FAITH: Religious imagery found in film
The single most powerful tool film has over any other medium is telling stories through picture. Films intertwine metaphor with the images, placing subliminal messages throughout the film. With this practice, religious imagery has entered Hollywood countless times. Here are seven films that have done so. If you haven’t seen these films, be prepared for spoilers.
The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe
This is one of the more obvious ones. Based on the book written by C.S. Lewis, the story is an allegory of the story of Jesus dying and resurrecting. Aslan, the Lion and ruler of Narnia, gives up his life for others and then comes back to life to save the day from the White Witch. Aslan plays the part of Jesus and the witch as the Devil.
War of the Planet of the Apes
In a nutshell, the ending scene is Caesar, the main ape, leading his people to the promised land. They escape oppression and slavery from the main antagonist, just as how in the Bible Moses leads the Israelite’s to the promised land from the confinement of the Egyptian Pharaoh. If you haven’t seen the film, do so.
Life of Pi
Life of Pi is a film about a boy named Pi who follows three different religions. He follows Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam. The themes of these religions are sprinkled throughout and you can draw upon them as you may. Within the rest of the film there are Biblical scenes like the whale and the flying fish. The main one though is his belief in his faith, or faiths, has him survive as he is stranded in the vastness of sea with a hungry tiger. It’s reminiscent of Daniel and the lion’s den story. The only thing that kept him alive was his faith in his God and that was the same for Pi. The tiger in this case was kept at bay and he did eventually reach safety.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
This installment of the Harry Potter series put all of the upset evangelicals to rest. This movie is full of religious imagery and metaphors. First is Voldemort’s horcruxes. Since he has seven of them, each one represents one of the seven deadly sins. Second would be the actual deathly hallows. The resurrection stone would be the Holy Ghost because of the resurrection properties being congruent with the ghost spirit. The invisibility cloak would be the son because of it being handed down to an actual son, the son being Harry. Lastly, the elder wand would be the father because it’s all powerful. Of course, there’s Harry being similar to Jesus by being the chosen one and coming back to life.
Nymphomaniac: Part 2
This film has images of lust throughout, which you can tell from the title of the film. Lust however has a specific reference to it being a deadly sin. At the end of the film, the old man which the heroine was retelling her life story to, tries to use her to lose his virginity. Even though she has slept with many people she doesn’t like his gesture and she kills him. His lust literally leads to his death.
Arguably one of the best films in cinematic history still gets talked about in reference to its content violence and nonlinear story. With one of its best and most complex characters, Jules, he has the best character arcs and it deals with religion. The religion aspect has nothing to do with the Ezekiel speech, which isn’t a verbatim recital of the actual Bible verse, but rather what happens after it. After Jules and Vincent kills their target, the hiding thug comes to avenge his friend’s death. He completely misses from point blank range and Jules takes notice of that. Jules calls it a Divine Intervention. He believes that God stepped in and diverted the bullets. This later causes him to leave his life of crime for one of the straight and narrow.