A Theater is a Church


We congregate, en mass, to a single locale at a specific time.  We sit together in rows of seats, inches away from complete strangers.  We, as a single body, watch, listen and ponder.  Afterwards, we discuss, debate and philosophize what we just experienced.  The movie is, perhaps, the most universal of sermons.

What else can one call a visual performance but a kind of sermon?  A sermon serves to tell a story, to offer wisdom on life’s many trials and mysteries.   Even the most abstract art-house interpretive dance performance is the expressive culmination of a fellow human being’s personal experiences and emotions.

Likewise, even the biggest flop at the box office only exists because someone was, at one point, inspired to make a film.  No matter how ‘bad’ a film is, it’s still the reflection of someone’s innermost workings.  What you see on the screen are the things that live inside the minds of others, whether they’re cheesy, bland or downright excruciating.

This kind of creative expression, and sharing such with our fellows, is a large part of what we like to call ‘humanity’.  After all, look at the first few definitions of the word:

humanity [hjuːˈmænɪtɪ]

n pl -ties

1. the human race
2. the quality of being human
3. (Philosophy) (plural; usually preceded by the) the study of literature, philosophy, and the arts
The very word itself is ancient Latin, used to describe these specific forms of creative expression.  It implies that to create works of art is analogous to being human.  This is what brings people of all sorts together into a relatively uncomfortable, smelly room, far from the comfort of our own cushy couches – never mind that we even pay good money to do so.  It’s that movies, like other artworks, speak to us as human beings.

One thought on “A Theater is a Church

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. A theater IS a church. One thing I’ll say about Quentin Tarantino is that he understands this.
    If a movie only reaches one person (and maybe that person has not been born yet) it was worth making. And the worst movie in the world is often superior to a middle-of-the-road one that takes no chances, because if the film is THAT bad the filmmaker probably went out on a limb, bared his innermost soul, or flew too close to the sun, and that is what I really want to watch.

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