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The Structural Characteristics of the Cinematic Christ-figure
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-20, 05:52 authored by Anton Karl Kozlovic
Christ-figures are built into many popular films, particular in the science fiction genre, but they are frequently ignored by critics, unappreciated by film fans, or resisted by anti-religionists. Conversely, believers sometimes want to see them where none credibly exist, thus religiously distorting their reading of the films. So, what can be legitimately called a cinematic Christ-figure? Previous calls for research into this area have been overlooked, but given the pervasiveness of Christ-figure films today, it is now opportune to address that scholarly deficiency. Using textually-based, humanist film criticism as the analytical lens, the critical literature is reviewed, the popular cinema scanned, and twenty-five structural characteristics of the Christ-figure are identified and explicated. Numerous examples are used to illustrate the genre points raised. It is concluded that the Christ-figure film is a legitimate pop culture phenomenon, and that as a living genre, its usage will be undiminished in the foreseeable future. Further research into Christ-figures, holy subtexts and the emerging interdisciplinary field of religion-and-film is recommended.
JournalThe Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
PublisherUniversity of Toronto Press Inc. (UTPress)