Liturgy on the Reel: Ascesis through Film

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


This article investigates representations of ascesis in film. Ascesis (askesis, ἄσκησις)
is an ancient Christian praxis that remains an integral part of Eastern Orthodox Chris-
tianity. Its aim is the restoration of the human being into its wholeness, which in Or-
thodox theology is referred to as the growing of person from the image to the likeness
of God. Ascesis is bound to the Divine Liturgy: it is a continuation and manifestation of
the experience of liturgical life and its aim is the (kenotic) fulfilment of love. Ascesis is
a constant metanoia, a precondition of reconciliation, a transformative process, and
an artistic creation, and it is the divine inspiration that leads to salvation. This article
examines the depictions of ascesis in two films: Ostrov (The Island, Pavel Lungin, RU
2006) and Man of God (Yelena Popovic, GR 2021). The overarching aims of this article
are to show (1) the ways in which asceticism is conceptualised and expressed in Or-
thodox Christianity and (2) the ways in which film expresses the inexpressible, moving
from descriptive language to the expression of inner liturgical life by the means of film
language. It seeks to provide novel perspectives within the field of religion and film in
researching asceticism through film. Building upon Andrei Tarkovsky’s thought, this
article finally suggests approaching ascesis in film through the lens of poetic cinema.
Seiten (von - bis)129-157
FachzeitschriftJournal for Religion, Film and Media
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2022

ÖFOS 2012

  • 604011 Filmwissenschaft
  • 603222 Systematische Theologie
  • 603203 Christliche Philosophie


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