Luminous

The Spiritual Life on Film

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About the Book

This book is a comprehensive survey of religion and spirituality on film. It explores different aspects of the spiritual life as projected in more than 400 movies. Film settings embrace all of the major faiths, smaller religious groupings, the New Age, and even contexts that are in the first instance secular, atheist or anti-religious. A dozen themes have been identified in which to group them. Two types of film were excluded: escapist fantasy and the religious costume drama. The final selection are films of highly serious intent (which include however very human dramas and humorous moments). The 12 chapters of the book illuminate the lived spiritual life from many angles, mostly within the drama of people’s lives rather than in matters of creed or religious specifics. When the unique art-form of film, with its aesthetics of light and movement, coincide with scenes of high spiritual drama we have a cinema that can be called “luminous.” The search is on for such films.

About the Author(s)

Mike King, formerly a university reader at London Metropolitan University, has written more than 60 scholarly essays, chapters, reviews and articles on the arts, film, religion, science and economics. The author of five books in these fields, he lives in London, England.

Bibliographic Details

Mike King
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: filmography, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7642-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1323-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Foreword by Linus Roache 1

Preface 3

Introduction 5

 1. Spiritual Aesthetics, Nature and the Romantic 23

 2. The Esoteric, the New Age and Neoplatonism 36

 3. Dying, Suicide and Bereavement 65

 4. Ghosts, Angels and the Afterlife 81

 5. Reincarnation and Resurrection 92

 6. Spiritual Chaos and Rubber Reality 110

 7. Wisdom, Teachers and Disciples 123

 8. Priests, Monks, Nuns and Spiritual Community 133

 9. Spiritual Practice, Discipline and the Martial Arts 148

10. Violence, Compassion, Forgiveness and Atonement 168

11. East vs. West 192

12. Secular vs. Spiritual 208

Conclusions: A Luminous Cinema of the Spirit 237

Filmography 241

Appendix: Sixty ­Must-See Films for the Spiritual Life 247

Chapter Notes 253

Bibliography 261

Index 265