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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Several papal documents have acknowledged the power (and attendant controversies) associated with the cinema since its invention in 1895. Filmic representations of the Virgin Mary increase the potential for contention by interconnecting with gender issues in addition to theology. Paying attention to these polemical dimensions, this chapter explores three cinematic approaches to Mariology: (i) the symbolic effect of the Marian image, which may provide a Catholic cultural context or a plot device; (ii) Marian apparitions and the attendant shrines; and (iii) filmic adaptations of the life of the mother of Jesus that touch upon dogmatic definitions (by accident or design). Despite different perspectives, the productions underline the ongoing significance of Mary as an inspiration for filmmakers, regardless of the religious affiliation (or none) of the directors.

Keywords: Annunciation, Assumption, apparitions, cinema, Crucifixion, feminist criticism, Immaculate Conception, Nativity, patriarchal symbol, virginity

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