Saturday, February 17, 2007

Glimpsing Glory Through Art

I've always had this sense that there is another language I once knew, a joy that was mine before I was born. When I get a glimpse of that glory through art, I can feel the memory of it pressing against the back of my mind, and the longing for that peace and resolution wells up inside me. I can't quite grasp it. I can't speak my native language. Not yet ... but I'm learning.

If I do the difficult thing and pull myself away from art that is merely entertaining and start searching for those currents of truth that reside within beauty and mystery, I will be drawn off the path of familiarity and comfort. The reality of God is not bound to a particular earthly language, country or style. His spirit can speak through anything. But He is far more likely to be encountered in those things that are excellent rather than shoddy, particular rather than general, authentic rather than derivative. I will find myself investigating art and expression that never played for audiences in this country -- art that waits overlooked on the shelves of foreign and independent films at the video store. And I will be changed, concerns with cares and disciplines that make no sense to Hollywood movie publicists.

It could be a lonely road. But it's a road that leads farther up, farther in, to greater majesty and transforming truth.
Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffrey Overstreet
Not exactly what you'd expect from a book about movies is it?

I never thought about my passion for movies as a passion for art. However, I have learned from reading Overstreet's reviews over the years that he can pull your thinking to a new place. I have never forgotten that it was his review of Hero that made me even consider watching it. His ability to communicate some of the intangible qualities in that movie, now one of my favorites, was what made me eager to read his book.

This is a masterful work by a noted film critic about bringing a spirit of discernment to the world of film. Overstreet invites us to consider how film as an art form affects one's soul and ultimately can be a work of God, even when it may go against what many define as "Christian."

This is the first book I ever read of this sort and I have to say that it remains a big influence in my movie viewing. I will never forget the sense of shock I felt upon reading that Finding Nemo had a deeper message. An excellent work that helps us learn discernment in our daily lives toward any sort of story telling. I can't recommend it highly enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment