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In this article, I bring Terrence Malick’s 2019 film, A Hidden Life, into conversation with two of philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s concepts: (1) the “social imaginary” as the interplay of ideals, images, ideologies and utopias, and (2) Ricoeur’s description of the genre of “parable” as a narrative-metaphor which provokes a “re-orientation by disorientation” within an audience’s imagination. Drawing from Ricoeur’s thought, I apply a theological film criticism I call “theocinematics” to A Hidden Life in order to call attention to the ways in which the cinematic form itself engenders sociopolitical and theological thought. Through emphasizing film aesthetics in my analysis, I am ultimately suggesting that A Hidden Life as a cinematic parable has the potential power to affect and inform our social imaginaries for the good.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.