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Religions 2016, 7(4), 36; doi:10.3390/rel7040036

Syncopated Beats and the History of Sadness: The Affective Fusion of Audience and Film through Music

School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 135 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91182, USA
Academic Editor: Joseph Kickasola
Received: 19 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Film and Lived Theology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [183 KB, uploaded 25 March 2016]

Abstract

Recent developments in the disciplines of cinema studies, theology, and religion and film have generated renewed interest in the experiential dimensions of filmgoing. More specifically, those contributing to theological scholarship have begun to explore these cinematic experiences as theologically significant. With these developments in mind, this essay offers a close reading of the principal musical theme in the 2010 film Beginners, noting in particular the ways in which this music is distributed throughout the narrative. In doing so, it suggests that the music in this film expresses in concrete terms one of the key insights from emerging neuropsychological research, namely, that our affective, pre-cognitive, “wordless knowledge” of the world is the foundation upon which human consciousness is constructed. But the essay goes one step further by making an explicitly theological claim. That is, when located within the framework of a lived theology (i.e., a “poetic theology”), the film and its music shed light on the ways in which aesthetic modes of awareness (i.e., intuitive, embodied forms of knowledge) open up spaces in the contemporary world where our affections, the goods of late-modern society, and our spiritual longings are able to meet and interact. View Full-Text
Keywords: Music; jazz; theology; religion; consciousness; poetics; aesthetics; bodies; emotions; leitmotiv Music; jazz; theology; religion; consciousness; poetics; aesthetics; bodies; emotions; leitmotiv
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Callaway, K. Syncopated Beats and the History of Sadness: The Affective Fusion of Audience and Film through Music. Religions 2016, 7, 36.

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