Sunday, November 27, 2011

Religious Critique in 21st Century Medieval Period Films

Well, it's that time of year again: Pop Culture Conference Proposals! I'm a little ahead of the game this year, as I'm working on this conference abstract a full four days before the deadline! As usual, I thought I'd post my proposal here to get some general feedback before sending it off. In a semi-continuation of the subject I researched last year, religious critique in video games, this year I'm looking at religious critique in 21st century medieval period films like Black Death, Arn: The Knight Templar, and Season of the Witch:
Even four years after the September 11th attacks, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven took as much criticism for inciting anti-Muslim fervor and championing Muslim fundamentalists as praise for promoting diplomacy over war in religious and cultural conflicts. But in the time since, medieval period films have begun to side against not only the Church's Holy War but the Church itself.
While foreign films like Valhalla Rising and Arn: The Knight Templar show the Christian Crusaders as ignorant racists, others such as The Black Death and Season of the Witch demonstrate the Church's zealotry in hunting witches. Further, the heroes of many of these movies are those who sympathize with the Church's enemies or even turn away from the Church altogether.
Films suggesting god and religion as a threat to mankind are not new; one has only to look at some of the previous years' blockbusters: The Book of Eli, Legion, even The Clash of the Titans. But it's rare for a slew of films to deliver similar messages about religion in a similar manner unless there's a greater cultural undertone at work, such as the pro-America atmosphere that produced The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur during the Cold War. And that these 21st century medieval period films have been made all around the world suggests an even deeper connection.
At this point, my research has been minimal, so I'm open to any suggestions, critiques, a more interesting title (haha!), or other films I should be watching. I'm also still on the fence about which area I should submit this to, Religion and Pop Culture or Film and History, so any thoughts there would also be appreciated.

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?

3 comments:

Andrew Wales said...

Title- how about "Good God?" lol

Interesting topic. Good luck on this work. I like your idea.

Ben Villarreal said...

Haha! Nice :-)

Ben Villarreal said...

Accepted!

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