Cinematic Worship: Representations of Prayers and Hymns in Hollywood Cinema

Team Members/Contributors

Terry Lindvall Virginia Wesleyan College Contact Me

About this award

I propose to investigate the portrayals of the sacred practice of prayer and hymn-singing in cinema and examine the historical context of these liturgical practices, as both sacramental and secular uses. The influence on media for setting agendas and advising behavior has long been an issue in the study of media. In his work on Film as Religion, author John Lyden notes how movies have represented religious rituals, often setting examples that shape public perceptions.

Thus my project aims at exploring the cinematic representations of prayer and the worship of hymn-singing, compiling and marshalling a significant set of film segments according to chronology and genre. Clips will by analyzed according to demographic variables (age, race, gender, etc.), functions (e.g. praise, confession and repentance, thanksgiving, or supplication), and their efficacy (i.e. are prayers answered?), and their tone (e.g. inspirational, nostalgic, ironic, etc.).

Ultimately, I propose to write a book entitled Cinematic Worship: Representations of Prayers and Hymns in Hollywood Cinema and produce a DVD of relevant film clips to use in presentation of my findings.

Image Title Year Type Contributor(s) Other Info
Divine Film Comedies: Biblical Narratives, Film Sub-Genres, and the Comic Spirit 2016 Book Terry Lindvall
God on the Big Screen 2019 Book Terry Lindvall