Talking Movies With My Brother

By Tim Winterstein

Honestly, I can’t believe we’d never thought of it before.

My brother, Jay, and I talk a lot about movies. He’s the one who went to film school. He’s the one who introduced me to the Newport Beach Film Festival. He’s the one who tells me which classic movies I’ve missed and should see. He’s the one I ask when I don’t know the technical language of film.

So the idea should have occurred to me a long time ago that Jay and I should have a film and theology podcast. The world no doubt needs another podcast like I need another hole in my head. But perhaps there’s a niche for us. There’s no shortage of film podcasts. And there are also people talking film from a variety of religious perspectives, including Christians. But I don’t know of one that talks film and theology from those two perspectives at the same time, let alone one hosted by brothers.

I have the language of theology, but Jay is also a Lutheran. He has the language of film, but I love talking about movies too. So we’re approaching both theology and film from different perspectives, which should lead to some fruitful conversation. It seems like it should be a pretty good combination. (We’ll see if anyone other than our mom thinks so.)

We’re excited to announce the launch of Saints and Cinema with the Winterstein Brothers. If you’re interested in the intersection of film and theology, or if you’ve enjoyed anything I’ve written here, maybe you’ll find what we’re going to do interesting as well. I intend to continue writing here, but a podcast is a different animal, especially one that will be a conversation between brothers about shared interests.

We’re looking forward not only to talking movies with each other, but we also have a number of guests in mind—both filmmakers and pastors/theologians—to talk to about what they do, what they’re working on, and how they see the interaction between the work of film and theology.

We’d be happy for you to check us out on Facebook (facebook.com/saintsandcinema), follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/saintsandcine), or send us an e-mail (saintsandcinemapod@gmail.com). A website should be coming soon at saintsandcinema.com, with each of our top 100 lists and a few other things. And we’re hoping to have the introductory episode up within a week or so. If you listen and you like what we do, please share at will! 

3 thoughts on “Talking Movies With My Brother

  1. Looking for a theological link in secular films may seem intriguing at best, however, in my opinion, most cinematic themes originating from the carnal and somewhat debased minds and aspirations of worldly writers and directors will usually fall short. The writer of thrillers and psychological cinema often approach their theme from a humanistic perspective, even though we can see metaphorical relationships to the spiritual realm in the characterizations depicted. In the old movie, “Moby Dick,” starting Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, we see a distinctly religious and spiritual relationship with the White Whale, and each of the actors contribute to the theme…but this idea was designed by Herman Melville, and copied by the film director. I think you will find a way to connect some films to Theology, but it will be a flawed stretch if this idea is used too liberally where the evidence is not persuasive.

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  2. I don’t know how other people do it, but I don’t “look for theological links in secular films.” That’s a bad distinction, and it highlights a bigger problem in American Christianity, which is to begin with the Second Article of the Creed and ignore the First Article. It’s the reason why American Christians create ghettos of “Christian” music and “Christian” movies and “Christian” diets. There’s no such thing. There is only God’s creation, redeemed in Christ. And whether they (or we) like it or not, “secular” filmmakers cannot get out of that creation; they can only try to ruin, destroy, or rage against it.

    The problem is not in trying to connect theology to film, but in thinking that there is a gap there to be bridged at all–as if the devil or our sinful nature were able to literally create something outside of God’s creation. That is impossible. So, likewise, it is impossible for anything not to fall inside the realm of theological inquiry and thought.

    That, of course, doesn’t mean that everything is automatically good or worthy of consideration. The outright rejection of God’s good creation and what it is for is not something to be celebrated, but rejected. Even so, it is rejected from within creation, and not as something outside of it. In the theological sense, human creatures are literally incapable of being original.

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