Film comes, in the history of mankind, as a much more religious fact than one might have thought at first glance..
André Bazin, in his article “Ontology of the photographic image” (1945), evokes in a very clear way the function of the original photograph: this photographic trace of the body of Christ on his mortuary shroud (the Holy Shroud, preserved in Turin, Italy) is used as one of the irrefutable proofs of the existence of God, because the hand of man has nothing to do with it, it is a natural phenomenon, a mechanical reproduction. Photography is therefore at one with the foundations of Christianity.
Of course, the Holy Shroud was proven to be a fake, the fabric having been dated to the Middle Ages at carbon 14. This does not in any way detract from its function and the instrumentalization that was made of it. The carvings of Christ’s tomb still represent this fabric. In the Baroque period, the sculpted staging is spatialized from it, like a kind of pre-film waiting patiently for the appearance of the technology that will follow.
To live the shock of the encounter with such a sculpture and to film it accompanied by the words of André Bazin, to make it exist in the time of cinema, is for me to touch a common philosophical essence. This highlights the intrinsic link between cinema, religion and art history. André Bazin’s words were the foundation of my understanding of cinema. So making this film represents for me a way of tracing the deep link between cinema and its two origins, both mechanical-natural and human-fictional.
For religion is a fiction, which has taken as a pretext an allegedly irrefutable trace of reality. That is to say, cinema and its avatars before their time, with all the troubles that images sow more and more in the question of the definition of the real. Let us specify, in the continuation of Yuval Noah Harari’s work, that I call religion any fixed belief system that claims to explain the world. Thus, atheism, although it defends itself, is also a religion.