“It is, I suppose, a truism that the cinema is the secular temple of modern life. A movie house is like a chapel, where one is alone with one’s soul. Film intrinsically avows an afterlife by creating immortals, stars. In its fixing of transient moments with permanence, it bestows on even the silliest comic farce an air of fatalism and eternity. All well and good. What I want to know is: Did I purposely seek out the spiritual in movies in order to create a cordon sanitaire, to keep it from spilling into the other facets of my life?”—Philip Lopate, “The Movies and Spiritual Life,” in Getting Personal: Selected Writings (2003)
The image accompanying this post comes from the winner of the 1988 Best Foreign Film Oscar, the marvelous Italian motion picture Cinema Paradiso. Few films have depicted so poignantly the hold that the dark, enclosed space of the movie house has exerted in our collective dreams over the past century.