Within the discussion of religious art there arises the fascinating question of how art can engender the awareness of those special (hierophanous) moments in culture where the sacred dimension breaks through into otherwise profane experience. This question requires a consideration of the peculiar relationship which a given art form has to its world (e.g., imitation vs. interpretation, recording vs. transformation).
The special potency of cinematic art in its relationship to physical and spiritual reality, and to surface and depth, is the subject of the present article. While religion-and-film discussions frequently focus upon religious themes in film, the purpose of the following analysis is that of considering a theology of film, taking account of fundamental questions of cinematic theory. Among thinkers whose systems suggest possibilities for dialogue are theologian (Paul Tillich), a phenómenologist (Mikel Dufrenne) and a “school” of film theorists, including especially the followers of André Bazin.