How To Not Watch A Film

Doug Jones gives a compelling exhortation here for Christians to require quite a bit of a film in order to be satisfied. This is another piece of required reading for FilmFisher writers.

Jones writes: …entering a good story is primarily about learning to love some ugly person. That’s the gospel isn’t it? “Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us.” God shows His love by loving the ungodly. The ungodly. The unlovable. Those full of sin. Those we don’t really want to look at. Well-made character films offer us this angle. The story starts with someone with a huge flaw, some crazy obsession, some debilitat­ing sin. We don’t like them. We wouldn’t want them as a friend. If we knew them in our day-to-day lives, we’d probably not go near them. A good film shows us how to love the unlovely, how to want to side with the ungodly. In short, insightful character films can try to show us people the way God might see them.

Such an account of story requires an audience which can gauge movement and trajectory in a story, not an audience which merely catalogs events and dialog as a series of numbers (positive numbers for true things, negative numbers for evil things) which total a single number, and the higher the truer. FilmFisher writers evaluate films as though films were human beings- evasive, indecisive, secretive, inviting, seductive, vicious, virtuous.