Cinema Divina and Autotheory: An Interview with Marilyn Freeman

Marilyn Freeman, Cat Auburn*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This is an interview with moving image artist, writer, and contemplative practitioner, Marilyn (M) Freeman by artist, Cat Auburn. They explore Freeman’s contemplative filmmaking practice, ‘Cinema Divina’ and the relationship of Freeman’s life, artistic practice and research interests to autotheory. Autotheory is widely held to be the coalescence of autobiography with theory (or philosophy) within a work of art or literature, often with an aim towards offering social or cultural narration and service. The impulse to collaborate on this interview came from Auburn’s encounter with Cinema Divina during an online group contemplative session facilitated by Freeman in February 2022. This interview covers Freeman’s development of Cinema Divina, such topics as Freeman’s theory of Vertical Dissonance, the risks of working autotheoretically, mysticism, interior life, the hierarchies of knowledge production and the potential for what Freeman calls ‘the illuminated space’ to create radical opportunities for personal transformation. Ultimately, this interview establishes that Cinema Divina can be seen as an autotheoretical practice that uses contemplative practices rooted in lectio divina, a meditative prayer ritual of early Benedictine monastics, to theorize through Freeman’s embodied, lived experiences and artistic outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


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