Theatre vs. Film!
My friend Jeff Overstreet, writing in Image, has this to say about film:
[Filmmakers] organize what we see in such a way as to encourage the viewer to explore relationships between character, image, color, music, and camera angle. If they do their job well, the viewer comes away wanting to see the film again, to take a closer look. In this way, film is uniquely qualified to explore spirituality. More than any other art, it mirrors our experience in time and space. Reflecting our world back to us, it gives us the opportunity to reflect and revisit moments, slowly drawing back the veil.I say that it's precisely this recursive quality of film, its non-ephemerality, that renders it unlike our experience in time and space. Yes, film pins the butterfly to the card so that you may analyze it. But I don't have to tell you what happens to the butterfly in the process. Not to say that film isn't "uniquely qualified to explore spirituality"—I'll give him that, as long as by "uniquely" we don't mean "best" or "most" or "exclusively." I dispute the "more than any other art" bit.
If you want an art form that mirrors our experience in time and space, I nominate theatre, which is not only viewed in real time but created in real time. Not only that, but theatre has the ephemeral quality of real-life experience that film lacks. No two performances of a play are exactly alike, and once the performance is over there's no way of rewinding it to watch it again—except in your own mind. Finally, film is mediated by the camera, the celluloid, the screen. Theatre, on the other hand, is about as immediate as the arts can get.
What do you think?