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Brent Plate
Brent Plate

Washington Post Publishes Plate Column

“And the Oscar for Best Image of God in a motion picture goes to . . .”

Posted March 7, 2010
Tags Cinema Hamilton In the News Religious Studies
The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog published “And the Oscar for Best Image of God in a motion picture goes to . . .” on March 4. Written by Visiting Associate Professor of Religion S. Brent Plate, the article will appear in The Washington Post’s print edition shortly. Plate reviewed the films of 2009 and the manner in which they explored the image of the human and the image of God. According to him, they did so “in an unprecedented way.”

“The year marked the 150th publication anniversary of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and perhaps it is this fact, however unconscious, that prompted so many filmmakers to tackle perennial questions such as: What does it mean to be human? What are limits of humanity? And, thus, what does the human have to do with the ‘image of God’?,” wrote Plate. He discussed films nominated for an Oscar including Avatar and District 9 as well as those that missed a nomination.

In writing about the conceptual evolution through film history of what it means to be human, Plate considered future scenarios. “Aliens and apocalypses, action heroes and animals, have been subjects of films for decades. Yet, collectively and increasingly, the mass media leaves us wondering about the edges of the human. So much attention to the question ‘What are humans?’ might in itself show that we are reaching our ends. Maybe space invaders or global warming, an interspecies or cybernetic hybrid here on earth, will make us other than we presently are.”

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