Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Human Experience

It seems there are a spate of Catholic movies being made these days; I recently received an email recommend for this one.

In terms of genre it looks to be rather interesting, something that sort of fits in the category of "documentary" but really pushes the boundaries of that label in a way that began only a few years ago.

To be honest, the trailer seemed a little bit over the top, playing up the evil and inhumanity in the world in a way that, while not strictly false, came off flat. Nevertheless, that could just be the trailer. A more interesting question might be that of audience: Who is this film intended for? Because - in spite of the name, The Human Experience - the film clearly takes a Christian, even Catholic view of the world. I happen to share such a world-view, but I wonder how marketable such a film is. If they're hoping for a broad market appeal, they may have shot themselves in the foot by dropping a few too many Christian images, using too much Christian language. Still, the very fact of the film's title suggests that they understand the basic idea behind a broad appeal: it has to be on the basis of that which all men share, namely the human experience.

On the other hand, perhaps the film is really only designed for consumption by Christians. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. While the goal these days is usually to make blockbuster films that will convert the whole world, a more limited task may be called for. After all, a film that specifically aimed at touching a Christian audience and encouraged them to live out their faith in a more vibrant way would have the virtue of being able to focus on doing a single thing and doing it well. Such a film would be addressing an audience which speaks the same language as its producers, the language of Christian faith. That's not a recipe for reaching the masses, but it might be just the sort of thing someone should do.

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