Still relevant

Religion is everywhere, so why the surprise that its narratives find their way into 2013’s Oscar-nominated films?

A recent blog post by Elijah Siegler called for the recognition of more films that eschew religious themes, citing David Cronenberg’s work as an example.

A connection to a religious narrative doesn’t mean that the

story is inherently meant to be linked to religion.

Much of our culture is built off of religious narratives. Religious texts include some of the most poignant and relatable stories ever told. It’s no surprise that Hollywood movies, in an attempt to tell stories that will strike a chord with audiences, use these themes to build their narratives.

Specifically, religious themes offer easy to digest messages, such as tales of redemption. Oftentimes, these stories include a message that audiences find uplifting and positive.

The films produced by David Cronenberg, among many others, offer messages that are far more challenging to process.

His plot lines often present characters whose actions are morally ambiguous — something that audiences may not always find appealing.

Many popular films attempt to build stories that are culturally relevant. For example, Les Misérables, one of the films nominated for an Oscar this year, was adapted from a play written in post-revolutionary France when religion played a huge role in French culture.

To tell a story that excluded religious themes would have made it irrelevant to his audience.

While today’s Western society is more secular, everyone still has an opinion on religion. Religious narratives shape the backbone of our culture’s form of storytelling.

While Cronenberg’s exploration of darker, amoral themes is applaudable, it doesn’t mean we have to scrap other films with less ‘secular’ messages.

— Journal Editorial Board



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