“It’s possible we will glimpse the glow of glory, truth that cannot be reduced to a simple paraphrase, glimmering through a screen darkly.” Jeffrey Overstreet
Through a Screen Darkly Week 1 – How We Watch
Movie of the week: The Story of the Weeping Camel
Welcome to the first week of reading Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffrey Overstreet. As we get started, here are a few things to keep in mind: The reading schedule covers a great deal of territory each week, so the questions posed below only skim the surface. Of course, you’re welcome to answer all the questions, but please don’t feel like you need to. Respond to whatever stirred you. What caused you to pause and think? And feel free to share any of your own questions/additional observations as well.
If you haven’t been reading the book, my hope is that each post will still provide fodder for thought. Don’t disregard the questions because you’re not reading along – we’d love to hear from you. Perhaps the conversation will whet your appetite, and you may choose to read the book at a later time that is more convenient for you. Regardless of your level of involvement, thanks for joining us!
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“Like a pillar of cloud or fire, sometimes a movie offers us mysteries that draw us out of the captivity of our own perspective.” – p. 21
“Art reflects life, and when we meditate on life, we might see something in a new way – and that might awaken us to possibilities, problems, hope, doubt, salvation or sin.” – p.34
“When we realize or remember something that tells us our view has been too narrow, we suddenly prefer to stay put.” – p. 36
1. Has a movie ever caused you to change (or broaden) your perspective? How? Do you typically approach film as a work of art or a form of entertainment?
“If we are shocked by something as common as a spoken obscenity, it may reveal more about our distance from people in need than it does about the person who blurted out such coarse language.” – p.63
2. Is this a new thought for you? When has your reaction to scene or character in a movie revealed that your posture was defensive rather than humble and curious? Have you ever “caught” yourself, readjusted, and been able to find value in that which you had previously dismissed?
The progression of our interaction with movies is much like the evolution of our eating habits:
1 ) Childlike – reaches for everything without discernment
2 ) Reactionary diner – surveys what is presented and makes immediate judgements based on assumptions (or by tasting a small sample)
3 ) Glutton – Consumes great quantities without discernment or awareness of negative impact
4) Educated Connoisseur
3) Which of these descriptions best fits your approach to watching movies? What would it look like/require of you to move to the next phase? Are there other areas of life in which you see a similar progression?
“As a critic, I feel more like a nutritionist – doing my best to counsel others on a balanced diet that serves their individual needs and respects their sensitivities. But I also want to be the kind of connoisseur who can speak knowledgeably about the culinary arts.” – p. 93
4) Our life experiences may cause us to have sensitivities to certain types of movies (“cinematic allergies”). Are you aware of your own sensitivities/the sensitivities of others and the underlying causes? What does this principle infer about our relationship with others?
“Great art reveals its significance by its ability to show us new surprises every time, speaking to more than one culture, more than one age. Sometimes, even the artist doesn’t know the significance of what he’s done. In his impulsive response to an experience, he creates another experience that communicates more than he could ever realize.” – p.128
5) Has a movie ever impacted you in a substantial way? How?
6) What did you think of The Story of the Weeping Camel?
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