When I first started this project I did what anyone does. I googled various terms and ideas in order to assess who was out there doing something similar. Very quickly I came upon the work of the Reel Spirituality collective working within Fuller Theological Seminary.
I read reviews, listened to their podcast followed the various social media accounts and wondered how I could ever hope to ‘compete’ with such a wide array of wonderfully gifted writers and critics. I connected with Elijah Davidson the Reel Spirituality co-director on Twitter shortly after this and engaged in many a 140 character conversations and discovered a critic who has a deep spiritual intent in his writing and also in encouraging the work of others.
I was thrilled then to learn that he was branching out into full-fledged author territory with ‘How To Talk to A Movie’. This concise and beautifully detailed examination of the process of movie watching is a real blessing and gift to anyone who wishes to explore their film watching practices with a deeper intentionality.
This is not a book containing a set of reviews/thought pieces on films old and new, this book is a practical guide to building a spiritual discipline. Davidson takes us on a cinematic journey but consistently points back to the practice, detailing the personal impact that certain films have had on him as he goes.
Babette’s Feast (which I really need to revisit after reading this book) is just one example where personal insight and practical wisdom intersect to reveal an aspect of this cinematic gem which is both personalised and resonates on a deep spiritual level, particularly for those of us seeking our calling and exploring our gifts.
An exploration of film character and their relationship to the Enneagram was another highlight tucked away within the pages that made me consider just why I may have such an unashamed love of Tom Hanks given some of the character he portrays.
I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this book and how helpful it was as I attempt to improve my own efforts in watching films with the lens of my own faith applied. Throughout the book Davidson cites other texts and authors who have influenced him in his journey. In years to come I suspect that many who encounter this work (myself included) will do likewise to him.
You can follow the work of Reel Spirituality on Twitter.