Encyclopedia of Religion and Film

ABC-CLIO. 2011. 644p. ed. by Eric Michael Mazur. photogs. filmog. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313330728. $85. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF
In recent years, the intersection of religion and film has become a niche field of study. To help further the discussion, Mazur (religious studies, Virginia Wesleyan Coll.) has edited a volume dedicated to the study of religion and religious themes in film. It contains 91 alphabetically organized entries that each run roughly two to five pages in length and are signed by scholars with backgrounds in religion, film, and cultural studies. Entry topics focus on religious traditions (Judaism, the Black Church, Protestantism); directors (Bergman, Fellini, Kubrick, Truffaut); geography (Bollywood, Britain, Japan); and religious characters, concepts, and symbols (angels, God, clergy, Bible films, holidays). Some entries are dedicated to particular films and film genres, including the Holocaust, The Matrix trilogy, and censorship in Hollywood. Each article concludes with See also cross-references and a short bibliography. In some cases, images from the films referenced are included. Rounding out the volume is an extensive filmography, bibliography, and index. The text primarily concentrates on the mainline religions of Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam, but it also explores films of other traditions including voodoo, Wicca, and those of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples. Although films from the English-speaking world make up most of the scope, attention is also given to non-English films from Africa, China, and Latin America. BOTTOM LINEThe Routledge Companion to Religion and Film (2009) covers similar ground but is organized differently—these titles complement rather than compete with each other. Clearly written entries will offer much discussion material for anyone interested in religion and film, either as separate or combined disciplines. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.—Jackie Parascandola, Columbia Univ. Libs., New York
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