Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality


A History of Sacred Cinema



CSP 672  Number of Credit Units: 2


Instructor: Kevin Peer  Instructor’s telephone number:  828-216-6638

E-mail: [email protected]


Class Schedule: Spring Semester, 2003

February 21 & 24, 10am – 6pm (Session I), and April 4 & 7, 10am – 6 pm (Session II)


Course Description: An exploration of how the sacred has been portrayed in feature films and documentaries since the inception of the medium. At least 7 films will be viewed, discussed and evaluated; some are masterpieces and some are not. The course will explore the context of each film’s creation in relation to the director’s intent and the cultural milieu in which the film was created. Questions will be investigated such as: What are these films trying to teach the audiences of their time period? What techniques and methods are used to effect a shift in our consciousness? Did these techniques succeed or miss the mark? What do these films have to say to us today? What is sacred cinema?


Course Objectives: The primary goal of this class is to provide students with an overview of the many ways in which film and video media have attempted to portray the sacred, with varying degrees of success. Through this critical overview the course intends to help students develop a discriminating awareness towards the relationship between intent, technique and effect as it relates to the filmmaking process.


Course Requirements:


1. Attendance of class and engaged participation in class discussions: 30%


2. Successful completion of class assignments. 70%

Assignments will involve the writing of a 2-page paper on each film shown in class. Papers will explore the ways in which each film portrayed the dimension of the sacred, along with some of the visual and story techniques which were used by the filmmaker to accomplish this.




Total Requirements ………………..100%