Film | Wide Angle

The diversity of religion captured on film

by Giovanni Fazio

Reflecting on the rise of a generation of Japanese that has grown up suspicious of organized religion — particularly those who came of age in the shadow of 1995’s terror attacks by the Aum Shinrikyo cult — Nihon University’s College of Art has put together a Religion Film Festival, which will be screening at Shibuya’s Eurospace Dec. 10-16.

The collection of 15 films aims to spur discussion and offers a wide variety of perspectives on faith, wide enough to include both Harold Cronk’s “God’s Not Dead,” a 2014 film portraying the liberal atheist “persecution” of Christians in American academia, and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s”Jesus Camp,” a 2006 documentary that uncovers something akin to brainwashing of young children in the Evangelical community.

Some of the films will only be screened on Blu-ray, but film buffs should note that there are 35-mm prints of some classics that define the vocabulary of contemporary art cinema, including Andrei Tarkovsky’s ritualistic “Nostalghia” (1983), Carl Theodor Dreyer’s rapturous silent-era “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc” (1928), and a pair of Cannes Grand Prix winners on martyrdom, Lars von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves” (1996) and Xavier Beauvois’ “Of Gods and Men” (2010).

Also screening is the full 4½-hour cut of “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” (2011), Wei Te-Sheng’s bloodthirsty epic of a Taiwanese aboriginal uprising against Japanese colonialism.

For more details, visit syukyou-eigasai.com.