In their study of religion and film, religious film analysts have tended to privilege religion. Uniquely, this study treats the two disciplines as genuine equals, by regarding both liturgy and film as representational media. Steve Nolan argues that, in each case, subjects identify with a represented 'other' which joins them into a narrative where they become participants in an ideological 'reality'.
Finding many current approaches to religious film analysis lacking, Film, Lacan and the Subject of Religion explores the film theory other writers ignore, particularly that mix of psychoanalysis, Marxism and semiotics - often termed Screen theory - that attempts to understand how cinematic representation shapes spectator identity. Using translations and commentary on Lacan not originally available to Screen theorists, Nolan returns to Lacan's contribution to psychoanalytic film theory and offers a sustained application to religious practice, examining several 'priest films' and real-life case study to expose the way liturgical representation shapes religious identity. Film, Lacan and the Subject of Religion proposes an interpretive strategy by which religious film analysts can develop the kind of analysis that engages with and critiques both cultural and religious practice.