Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

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Though attending the Sundance FIm Festival is still on my bucket list, not being in attendance doesn’t stop me from following the plethora of festival media coverage. In particular I am always interested in looking at how this indie movie mecca showcases religion. This year in particular, it seems there seems to be several movies with religious themes getting attention and generating controversy.As one of the programmers of the festval noted, “There are definitely more films (exploring spirituality) that ended up in the program this year than in years past,” he said, noting an uptick in the number of submissions that touch on religious themes.
Kevin Smith’s teen horror flick “Red State” is generating the most controversy with picketing and rioting going in relation to the story’s content about for its portrayal of Christian extremists and their anti-gay agenda.
“Salvation Boulevard” seems to have the most star-studded cast with Jennifer Connelly and
Greg Kinnear as well as Marisa Tomei and looks like a dark comedy once again poking fun at mega-churches.
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“The Ledge” and “Higher Ground’ also appear to take on fundamentalism in a not-too-favorable light, but the movie I am most intrigued by is “Martha Marcy May Marlene” which stars that other Olsen sister, Elizabeth, who plays a cult survivor.
While I think that it is interesting that these movies seem to be making a clear distinction to only be commenting on a very specific brand of extreme Christianity – not evangelicalsim general-I am still not sure these movies are adding anythng positive to the dialogue about the intersection of faith and film.
In fact, it is a documentary, “The Redemption of General Butt Naked, about a Liberian warlord-turned-preacher who must come face-to-face with the family of those he killed that seems to me to have the most spiritual promise.
I just wish it didn’t take so long for these kinds of movies to find a way into the local cineplex.

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