Post-secular cinematic parables : theology, philosophy, and ethics in the films of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
Altmetrics DOI Statistics
This thesis integrates theology, philosophy, and film studies in a theological analysis of the filmography of Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. I propose that the Dardenne brothers create post-secular cinematic parables which may evoke theological and ethical responses in audiences' imaginations through a distinct filmmaking style I call "transcendent realism." In Part I, I outline a method for theological interpretations of cinema. Chapter 1 draws from the fields of theology, philosophy, and film theory in order to propose a dynamic interdisciplinary approach for greater appreciation of the Dardennes' "post-secular" cinema. Chapter 2 presents an original phenomenological hermeneutic for cinema based on philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s description of "parable" and his concepts regarding the world behind, of, and in front of the film. I then apply this Ricoeurian parabolic hermeneutic to the Dardennes' filmography in Part II. Chapter 3 attends to the world behind the films: the Dardennes' biography, their early films, and Luc's philosophical and theological ideas found in his writings. I give particular attention to the apparent influence of philosopher Ernst Bloch on the Dardennes. Chapter 4 addresses the world of the films through close formal analysis of ‘The Son’ (2002), ‘The Kid with a Bike’ (2011), and ‘Young Ahmed’ (2019); I outline the distinctive traits of the Dardennes' transcendent realism. Chapter 5 explores the world in front of the films—that is, how the Dardennes' parables may reorient audiences' imaginations through affective states and cinematic ethics. I demonstrate three Dardennean theo-ethical themes through pairings of the brothers' six remaining major films. In the conclusion, I suggest that the Dardennes' cinematic parables are doing theology, what I call "theocinematics."
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2026-06-07
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 7th June 2026
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
A critical assessment of the theology of Camilo Torres in the light of Latin American theology : a theological paradigm for peace with justice for Colombia Núñez-Coba, Milton (University of St Andrews, 2015-01-19) - ThesisThe thesis aims to provide a critical assessment of Camilo Torres’ concept of efficacious love in the light of a hermeneutics and ethics of liberation, to contribute theoretically to theological reflection upon the mission ...
The dramatising of theology : humanity’s participation in God’s drama with particular reference to the theologies of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Barth Farlow, Matthew S. (University of St Andrews, 2011-11-30) - ThesisThe aim of this project is to investigate the proper response of theology to the Christian God who, as revealed through revelation, is Being-in-act. This project takes seriously the idea posited by Shakespeare, that totus ...
Sharkey, Jo Ann (University of St Andrews, 2011) - ThesisThe following dissertation argues that the detective fiction of P.D. James provokes her readers to think theologically. I present evidence from the body of James’s work, including her detective fiction that features the ...