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I recently completed a Master of Arts in Film Studies and am interested in discussing film academia and pretty much anything cinema related!

Specifically interested in Gnosticism as an emerging genre in film studies (The Truman Show, The Matrix trilogy, Dark City, Black Swan). I also like dark family dramas and anything by Malick and PTA.

@DickFinnerty3 Hello!

My degrees are all in physics, but I was one bureaucratic technicality shy of a Comparative Media Studies minor with an emphasis on Shakespeare in Film.

@bstacey

Nice to meet you!

What are some of your favorite Bard adaptations in film or TV?

@DickFinnerty3 Hmm, let's see...

Chimes at Midnight
Branagh's Henry V
Loncraine and McKellen's Richard III

I liked Almareyda's Cymbeline more than his Hamlet, though I do recall the latter as having its merits.

@bstacey

CHIMES is so good, as is Welles' OTHELLO. Breathtaking cinematography and locations in the latter.

@DickFinnerty3
Just out of curiosity: How much impact has the radical reevaluation of the historical evedence for the so called gnostic movement in antiquity in history and theology in recent decades had on research such as yours?

@phagman

1) A great impact indeed. It's hard to talk about the creation of a new cinematic genre--which in of itself is a debated and somewhat arbitrary term in film studies--when theologians and history academics themselves debate whether Gnosticism is even a proper term. Fryderyk Kwiatkowski wrote an article in 2016 about the concept of Gnosticism in relation to fiction studies, stressing contemporary and accurate methodological approaches towards fiction with Gnostic components.

@phagman

2)The biggest argument you hear from detractors like King and Williams is that typological definitions of Gnosticism as a single religion are grossly misleading, negating the heresiological foundations set forth by Church fathers, not to mention Gnostics were greatly influenced by other groups and ideologies (Platonism, Hermeticism, Persian, Greek, and Roman religious ideas and mysticism, as well as those of Judaism and Buddhism).

@phagman

3)Kwiatkowski therefore suggests an "identity formation" methodology that avoids "definitional problems of modern scholarship" and seeks to align contemporary fictional works with ancient Gnostic texts and creation myths (particularly the Fall of Sophia).

@phagman

4)That's not to say that typological methodlogies can't be used in limited sense. Many theologians and academics consider "gnostic" as a historical group rather than as a rhetorical noun and adjective that is describing an esoteric, spiritual knowledge of God and the divine origin of human beings; a typological categorization that Van den Broek describes as an inner enlightenment that once obtained, liberates the knower from the material world.

@phagman

5)Van den Broek’s approach also fleshes out a Gnostic cosmogony that fiction studies academics could use for comparison: (A) a distinction is made between the highest, unknown God and the imperfect or plainly evil creator-god [the Demiurge], who is often identified with the God of the Bible;

@phagman

6) (B) this is often connected with an extensive description of the divine world (Pleroma), from which the essential core of human beings [the soul] derives, and of disastrous
“fall” of a divine being (Sophia, “Wisdom”), in this upper world;
(C) as a result, humankind has become entrapped in the earthly condition of oblivion and death, from which it is saved by the revelation of gnosis by one or more heavenly messengers;

@phagman

7) (D) salvation is often actualized and celebrated in rituals that are performed within the gnostic community.

@phagman

Eric G. Wilson wrote a very interesting book called Secret Cinema: Gnostic Vision in Film. Aside from various academics like Kwiatkowski who've written single articles about individual films with Gnostic interpretations, Wilson's book is currently the cornerstone for this new line of thought in film studies.

@DickFinnerty3
Thanks for this, very interesting to hear. Seems this research has then actually been better incorporated in film studies than in modern theology where it remains largely unknown.

@DickFinnerty3
Welcome! My daughter recently caught me off-guard by asking what's my favourite film. It's been such a long time since I've thought about my favourites (and pretty long since I've seriously watched films...).

@DickFinnerty3 I just wanna say that Duck Amuck is one of the best Looney Tunes cartoons in existence.

...Please forgive my nerding out upon seeing that screenshot from the ending of said cartoon. Carry on.

@KitsuneAlicia

Agree 💯!!! One of the best cartoons period.

It's also a significant example used in general film studies when discussing narrative style and point of view. The self-referential breaking of the fourth wall was unique in film at the time, especially cartoons.

I included it in my intro and affinity for Gnostic cinema because Bugs is a sort of Demiurgic creator who torments Daffy with a fake world ☺

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