Leaf by Niggle by Northwest

9:00 AM, Sunday 11 Aug 2019 (1 hour)

Leaf by Niggle by Northwest

JRR Tolkien once said in a letter to a Jesuit friend that “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” Even so, he did not include anything that he thought could be construed as “religious practice” in the book. Alfred Hitchcock, on the other hand, once admitted in a series of interviews with the French film director François Truffaut, “I don’t think I can be labeled a Catholic artist, but it may be that one’s early upbringing influences a man’s life and guides his instinct.”

Does the idea of “implicit theology”, that is the insight that “practices shape belief and religious beliefs also shape practice” (Martin Percy), help us to understand the work of these two English Roman Catholic contemporaries? Is it possible to call them both “Catholic artists”, and to identify any similarities in the implicit theologies of the author and film-maker? Can there be anything in common between Leaf By Niggle or North By Northwest?

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