Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BYU Studies: Volume 46, no. 2

Randy Astle's history of Mormon cinema covers over a hundred years and
divides LDS involvement in film into five distinct "waves." This
monumental article offers a unique perspective on LDS history—through
the lens of the camera.

Early anti-Mormon films drew on the sinister, predatory image of the
vampire in portraying Mormon missionaries. James V. D'Arc compares
Trapped by the Mormons with Bram Stoker's popular novel Dracula.

Mormon film has come into its own to a large degree because of its
engagement with certain paradoxes in Mormon culture. Terryl L. Givens
shows how artistic culture is the exploration of "tensions, rather
than the glib assertion or imposition of a fragile harmony."

Travis T. Anderson observes that the word "wholesome" is used in a
strange sort of way by Latter-day Saints when referring to art,
literature, or film. Although the word properly means something
nutritious or edifying, to many Mormons it has come to refer to
something without objectionable content. Anderson suggests that by
focusing on the negative in works of art, literature, or film, we can
miss the good they usually contain.

Behind the recent Mormon cinematic movement is the business side of
making and marketing movies. Eric Samuelsen looks at various business
models that have been used by LDS filmmakers and explores the
economics of Mormon cinema.

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