Spiritual themes in "Sunshine".

Here's an adaptation of the response I posted to a blog entry on Chris Curtis' blog


I thoroughly agree with Chris' take on the film and its thoughtful dealing with issues of science, faith, etc.... I have now seen the film twice. Like Chris I saw thematic similarities with a film I mentioned in an earlier post, "Children Of Men". A specific similarity can I think be seen in "Children..."'s use of the expression "Jesus Christ!" when people see the pregnant Kee, or Kee and her baby for the first time (eg. Theo + Sid) and in "Sunshine"'s use of "My God" (eg. Corazon finding a little surviving plant amidst the burnt out oxygen room - God perceived through nature - and Capa when he sees Pinbacker in the observation room in the near blinding light and Pinbacker replies "Not your God."... I think there's maybe another occurrence somewhere... There is also the general attitude of awe/adoration that many of the characters display when seeing the sun (filtered or not), including Capa's final epiphany.

Also of note is the psych-ops Searle's first bit of dialogue with the crew after his early epiphany experience when he describes how the Sun's light is so "all-enveloping" that you become part of it. Pierre Teilhard De Chardin (French Jesuit scientist and theologian who I happened to be reading the day I saw the film the second time) and a whole strain of mystic writers describe experiences during eucharistc adoration (of the Blessed Sacrament) in similar terms. The Sun = host/Eucharist comparison is perhaps obvious but worth noting.

Interesting too is screen-writer Alex Garland's professed atheisim and Danny Boyle's catholic background (nearly went to Upholland Junior Seminary). They seem to be in unison when they express in some of their interviews their common desire to explore how people would react when they come face to face with the "source of all life" (on their planet at least, for the atheist).

Another idea Teilhard De Chardin discusses (using St. Paul as a starting point) is how the immutable, unchanging God, who in no way needs humans to be what/who he is, allows himself (out of love for humanity) to be touched, even be changed through his Son becoming man. God takes on humanity in giving humanity its vocation of divine union with him and humanity leaves its imprint on God. Chardin talks of God becoming more even more resplendent and luminous (!) through this relationship of love.

Back to the film... Humanity brings the gift of the sum total of its material resources (at least in terms of what can go into the star bomb) and in the meeting of the two, mediated in the end by Capa, God and Man achieve a kind of mystical union; the forcefield around Capa allowing him to reach out and touch "the source of all life" (for Earth) in the instant before he gets totally consumed as their union brings an outpouring of new life (the re-energised Sun).

Sorry if this all seems a bit "out there", but I suppose seeing the film again (yesterday) was a pretty powerful experience for me, what with the ideas of Chardin floating around in my head.
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