Faith and Film: Ministry in the Movies

Fridays at 2:00 p.m., September 28–November 30
C Clifton Black

PRINCETON, NJ, Sept. 24, 2018Dead Man Walking, starring Susan Sarandon, is just one of many contemporary and classic motion pictures that Princeton Theological Seminary will host this fall. The movie screenings are a part of a class, Faith and Film: Ministry in the Movies, which examines theological themes and pastoral issues portrayed in cinema that Christian leaders may face.

“By viewing these films, I want participants in the course to encounter a broad range of commonplace occurrences in modern ministry and to reflect, scripturally and theologically, on their responses to experiences they themselves are someday likely to encounter,” says Clifton Black, PhD, MDiv, Otto A. Piper Professor of Biblical Theology at the Seminary.

Screenings are on Fridays until Nov. 30. Each showing will be held on the Seminary’s campus in Stuart Hall, Room 6, at 2 p.m. The viewings are free and limited street parking is available.

The films screened in this course have been carefully selected for their capacity to raise fundamental questions about challenges, often crises, experienced by clergy in different Christian denominations. Some of the topics that will be addressed include ministry in settings of urban corruption, ministers dealing with their own doubts about faith, ministry to prisoners on death row, clergy burn-out, ministry corrupted by pastoral abuse, and how ministers cope in circumstances that exact great cost and may even endanger their own lives.

“Critical study of film is an educational model that is widely accepted and has proven effective,” says Black. “Yet the study of film for the consideration of biblical and theological issues is still in its infancy. It is exciting to offer this innovative approach to theological formation.”

The following films are scheduled for screening:

Download Flyer (pdf)

Related Event: Professor Black to host film screening at the Princeton Garden Theatre, September 27

3  Winter Light

Winter Light | Sept. 28, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Produced by Allan Ekelund.

Starring: Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow, and Gunnel Lindblom.

(Running time: 81 minutes. Not Rated. Sweden, 1962)

4  Babettes Feast

Babette’s Feast | Oct. 5, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Gabriel Axel, based on the story by Isak Dinesen. Produced by Just Betzer and Bo Christensen.

Starring: Stephane Audran, Birgitte Federspiel, and Bodil Kjer.

(Running time: 102 minutes. Rated: G. Denmark, 1987)

5  Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking | Oct. 12, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Tim Robbins, based on the memoir by Helen Prejean. Produced by Tim Robbins, Jon Kulik, and Rudd Simmon.

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and Robert Prosky.

(Running time: 122 minutes. Rated: R. USA, 1995)

6  The Apostle Small

The Apostle | Oct. 19, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Robert Duvall. Produced by Robert Duvall, Steven Brown, and Rob Carliner.

Starring: Robert Duvall, Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson, and Billy Joe Shaver.

(Running time: 134 minutes. Rated: PG-13. USA, 1997)

7  Doubt Small 2

Doubt | Nov. 2, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, based on his play. Produced by Scott Rudin.

Starring: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.

(Running time: 104 minutes. Rated PG-13. USA, 2008)

Of Gods And Men Small

Of Gods and Men | Nov. 9, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Xavier Beauvois. Produced by Pascal Caucheteux and Étienne Comar.

Starring: Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, and Olivier Rabourdin.

(Running time: 122 minutes. Rated PG-13. France, 2010)

9  Calvary

Calvary | Nov. 16, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by James Michael McDonagh. Produced by Chris Clark, Flora Fernandez-Marengo, and James Flynn.

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, and Dylan Moran.

(Running time: 101 minutes. Rated: R. Ireland/UK, 2014)

10  First Reformed

First Reformed | Nov. 30, 2:00 p.m.

Written and directed by Paul Schrader. Produced by Jack Binder, Greg Clark, and Victoria Hill.

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, and Cedric Kyles.

(Running time: 113 minutes. Rated: R. USA, 2017)

Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church of Jesus Christ worldwide. Its students and more than 11,000 graduates from all 50 states and many nations around the world serve Christ in churches, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies, initiatives for social justice, mission agencies, and the emerging ministries of the church in the twenty-first century.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Associate Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND

Sylvia Bull , Class of 2015

“My field education placements lifted up my gifts for ordained ministry, and the dual-degree program helped me develop the skills for ministry. ”