A Hidden Life Podcast Transcript
Hi, my name’s Melvin, and we need more snow.
Welcome to Cinematic Doctrine, a Christian podcast service that encourages and equips Christians to engage and reform the culture of cinema. In this episode, we’ll be talking about Terrance Malick’s A Hidden Life.
I hadn’t seen a Terrence Malick film until now. If you’ll recall, I hadn’t actually see a Tarantino film until the Summer of 2019, either. I had watched Reservoir Dogs followed by Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, so I was able to get that off the bucket list. But a Malick film, nope. Hadn’t seen one until now.
And I start that way because, in Christian cinephile circles, it seems typical to bring up Terrence Malick at least once in conversation. Either when you first meet another Christian cinephile, or further in the relationship. Why? Because he has overt spiritual themes through-out his films. And while he lives a very personal life, choosing to abstain from interviews for virtually the entirety of his 40-year film-making career, his films are soaked to the brim with his worldview which leans in a very Judeo-Christian manner. Although, one would more aptly consider him more Catholic leaning, and his Oscar nominated 1999 war film The Thin Red Line does feature brief segments of nudity, so his discernment may not be up to snuff. Of course, it’s been 20 years since that film debuted.
Suffice to say, although one can never really know Terrence Malick’s faith due to his intentional choice to avoid interviews and let his films do the talking, it’s common knowledge to expect his films to include a wealth of spiritual themes, and A Hidden Life is no exception.
But enough of that, let me tell you what A Hidden Life is all about. And don’t worry, it’s very brief.
Based on real events, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife, Fani, and children that keeps his spirit alive.
A Hidden Life is Rated PG-13 for thematic material including violent images.
Thematic Material largely means that the film is doing things that can be emotionally effective, so that’s one thing.
The violent images include characters being physically abused, although it’s not like someone is getting into a fight or anything like that. It’s more like characters are being roughed up alongside psychological abuse.
Another thing to consider is the film’s more cerebral aspect. It’s a film where worldviews collide and mold and change and certain things may be difficult for people to engage. I’m including this in the content warning section because the emotional and spiritual wrestling that’s taking place through-out the runtime could be difficult for some viewers.
Also, for those who hold to the 2nd Commandment to also include artistic depictions of Jesus Christ, there are some of those through-out the film, although you’ll be encouraged to hear an artist quite literally question the value of a depiction of Jesus when comparing to the true nature of Jesus presented in Scripture. In other words, they’re doing what you’d want them to do. But I digress.
Now, before we take a look at A Hidden Life, I wanted to share real quick that if you’ve come to enjoy Cinematic Doctrine, consider leaving a review for the podcast on your respective podcast app at the end of this episode. Unlike YouTube or Reddit, there isn’t really a way to let us know how we’re doing with a thumbs up or thumbs down, so the best way to leave your thoughts on the podcast is to write a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen.
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There are a couple fascinating aspects of A Hidden Life that I’d like to share before really getting into my thoughts on the film, so here’s a bullet-style information dump.
- A Hidden Life was shot in the Austrian Alps. While scouting locations, the crew was also scouting funding, and Grant Hill, producer for the film, has said on the topic of funding, “We’d work that out as we went along – which, I wouldn’t advise doing it again that way, but it worked.”
- Although Many of Malick’s other films are shot on film, A Hidden Life was shot entirely in digital.
- Actors August Deihl and Valerie Pachner, who play Franz and Fani Jagerstatter respectively, said their experience performing their characters was more of an exploration, rather than something they immediately went into.
- A Hidden Life was largely shot chronologically, in other words, where the film starts and where it ends is largely the order the scenes were filmed. This helped Deihl and Pachner to develop their understanding of the characters Franz and Fani.
- Certain scenes, although less than 2 minutes, were shot over the course of 10, 20, and at their longest, 40 minutes. Cinematographer Jorg Widmer was pleased to work with digital during this process as it eliminated the risk of film running out.
- Jorg Widmer followed up that the intention of such long takes, permitted actors Deihl and Pachner to transform beyond performers into real farmers.
- Widmer shared certain consistencies between Malick’s films, that characters had to be on different planes to add depth, or that there had to be constant movement. Diehl and Pachner recognized this as well, with Diehl saying, “He likes when people are movng. I remember we were never standing still.” And Pachner saying, “You keep moving, never stop. That was the rule.”
- Widmer shared the only few static shots in the film were those of landscapes, as he says, quote “Nature stays where it is. Whatever happens on Earth, nature doesn’t care too much.” Endquote.
- The film A Hidden Life is based upon letters written between Franz and Fani Jaggerstater during Franz’s imprisonment, featuring dialogue taken straight from the letters themselves.
So that’s about it for my bullet-style information dump, but I think it gives some pretty neat insight into the making of A Hidden Life. There’s a strange, slow pacing about the film, and that seems to encompass everything from lengthy shoots during production, over 2 years of post-production, and a runtime just shy of 3 hours. So, I felt a quick info-dump is a great way to break the mold and get things steam-rolling, wouldn’t you agree?
Of course, just because a film has slow pacing doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot going on, and while it would be fun, dare-I-say exciting to try and pick apart the layered nuance of A Hidden Life, I feel myself more inclined to talk about the simple yet brave act of conscientious objection.
The whole premise of the film is built on the back of conscientious objection. To understand the term, I’ll start with what The Department of Defense defines as Conscientious objection, and move onward to explain how I believe the Christian life should be, in some respect, riddled with conscientious objection.
So, as the Department of Defense declares, conscientious objection is a firm, fixed, and sincere objection to participation in war in any form of the bearing of arms, by reason of religious training and/or belief.
A modern example of conscientious objection is Cassius Clay, or Muhammed Ali, who denied the draft amidst the Vietnam War. You can read all about it by searching Clay V. United States. But the idea came forward that he was uncomfortable with the war in Vietnam. His belief in the Qur’an did not allow for him to take part in the Vietnam War, as he was taught not to take part in wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. He’s also known for making a rather poignant quote, which for obvious reasons, if you know the quote, I am not comfortable repeating here, but you get the picture.
And in the case of A Hidden Life, Franz Jaggerstater, a father and farmer living in a paradise-like environment is drafted to fulfill his country-led duty for the war effort. He’s to swear allegiance to Hitler, don the emblem of the nazi, and go to war. And yet, he refuses.
He refuses based on moral belief, that his faith in God, and the pursuit of the Nazi-regime, are in contrast with one another. That to swear allegiance to one denies the other. As such, he stands his ground.
And from that point forward follows a patient film that, rather than depicting the horrid violence of the Nazi-regime with gruesome detail, decides to show the silent, cerebral damage endured by those amidst such horrid experiences. It goes without saying, but true evil is more than violence against the body, it’s a violent assault on ones mind and soul. To be approached with such travesty is nothing short of existentialism.
And I want to say right off the bat I love Malick’s very clear choice to skip over the gruesome detail of the Nazi’s. That’s not to say he’s ignoring it. Quite the contrary, he’s recognizing that there are plenty of other films that cover this, for better or for worse, and he’s far more focused on the dynamic at play between Franz, Fani, and those they encounter. And as far as that’s concerned, they don’t come in direct contact with the physical horror of the Nazi’s.
I simply appreciate that as someone who greatly dislikes exploitation in films, whether that be the outright exploitation of actors with the use of nudity, exploitation of human life in needless, senseless violence, or exploitation of horrific real-life events in the use of True Crime literature. Although it may not show much restraint for Malick to make this choise, as he may not typically go this direction in his films, it shows a cultural restraint not to give in to the exploitation of misery that is so often presented in modern-day entertainment.
I mean, I’m a podcaster, and you want to know what analytics say are the fastest growing style of podcast? True Crime. And while there may be a means in which we can enrich culture by looking to the horrific history of the now, I can’t help but wonder if it’s merely an act of exploitation to profit off the misery of real life people at the hand of sin-run-rampant.
But I digress. On another note, I must say that Franz and Fani’s experience amidst Franz’s conscientious objection reminds me greatly of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Apart from being my favorite book period, and therefore demanding a mention in the podcast at least once, A Hidden Life has a similar awareness to the human spirit.
By that, I mean to say, while A Hidden Life reveals the self-preservative nature of man, The Scarlet Letter shows a cultural revulsion toward the outward revelation of sin. Franz Jaggerstater’s village turns on him during his quiet protest in A Hidden Life, and in The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne’s home of Boston turns on her as her sin is revealed.
And while these are very different stories and very different complicating incidents, they both show the same thing: When push comes to shove, people typically go with the flow.
In A Hidden Life, Franz’s town fears that his objection could bring the war to their doorstep. Despite living in a virtually untouched land, only seldom hearing the buzzing of war planes, they’re filled with dread at the thought of the world war reaching their doorstep,
Meanwhile, in The Scarlet Letter, the early puritan town of Boston is so filled with disgust at Hester’s affair that they turn on her, even considering her child born of the devil. Nobody wants to interact with her at risk of catching her sin, as though her sins were a contagious like a virus.
And again, apart from bringing up The Scarlet Letter for no other reason than it’s my favorite book, why bother with the comparison? Because both stories are focused intently on the cerebral outcome and experience within the heart of each character amidst the drama that unfolds. Sure, there’s plenty of drama in both A Hidden Life and The Scarlet Letter, and sure, both Malick and Hawthorne are a little over-bearing in their craft, but they sure are some heavy thinkers, aren’t they?
But I bring up that sort of cultural shift, that willingness to go with the flow, and compare it to conscientious objection. When I think about the Christian walk and how it’s typical for the Christian to denounce certain kinds of media, products, or practices purely on the basis of religious belief. I think it’s common when talking about Christian’s denouncing anything we cast our minds back to mass record-burnings and the satanic panic of the 1980’s. In other words, the idea of a Christian restricting themselves from something as an outward act of legalism.
And I want to be clear, Christian’s choosing to avoid certain forms of content, products, or activities isn’t a bad thing. I would even go so far as to say that, inherently speaking, it isn’t bad to encourage one another to avoid certain things, either. If I believe something is unhealthy for the soul and encourage a brother not to follow in the same vain, that’s a loving thing to do.
Besides, it’s important for the Christian to discern whether something is healthy, rather than indulge in whatever they want whenever they want. Because, so often we find ourselves enamored with choice and opportunity that we often say to ourselves, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”
And while modern western Christian life isn’t in the middle of real, physical warfare, I do want to remind those listening we are amidst very real spiritual war between good and evil. The forces of heaven and the forces of hell are on the battlefield we call Earth. And we’re in the thick of it with temptations all around.
Some verses that speak to this reality are Ephesians 6:10-20 which elaborates on the Armor of God. I’ll read 10-12 for you here:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Or one can see further as the Apostle Paul shares in 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
Even though this is Scripture, and all Scripture is God-breathed, and therefore can be trusted, it can often sound fantastical in our modern western lifestyles to imagine anything spiritual is afoot. It feels as though we live in a less spiritual world and more technical world. We have a rational understanding of everything, we know how things work scientifically, and if there is anything spiritual happening, it’s either fake like those ghost hunting shows on television or happens in some third-world country.
Yet, that perception is far from the truth. Satan and his forces are very active, are constantly tempting us, and are influencing the world.
Ephesians 6:16 talks about using the shield of faith in all circumstances to extinguish the flaming darts from the evil one, and it’s often prescribed that these flaming darts are tempting thoughts that almost appear from nowhere. There are extremes such as wanting to punch your boss or wanting to cause a car accident, to subtle things like purchasing far too many snacks instead of those fruit so you can lose a few pounds.
Learning restraint is a healthy practice, especially when half the bad thoughts you get in your head can sometimes be from Satan’s forces. To know that a temptation to look at that website again or have another beer when you’ve reached your cap is nothing, but a flaming dart is encouraging. In God, you’re equipped to discard such a listless temptation. But it should also put into perspective how easy it is for us to give in, that a small, flaming dart can feed the flame of sin in our hearts.
Some encouragement to this fight with the enemy is to know our high priest in Christ also underwent such temptations, and compared to our flaming darts, he went face to face with the Devil himself in the desert. Alongside his fasting, our savior Jesus withstood some of the most tasteful temptations the Devil could procure and even then, Jesus resisted. Apart from the encouragement to know that the alluring temptation is not sin, as Jesus lived a sinless life despite being tempted, we should also know that as we live like Christ and don the armor of God, we too can supersede temptation.
And so, when we’re tempted to press “Show Sensitive Material” on Twitter to view that picture you know you shouldn’t see in the first place, raise the shield of faith. When you want to watch that YouTube compilation of people getting hurt doing the dumbest things only to feed your ego so you can say, “At least I’m not that stupid. I mean, look at that idiot?”, raise the shield of faith. When you want to make a business decision that is not only immoral but will negatively impact your coworkers only so you can increase your position in the company, raise the shield of faith. And when you want to shy away from your children because you had a long day and you’re tired, even though it’s clear your children need their parent nearby, raise the shield of faith.
Now, in all these things, you’re likely not to cause division. A Hidden Life shows our character Franz raising the shield of faith, ignoring the very real, and arguably practical decision to simply swear allegiance for the sole purpose of self-preservation. Words are words, after-all. They don’t have to mean anything, and in Franz’s case, if he simply swears allegiance to Hitler so that he can continue to live his life peaceably, then why not? He doesn’t have to mean it; he just has to say it.
And yet he doesn’t, and as he raises his shield of faith, in trusting that the Lord is the only one he can swear allegiance to, that the Lord is the only one who has any right to demand our allegiance, his faith is rewarded with… division. Strife. Stress. Abuse. Hatred.
That seems weird… doesn’t it? A little strange, but sometimes the things we do out of faith garner us nothing but trouble. Or so it feels.
And what does that look like today?
If the Christian stands their ground in the pro-life movement, they’re often called a misogynist, and if they’re a man who aligns with the pro-life movement, a common response is that a man has no right telling a women what to do with her body.
If the Christian believes in predestination, the act of which God chooses those he saves and those he doesn’t, you’re met with comments like, “So you think God simply picks people to send to hell? What a hateful belief. I can’t believe in a God like that.”
If the Christian believes that homosexuality is a distortion of God’s intended purpose for sex, then they’re often targeted as unloving, uncaring, and ultimately homophobic.
If the Christian believes that climate change is real, or that they should take better care of the Earth on the basis of the Creation Mandate presented in Genesis 1, they’re often considered to be grossly exaggerating an old covenant responsibility, believing in fake-science, or taunted with the question, “So, you believe in Man-Bear-Pig, too?”
And if we want to get really topical here:
If the Christian disagrees with the current president Donald Trump, for literally any reason what-so-ever, and is saddened to see him in office and cannot bear to imagine 4 more years with him, they’re easily considered a turn-coat. You can practically hear someone saying, “Oh, so you’d rather have a Muslim in office?”
Of course, a lot of what I’ve said, to a degree, is largely exaggerated, although I cannot be the only one who can relate to some of these experiences, even recalling real conversations with Christians who have said these things to my face.
Yet, none of these conscientious objections lead to the same experience Franz goes through, and would I never go so far as to espouse some sort of evangelical rhetoric that the Christian is persecuted in the western world (protip: it’s not). The Christian is not persecuted at all in the western world. At least, not by the world itself. We’re persecuted day in and day out by Satan’s forces, no doubt, but we have little worry where we’ll lay our head at night, when our next meal will be, whether we can step outside without being assaulted, whether or not our homes will be targeted for hate-crimes. We’re just not living in that fantasy, people. Don’t think you are.
But we are targeted by laziness, greed, sensuality, passivity, and going with the flow, because we already live such easy lives, why not makes sure it stays that way?
I’ve often had the experience – as many of you have, I’m sure – where a group of friends start talking about something you are uncomfortable with. Perhaps they start talking inappropriately about women, or contributing to some sort of hateful worldview that’s being spread by the news-anchor, or outright saying things that assault your heart, and rather than speak up, you nod your head or even toss in a validating sound of agreement. It’s so much easier to idly listen and let the conversation pass than to put a wrench in their conversation.
In fact, story time, this happened on New Years Eve. I was with some really great people, wonderful Christian brothers and sisters who I love very much and pray for as much as anyone else, and know that the Lord is working in their hearts. I was with these friends who, when we turned on the ball-drop, immediately responded to a woman’s make-up with negative comments. Then, when Post Malone was shown in his casual pink suit, face-tats abound, and leaning against a rail with a cup in his hand, someone went, “What a freak.”
I was seriously uncomfortable. I thought about the continued expectations for women, that if they want to look professional, they have to look beautiful, so they cover their face with make-up because they fear comments on their blemishes, facial structure, or all-in-all imperfections. The expectation that there’s a standard they must hit, and unless they have just the right make-up in just the right places, they’ll be ok. They’ll avoid the critique of both men and women alike.
Or how Posty’s up there just gettin’ paid to hangout now that his sets done. He wants to have a good time, and perhaps millions of people across the United States are mocking him, while the other million who love him are just having a blast seeing him wear a pink suit.
And worst of all? I hadn’t seen the woman yet, and when I sat down with a fresh plate filled with nachos and queso, despite the painful feeling my heart about this whole thing, I still went, “Oh, wow!” with surprise about her make-up.
I mean, that’s… I don’t know, guys. That made me feel ill. And that carried into the new year, thinking about how a group of 6-7 Christians sat in a room celebrating the new year by critiquing the physical appearance of a couple of people just doing their job, followed by saying absolutely nothing about the bizarre gambling that took place on screen afterward where the man who won the gamble said it was all because of a lucky rock he carries in his pocket.
So, what’s the right thing to do with all this?
It’s important to note that, in crucial moments like this, Jesus speaks into them. The risk of division is always real and apparent in the Christian life. It’s not a life that, in every facet, leads toward unification. Jesus even speaks to this in Matthew 10:34-39 which reads:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
This can be a very upsetting passage to read, whether you’re a Christian or a nonbeliever, its strange to hear Jesus, the one who came to die for the sins of his people, unite humanity once again with God, and return in the future with the coming kingdom, speak about division. And yet, there he is saying that he has not come to bring peace but a sword.
And yet, the reality of this passage is quite simple. As evidenced by Franz’s commitment to stand his ground, one cannot have allegiance to two figures. One cannot be in allegiance to Hitler while also being in allegiance to the one true God. This is a completely incompatible lifestyle.
And what Jesus is saying here is that even at the most intimate corners of the heart can there be no alternative allegiance. One cannot love their family more than Jesus. In doing so, they forsake Jesus. It’s that simple. And as Franz is struggling to choose between the self-preservative gift of swearing allegiance to Hitler, knowing that if he does so he can continue to be a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a caretaker to his land, he is at the forefront of having to choose between his family and his allegiance to Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, Lord of all, eternal king of Israel who died on the cross for Franz’ sins, is resurrected and praying for Franz at the right hand of God the Father, and will return soon to take Franz to the coming kingdom.
Franz must choose between immediate joy presented in keeping his life, keeping his family, and keeping his future, and the joy offered by Christ in the days yet to come.
You see, the sword that Jesus brings reveals the true allegiance of our heart. Swords are an act of war, a tool created for suffering, and sometimes, only in suffering, do we truly see the true allegiance of our heart. And while we may never experience such a gruesome, torturous, vile experience as Franz Jaggerstatter did in 1943, may we pray that the Lord reveals where our hearts lay.
Where was my allegiance that New Years night? I suppose it was with my friends, with my reputation. The fear that if I spoke up, I would sound like some sort of humorless sycophant. Or even worse, a hypocrite. I gave into my temptation, the yearning I felt to be included seemed more attractive than politely mentioning to my friends that these were two image-bearers deserving our respect. In doing so, I contributed to the unhealthy expectation that women should reach the beauty standards that society sets for them, and when they fail, they’ll be mocked. Or the idea that a man must wear only dull colors like brown, grey, and black, and carry himself like he’s always in a professional setting and any deviation from the norm is freakish and unworthy of respect.
And those may seem like lowly things, and in some respect, they are. They’re what can commonly be referred to as victimless crimes, and yet, there is a victim. I remember asking my wife on New Years Day, “You know, I paint my nails, and have a man-bun. What do you think they say about me?”
What do I do with that? Well, I take it to Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross and has paid for all my sins. The ones I’ve committed in the past, the ones I commit today, the ones I’ll commit tomorrow. They’ve all been paid for. Christ is far more powerful than all my sins combined, and man am I one heck of a sinner, and I can believe that his death on the cross is sufficient for my sins, and that he rules with the Father, and that he’ll return.
But what a wonderful God that he doesn’t stop there, that not only have my sins been taken by Christ, including the sins I commit when the allegiance of my heart flirts with something else, that none of us live a hidden life.
A constant line repeated to Franz Jaggerstater through-out the film is that nobody will even know what he’s done. Or, how what he’s doing won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t matter, just swear allegiance to Hitler and move on.
This reminds me of Job 2:9 where, after Satan has taken Job’s wealth, children, and now his health, Job’s wife says to him “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
This question of holding fasts ones integrity, and the mere opportunity to curse God and die, or in other words, to curse God and be done with this needless suffering, sounds very similar to the question spat in Franz’s Jaggerstatter’s face from the Nazi-elitists.
That is not to say Job’s wife is saying this in any way the same vein as a Nazi would. In fact, I think Job’s wife is often prescribed a poor perspective by most commentators. I have often understood that, as Job’s wife, she is simply suffering along with Job and wants his suffering to end just as much as anyone else would. Although, her solution proposed by cursing God so he can die is misguided.
I find Job’s plight, and the outward perspective of his needless integrity a fascinating juxtaposition to Job’s dialogue in Job 19:23-24 which reads:
“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!”
This is a call to have one’s story known forever that their plight, their integrity, would have value, that their faith in God would not be forgotten, discarded, meaningless.
And apart from the beautiful notion that Job’s request for his plight to be recorded forever is in fact recorded forever in Scripture, we can ultimately look to Hebrews 11, a brief chronology of the saints who persevered in faith, and know that the Lord will not leave us without reward. And in Hebrews 11:13-16 we read about those saints:
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Why do we swear our allegiance to Christ? Why do we persevere in the faith? Why do we wait on a hope we cannot see? Because our a hope is in the promise of what the Lord has offered through Jesus Christ, that our waiting on the Lord is not in vain, and that he has prepared us a city, a place where we belong, a place without sin, without sorrow, without tears. A place where our God is not ashamed in who we are or how we look or how we dress. A place he’s prepared for us, a place where we get to see our best friend who offers us eternal life, the opportunity to know him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ himself.
I can’t imagine swearing my allegiance to anything better.
Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of Cinematic Doctrine, if you’ve seen A Hidden Life, what did you think of it? Were you as engaged with its theming as I was, or did you find it far too long and far too slow? If you’re listening on Cinematic Doctrine’s website, let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Melvin Benson is the Founder, Editor-In-Chief, and Lead Host of Cinematic Doctrine. He’s written fiction and nonfiction for over a decade with short stories featured on the Creepypasta Wiki and Wattpad. His novelette Ethereal Temptation, a teen drama with a tinge of magical-realism, can be read for free here. His hope is to see King Jesus glorified as far as the east is from the west!