Scoring Transcendence: Contemporary Film Music as Religious Experience

For many people, filmgoing is a moment to submerge themselves in a new world of meaning and experience a different reality. While film is prominently defined by its ‘moving images’ these alone are not usually able to fully move a viewer. Audiovisual cinema is much more compelling and music has a unique ability to produce emotive power for the viewer. In Scoring Transcendence: Contemporary Film Music as Religious Experience (Baylor University Press, 2013), Kutter Callaway, Affiliate Professor at Fuller Seminary, addresses how cinematic music uniquely opens up a space that invites the viewer to feel. Through his investigation Callaway moves beyond the tradition of textual and literary approaches to film and offers us methods for hearing images and seeing sounds. In our conversation we discuss audience reception, musical transparency, Finding Nemo, filmic narrative, music’s theological capacity, Pixar, western cultural imagination, Up, musical leitmotifs, and Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life.