The joy of destruction is also the joy of creation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Given its capacity to stimulate the imagination and resonate across a wide spectrum of human experiences, sacrifice has always attracted filmmakers. From Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc to Pasolini's Mamma Roma to Tarkovsky's Sacrifice to many of Ozu's films to Kar Wai Wong's In the Mood for Love or to Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves and Bruno Dumont's La Vie de Jésus, to give just a few examples, sacrifice has nourished, informed and shaped filmmaking. Sacrifice is a fundamental human act, and cinema has always, in some way or another, danced around it. Yet that's not all. In a world like ours from which the gods have mostly withdrawn, but people haven't stopped feeling the need to believe, in an important sense film has taken over the myth-factory. It's on screen that the post-Christian grand narratives are sketched, the new myths rehearsed, and the old ones recycled. Our contemporaries may no longer be church-goers, but they go to the movies religiously. And the sacrificial theme makes for the perfect raw material for this new production line. For sacrifice can provide stories of loss and mourning, betrayal and redemption, death and renewal, destruction and re-creation, apocalypses and the birth of new worlds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalAngelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014


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