who is easily swayed by authority, and is never prepared to stand up for his rights. He is easily manipulated by those around him. A person who does not aspire to climb the corporate ladder or the ladder of authority.

The interpretations are then possibly swayed by the interpreters society views and society status and the ethics and morals that the interpreter guages thier own life with.

Angie Bulic

My interpretation of "Pearl Harbor"

The intended audience of this film (directed by Michael Bay) is the American people. Based on a pivitol event in history, this film captures a realistic and gripping perspective from the people of that era - rather than a documentary.

I think the purpose of this film is to honour and pay tribute to America and its people. In my interpretation, "Pearl Harbour" achieves this because i certainly felt a sense of patriotism - despite the fact i am very much Australian!


From my understanding, Lonergan's funtional speciality of interpretation, when applied to film, seems to be to determine what meaning the writer, director etc. intended the film to convey and then to consider the meaning I saw in it.

For the film Honey, it appears that the writer's intended meaning is to show that success doesn't always look like fame and fortune in the traditional sense. Rather, in the case of the main character Honey, success is being able to do what she really loves - which is to teach dance to the youth of the rough neighbourhood in which she lives.

In this case, the meaning I saw in the movie is the same as that of the writer. I think this may be largely due to the fact that I live in the same culture and share a similar context to that of the writer - being that I am living in the Western culture in the twenty-first century.

Not really one paragraph but there you go... :)

Kasie Carpenter

My review of 'Save the Last Dance':

Set in America and just into the new millenium, amongst other issues that are confronted, the writer/director mainly brings to surface the unfortunate issues still being dealt with in the social and worth of African-Americans. Although, on political paper, the government encourages equality, the mindsets of certain people continue to create tension between the societies. This is made evident in the film as a 'white' girl enters into a community where she is the rarity. The tension is greatly displayed where she receives suggestive attitude towards her race via her affiliation when no attitude of superiority or distinctiveness is given by her character.

I find the writer/director approaches and communicates this central issue clearly, expressing messages with resolving responses and perspectives that will, hopefully, cause change in the attitudes of societies that continue to discriminate against race. This message is most effectively and enjoyably communicated through the use of music, with a contemporary setting that is attractive to most of High School to yong adults in age.

THe film educates me more on the differences of culture and how different societies are dealing with race and discrimination.

Matthew Lowe

Here are some of my interpretations regarding The Shawshank Redemption, which is about an innocent man sent to prison for the murder of his wife and her lover.
1. We learn a lot about ourselves, our character, during the tough times, the prisons of our life.
2. Is prison a place of reformation or a place where one looses them self? The theme of becoming 'institutionalised' is addressed.
3. How we perceive the world affects those around us. Andy, although innocent, chose not to allow his circumstance to dictate his outlook on life.
4. Perseverance is a powerful concept that can have a wonderful payoff. The ending is a tribute to one mans perseverance. It is not how we run the race, it is how we finish it.
5. One cannot move forward until they accept their past. Both Andy and Red realise this, finding freedom in moving on with their lives and leaving the past behind.
6. I have saved the best till last, Hope! This film is about hope. The original tag line for the film read, "Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free." Andy never gives up hope, even when it is justifiable that things cannot get any worse. This teaches Red about hope and ultimately Red's hope is in Andy.

Liz Langton

To apply this functional speciality to the film "Blood Diamond" would require one to respond the issues inherent within the film. While the genre of the film can probably come under action, adventure or thriller, the raw nature of the content brings to light a very serious contemporary issue. As such, the film is aimed at much of the Western World, who are the buyers of the diamonds that result from violence and conflict. The audience are then invited to respond to this information but I feel it is impossible not to walk away distressed by the nature of the trade. The film is exposing the darkness of the trade and calling for a response from its auidence. What that response entails may also vary but I believe its aim to create awareness and care. Whether it achieves this purpose could be potentially revealed with diamond sales figures in the future.

Wigand Sugandi

"John Q" is the film which is based on the true story. I think the writer intends to bring back the true story and its value to nowadays society. This purpose perfectly delivered to the audience. The audience of this movie is m+13...

When 'John' who was acted by Denzel Washington faced the fact that his boy got heart attack and he got no money; the hospital rejected for doing operation to his son, his wife force him and just said "you must do something"!!!... We can see the value of FATHERING in this movie.. How FATHER will do everything for his son... At the dateline time, he hasn/t got enough money.. he did the "crazy" thing; that is threat and lock the whole hospital with the gun!!! This occurance is lived by all station tv in the US and uniquely all of the society support JOHN. John only wanted that the hospital doing the surgery for his son, don't wait for the money.. LIFE IS MORE THAN MONEY.. finally, after hospital want to do it, John surrender to the police and they found that John's gun is empty (there is no bullet inside).. the greatest value is sacrisfaction... He did everything for his son.. in the integrity of his heart, he has no intention to kill anybody.. he just want his son heal..

John got the prison, but since that time... the law in USA changed... He go to the prison... but he is the herofor his son and for all poor man in US...

The writer really achieves the purpose of the film... in the final words"every father must see it"!!!!

Neil Castro

While avoiding a summary of the third instalment of the Spiderman movie, I attempt to provide my interpretation of the film.

This film is an adventure, drama, action genre, with slight humour. There are many scenes and concepts throughout the film that the movie seems to reveal about ourselves and society. One of the most obvious things the movie seems to portray, as well as the unfolding of the plot and character development, is in the area of relationships. The choices we make, the need to forgive, open and honest communication, as well humbling ourselves, ring loud and true in this movie. I believe the film portrays many of our own experiences and reflects society as a whole and allows us to see ourselves and relate to the characters and situations, such as:

1. Being focused on self. This is seen in Peter’s relationships to Mary Jane, Harry and his workmate. I believe that the film reveals the darkness in our hearts, even in some of our best intentions. It communicates two profound things on self. Firstly, that even while we think we are doing something nice for someone, or trying to help them, behind it all is really a focus on self and not the other person at all. What we believe is best for the other, is really best or more convenient for self. Secondly, that we need to communicate honestly towards each other, and learn to listen more and talk less.

2. Bitterness and unforgiveness. Peter, Harry and Venom, each have issues of anger, hurt and unforgiveness, as well as a journey towards revenge. I believe that the film depicts our own lives when we go through similar experiences, and that we need to be able to forgive those who wrong us and/or those we love instead of seeking vengeance or take matters in our own hands, despite how hurtful it was. Ultimately, it only causes more hurt, not just for the other, but for the self. We need to let it go.

nathan lyons


I forgot to put this on my list, but it is one of my favourites.

Humprey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman galavant around a strategically important town in North Africa, stirring a political pot of WWII, Nazism and the Vichy French. Rather hot and exotic.

Roger Ebert ascribes the film's success to "happy chance." While I'm too ignorant to offer an opinion on that matter, i do know that 'Ebert' is a very, very funny surname.

I think Casablanca can be interpreted as:

+ a period piece. It educates audiences about the intrigues of the WWII Europe.

+ melancholy romance. Bogie does a fine job of tough-guy-in-love-noble-but-desperate-but-yes-definitely-noble-especially-at-the-end. Entwined with this is also a bittersweet affirmation of fraternity, as Rick and Captaine Renault watch Rick's sweetheart disappear into the ether in the arms/cockpit of another... "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

+ homage to the lone ranger. Rick Blaine is the rough, tough, lonely, disillusioned, wise-cracking, faithful business owner who enters the film playing chess with himself. The word chess is a crucial inclusion. Casablanca, in my judgment, both glorifies and pities the character of Rick, and in so doing continues a long tradition of the dislocated and embittered masculine hero.

+ a tourism ad. Casablanca, the place, seems very exciting.

Righto, bed time.

Joshua Ballard

While listening to this podcast, I was intrigued by the idea of incorporating exegetical methods into interpretation of film.

I think that applying exegetical method is coherent only with certain paradigms taken for granted by the reader in relation to the author. To apply an exegetical method assumes that the author desires to be understood (for one).
Also, to take a post-modernist "reader response" approach to interpreting film assumes that the film is intended to (or able to) elicit a particular response in the audience. This strikes me as silly, unless we are prepared to admit that the "text" (in this case the movie) is somehow "inspired", or even able to transcend such diversity in emotion as demonstrated by Kate and her friend while watching Little Miss Sunshine.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to talk about "manifest" intentions and "latent" intentions or interpretations rather than trying to find a "reader response" that somehow transcends the author's artistic abilities.

After all, after watching "Soylent Green" (without subtitles), my (deaf) mum was sufficiently disturbed as to the state of human nature as to seek out her salvation in Jesus. I would assume that this is hardly appropriate response in the eyes of the author of the film.
Another example is taking the Wachowski Brother's response to Christians "stealing" 'The Matrix' and making it all about the gospel. They couldn't think of anything worse.

Rebecca Lowe

My interpretation of the film CRASH

Most people feel prejudice and resentment against members of other groups, and this movie highlights the consequences of those feelings.
One thing that happens, again and again, is that peoples assumptions prevent them from seeing the actual person standing before them.
People say exactly what they are thinking, without the filters of political correctness. The story is told in a way, in which the characters learn the lessons they have earned by their behavior.
If there is hope in the story, it is that as the characters crash into one another, they learn things, mostly about themselves.

This movie shows how society has hatred, hurt, coldness, cruelty and discrimination against race because people attack what they don't understand. And it shows that if we don't change our behaviour we will end up turning into a hate breeding society.

It's a film that would be interpreted based on the viewers experience and views of society.


Method of Interpretation for ‘The Castle’: This film raises a number of themes which interlink and have a purpose in the overall telling of the story. Even though this film would be classed as a comedy, its purpose is deeper than just laughing for the sake of it. The meaning that the writer is trying to convey through this film is largely that of the individual vs. the institution; it’s the David and Goliath scenario where the Kerrigan family don’t give up and they stand up for what they believe in. The intended audience (average Australians) are able to identify with the Kerrigan family because firstly, Australians have a trait where they barrack for the underdog; and also because there’s something about how the family is portrayed that is very Australian and very real. One of the things the audience likes about this film is that, however stereotypical this film portrays Australians, we are able to laugh at ourselves and laugh at the things that make us Australian.

Prisca Post

Interpretation on the film "Man on fire"

This film is a real story on events taken place in Mexico (1992-1998) where rich 'white' kids were kidnapped and held hostage for a ransom. The drama and extreme violence that take place in the film are intense but make you realize the sincerity of the problem. The film has a high moral and shows you that money can’t buy you happiness, but honesty and a healthy family are most important.
Kidnapping is not the only problem that gets addressed. The film also addresses the problem of corruption that is a reality in Mexico until today. This corruption acknowledges the big difference between the poor and the rich.
The main character in the film, assumed to be a Christian, takes justice into his own hands as a result of injustice done in his past. In the end he exchanges his life for the life of the kidnapped little girl.
I believe one of the greatest things men can give is to sacrifice your life in exchange for another.

Sara Alcock

One of the resons that the star wars films still hold thire own against the more mdern movies is that they gives hope.

Episode 4 starts off with the good guys being beten and ends with the good guys statring to take ground. At the end of the sixth episode we see that balance has been brought back to the force and the universe. I think Lucus was trying to convay an epic battle that in the end is won by the good and that balance is restored.

End of stroty.

Anthony Alcock

Interpretation of the film "Patch Adams"

This film based on a true story of challenging the medical establishment's methods in medical recuperation brings into context the universal language of laughter as having a positive effect in patients' recovering from post operative and terminal conditions. I interpreted it challenging establishments perceived bounderies and giving patients a new sense of hope and perspectinve in life. I especially enjoyed the scene where patch cry's out to God in despair and we quickly see a beautiful butterfly land on him, as though God had given him a sign to let him know that He was there.

Alex Landmann

Even though I am in danger of outing myself by placing a so called “chick flick” into my Top 5 Movies, I think this movie has more to say than it appears at the first sight.
The movie is not a classic romance, but tells a story about several independent characters seeking love. Even though it appears to be about numerous storylines, the characters are somehow interwoven into each other’s life.
This movie shows brilliantly the subjectivity of our post-modern culture: as each individuum lives life independently, seeking for its own definition of what love is – or would be. “Love Actually” tells e.g. a story of a young single man, believing he would find his sexual success in the USA. At the same time, a widower seeks to relate to the son of his dead wife who happened to be the sister of a mother of two kids and wife of a husband in a leading job position who is about to betray her with his young secretary.
For all of these characters love means something different, almost opposite, which frames the message of the movie.

Todd Janus

The intended meaning of 'Waterworld' I think would obviously be to raise awareness of global warming. While this movie probably does this to some extent, it looses the point by shrowding it in action without much reference back to the point that humanity ruined the earth with polution which was stated in the beginning but not really developed. This could be why the movie was nor really successful, there was not a clear enough point, or one that was announced and continually developed.

Natalie Janus

Drop Dead Fred.

This film intended audience is still a slight ministry to me. I myself enjoyed it as a child, but as I discussed in my previous post, as I grow older I can see more of what the film is portraying. The writer of this film appears to be presenting the problem of schizophrenia in a child and the issues that surround this disease. They do it in a very clever way, by still appealing to a varied audience with its humour and childlike antics. I feel that the writer/director is attempting to challenge the idea that any person with a mental illness has control over their disease and that they choose to have it. We see in this film, that the arrival of the hallucination (drop dead fred) runs currently with that of a evil mother who makes life increasingly difficult with her imaginative child. I feel that the writer is trying to appeal to the audience to find compassion for those with mental illness and to see a little into their world without judgement and conditions, just compassion and the desire to learn more.

Natalie Janus

Okay, I have just been bagged out big time for my spelling mistakes by a few big burly blokes, so I felt I must clear my name, or typing error. In the first line it should be mystery, not ministry. Thanks...Its very late!!!

Pete Hordern

The film I choose is 'Kingdom of Heaven'

I can see that with this film the aim of it is to not only to hollywood a historical event, but show the truth of man and religion.
There are some classic lines in the movie such as
"I put no stock in religion, I've seen every fanatic of different religions call their acts the 'Will of God'. What God desires is here(points to head) and here(points to heart), and what you choose to do each day and whether you'll be a good man..or not."
and also a great line said by Baldwin to the head catholic priest after the priest told Baldwin to convert to Islam and repent later so you wouldn't die by their(Muslim) hands. And the line is "Thankyou, you've taught me alot about religion"

From these small one liners, I feel that the movie is really portraying man's corruptedness, yet what they claim that they are living is the will of God. Another line would be, "no army with the cross of our Saviour Christ can be beaten, to say so otherwise is blasphemy.. God Wills It!". One can see the corruptedness of man, yet the use of 'God's will' being claimed for man's desires, with this movie the desire is for warfare and glory.
I think the aim of the movie it to portray the corruption of religion, obviously in the medieval era with the crusades. And perhaps an underlying question is being asked 'What does God really want from us?'

Chris Lee

For the movie '300'

This movie speaks alot to our generation, the movie covers some strong areas such as: Politics, Love, Betrayal, Courage and especially Leadership.

I Interpret this movie as an inspiring movie, which shows that losing is not losing. Sometimes when we lose for something that is bigger than ourself, it might be losing in peoples eyes, but when your fighting for something bigger than yourself and never give up or let ur guard down. You can actually be an impact to the next generation!

The end of the movie, we see thousands of Spartan soldiers ready to die for their country, just like their King and his 300 men did.

paul tan

My Film: Beverly Hills Cop

Lonergan's second functionality of interpretation when applied to this film might be as follows:

The film could be categorised as an ation/comedy, with much of the social commentaries arising from the deliberate juxtaposition of elements embedded within the film: rich vs poor; characters in suits vs characters in t-shirts; caucasian vs african-american; dignified vs crass, and so on.

Set in modern day Beverly Hills (USA), the film aims to comment significantly about the widening class structures, racial discrimination, disparity between rich and poor, and the pervading presence of greed in modern day western society.

Its intended audience is a modern day western viewer, since much of the humour would only make sense to a viewer who knows and can appreciate the subtleties embedded within the plot and character casting.

Inga Watzdorf

My favourite movie, WEST SIDE STORY, retells the drama of Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York. The lovers don't come from different families but gangs representing different ethnic backgrounds. The liaison is opposed from both sides. When ridicule and innuendo fail to separate the lovers, a fight breaks out and the hero is inadvertently stabbed to death. The gangs finally unite at the hero's funeral.
The main aim of the film is to promote tolerance, especially amongst different cultures. Besides, it denounces violence. It ends on a hopeful note with the leading lady spelling out a future of racial harmony in the song "There's a place for us".

Stephen Wall

Dead Poet's Society,

This film, set in the late 80's is a classic drama that leaves you deep in thought. It is directed by Peter Weir and certainly one of the most inspirational films that I have ever watched.

A product of its time, DPS challenged the "numbness" of institutionalisation and encouraged the individual to dream, to chase after a belief no matter the cost and to think outside the ordinary humdrum of the daily grind. We hear the terms 'thinking outside the box' and "Carpe Diem" echoed through out the film. It is a great story and a touching social commentary on humanity's greatest challenges in life.

In this film, Robin Williams is the embodiment of the inspirational teacher we see in those who dare us to dream. He does not just rattle off a syllabus like his predecessors, instead he teaches something "extraordinary" and changes the “worldview” of his students! Sorry had to get those two words in there somewhere! :) haha

At the commencement, John Keating teaches the young men this idea of "sucking the marrow out of life". It takes some time to catch on, but is soon applied by the students and results in a changed view in their lives, "a seizing of the day" so to speak. Keating encourages them to go against the status quo even though it was looked down by his collegues. Each of the boys, in their own way, does this, and changes ensue.

One of the characters, Neil the son of an overbearing father, does try to do what he feels he must do, but in the end doesn't stand up at all, but simply accepts his lot under an overbearing father - which leads to his suicide. Here again the film tackles issues young people face at this time of their lives. Some may not like this part of the story - but his story serves to prove just how important it is to stand one's ground for what one believes, no matter how hard it becomes and who pressurises you to be who you are not.

It's not only Neil’s character, but in fact every character in the film that does not fully understand Mr. Keating's message until the very end. Sounds a lot like another very inspirational “teacher” that we all know and love eh and his wonderfully “slow to learn” students!!!

Not only will this movie make you stop and think, but it will bring tears to your eyes. It will inspire you to follow your dreams - no matter what boundaries you may face.

Gosh the lessons I learned are all flooding back now, there is just so much that one can draw from this film and I could ramble on and on... But I wont cause I will do as Keating said and follow my “dreams”... I can tell you where they are leading me. Its late so off to bed I go. :)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Devotional blog


Feeds & subscription

Keyword Cloud