In her new book, Catholic Literature and Film: Incarnational Love and Suffering, English and Catholic Studies professor Dr. Nancy Enright depicts a distinctive interpretation of watching films through a religious lens.
The idea of the book was cultivated from a course Enright created called Catholic Literature and Film. The discussions and spirit of the class prompted Enright to write the book based around the course.
“I really loved teaching the course, it was interesting to me,” she said. “So I just thought, I’d really like to turn this into a book.”
Enright, explores film adaptations like The Lord of the Rings and Les Miserables, unearthing the sometimes overlooked religious themes that a movie-goer might not notice among the numerous aspects of film. She explores themes of suffering, sacrifice and the idea of romantic love being a vehicle for salvation.
These major themes are heavily rooted in religion. However, according to Enright, we also find them in films, something the average viewer might not realize.
“You see suffering depicted in a redemptive way, that their suffering brings them to a place where they can open up to God,” Enright said, referring to the book and film adaptation of Les Miserables.
Peter Fraser, the dean of College of Arts and Sciences at Regent University, noted in a review that the book “defines how a film can be ‘incarnational and sacramental.’”
Enright also shared her opinions on faith and religion in general, commenting how they are becoming more marginalized in society.
“When people think of religion, it’s over there, and the rest of our lives are over here,” she said. “If faith is going to be genuine for us, I think it should be in every part of our lives.”
Shaun Holder, senior and social and behavioral sciences major, had similar remarks to Enright’s first point commenting on the role of religion in other types of media.
“I listen to a lot of rappers, and I think their views of God line up with mine,” he said. “Hearing it through music is just a little more comforting.” Enright also highlighted the aspect of music that enables it to become a type of outlet where people can express faith more obviously than say a piece of literature or even film.
More than the content of the book, Enright urges people to think about faith in thier own lives when reading the book.
“The most important thing is if it can touch someone’s life positively,” she said.
Megan Beauchamp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org