About us
Croatian film


God on Film

(in Breaking the Waves and The End of the Affair)

God is one of the protagonists of two recent excellent motion pictures, Lars Von Trierís Breaking the Waves and Neil Jordanís The End of the Affair. Characteristics of God as a film character surpass the usual, recognizable characteristics of film characters. Godís qualities are that he is invisible, all-present, almighty and all knowing, untouchable for the other characters while at the same time being the moving force of all drama action...

Study of the particularities of such a creature that refuses to be modelled into any dramaturgical matrix opens a number of questions relevant to the understanding of dramaturgy and narration of these works, and film art in general. Basic question is how can a creature without body exist in a medium based on visual perception. How is God introduced in film? When are we (if we are at all) sure of His presence? Do viewers have an emotional reaction to such an appearance? How do the authors resolve the problem of communication between God and other characters in film? What specific film procedures are used to bring such an unusual phenomenon on the film screen? Is God at the same time a screenwriter and a director?

Answers to these questions can be drawn from a careful parallel analysis of the two above-mentioned films in which God is presented in two different ways, but with important correspondences due to which God can be proclaimed a new type of film character founded with precision and quite recognisable. The understanding of Godís film character surpasses the content of the two films because the conclusions of the analysis of Godís appearance on film can be successfully applied to all other films in the sense of the relation author ó film, director ó film character, screenwriter ó director. It is surprising that studying the problems of the film character we learn more about the author than the character so that the final objective of the analysis is to determine that the character of God is the copy of the author on the film tape.

The conclusion establishes this thesis. The person whose characteristics are similar to those of Godís character and is directly involved in the production process is precisely the screenwriter-director. Negating any kind of distancing from Godís character, filmic God is actually a mirror reflection of the director himself. The fact that every movie is similarly related to its creator makes the understanding of God, as a more direct and clearer form of the first assumption, a very suggestive indicator of the fundamental creative hypothesis artist-creation.

Aldo Tardozzi

Seven Films by Ante Babaja ó Their Pictorial Style
Cartoon realism by Walt Disney

View other articles in this edition...


new edition

Web Statistics