Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Overstreet

The Passion of the Christ

Recommended Posts

For me, a movie about the holocaust, where we know that the story is about millions dying closed away out of sight, is different than a movie where one person is slowly put through the shredder in broad daylight in front of a crowd of persecutors who not only watch but laugh maniacly; the second film would qualify for me as "more violent."

I mean, if you're measuring by number of deaths and things like that, well, Star Wars includes the destruction of an entire planet AND the destruction of the Death Star. Now THAT'S violent!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Insofar as more screen time is given to violent acts, and more attention given to make sure the violence is convincingly real...

Goodness, 75 percent of the film must be taken up with detailed images of violent physical abuse. The scourging scene is worse than the fire extinguisher scene in Irreversible, which I couldn't even watch. That scene used to be the standard by which I measured graphic violence in film. Both the amount of screen time and the level of graphic detail probably at the very least make Passion one of the 5 most graphically violent films out there. You may not think it is the most violent, but it is way up there.

But we have to put this violence in its context. There is only one way to watch this film: as a spiritual exercise. The film is an activity that has a long-standing tradition in Catholic spirituality. Sure the film has been marketed as something evangelistic in nature, but that is just marketing. The Church has produced some of the most graphic artwork in history, much of this in depicting the Passion or the martyrdom of saints.

It really is a different sort of violence. I have a hard time comparing it to something like Kill Bill. But it is violence nonetheless. Graphic, bloody, sadistic violence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I'm not in the "have seen" club yet, the talk surrounding reminds me of the violence depicted in Irreversible. There were only two major acts of violence, but the way they were portrayed made me more uncomfortable than Kill Bill or Schindler's. So the uproar over this must be in how Gibson portrays the acts. Heck, even Holy Grail was bloody, but not repulsive.

Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But we have to put this violence in its context. There is only one way to watch this film: as a spiritual exercise.

And thus, I seriously question the decision to produce this film and exhibit it in multiplexes. Sorta like building a monastery at the mall and saying, "Come on in, everybody! Bring the popcorn!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(M),

I agree with every syllable, with a caveat around the penultimate word. In context, I suppose you to be referring to the sadism of Christ's torturers, not the alleged sadism of the director; but there are those who would make the opposite case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll reply to that... but I've gotta run off to a meeting, so stay tuned.

First, real quick, what EXACTLY is the quote:

"You see, Mother? I make all thing new."

or

"See how I make all things new?"

or

WHAT?

I need to get this right before I post my review on my site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...they promptly turn off the sound and some guy gets up in front of the theater, says he's speechless about what he's just seen, and proceeds to go into a full-fledged gospel presentation.

So I'm the first to catch the irony here? I'm usually ambivalent about not living in the Bible Belt. Today I'm delighted.

I caught the second show at 1:50 (the first at 11:00am). Not sold out and never really did, though the ticket taker thought they were getting close. I saw a bike ministry jacket, quite a few ashen foreheads and a variety of interestingly mixed ethnic groupings that, due to the age of theose in the group and dress, signified independent charismatic church groups and or friends from same. Oh yes, and half a class from the local David Pressley School of Hair Design. OK.

Ran into my Rector and we sat together. Neither of us cried as much as we anticipated. Most notable was HALF AN HOUR of real commercials and trailers before the film at a multiplex famous for minimising such stuff. I think that Father Kelly barely made back downtown in time for 5:00pm prayer.

The music was at best a distraction and at times confusing as it jumped between erzats middle east sounding stuff and generic spiritual awe type choral worship music. This was notable for newspaper ads for the film piggybacking CD's available starting yesterday as a "keepsake". I'm not bothered by the commercial implications of this. I'm bothered by the bad music (what else is new) and my cynical eye wondering if sales of the CD will drop off after the film is actually seen by the public, if you know what I mean. I thought the "violence" ended up being rather tedious. I was numbed to quite a lot of it, to the point that the actual nailing to the cross was not the arresting experience I had anticipated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, real quick, what EXACTLY is the quote:

\"You see, Mother? I make all thing new.\"

or

\"See how I make all things new?\"

or

WHAT?

"See mother, I make all things new." The most arresting point in the film for me. I thought it was sarcastic. Almost comic relief, but also the MAN in The Son of Man talking one last time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't swear to accuracy, but in my notes I wrote:

"see mother I make all things new"

I didn't note punctuation, but I recall "mother" was not capitalized. And note, this was from the rough cut, not the final release.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guess I'll report the Bible Belt side of it. :wink:

Interesting. The theater I went to (I mentioned it earlier in this thread) was nearly (or completely) sold out. I sat down about a half hour before to get a good seat, and I was surrounded by several different types of people - teenagers, older adults, middle aged adults, some around my age, etc.

Mel Gibson is a blue-collared director. I say that because there is a general distinction between blue-collar and white-collar workers. We expect white-collar workers to be more gracious in their tone and tenor, using langauge to gracifully color up what they are trying to communicate. Blue-collared workers are viewed as coarse, who are usually straight and to the point. Mel's movie is a blue-collared film. I felt like I was literally body slammed during several scenes. There is no real moment of reflection until the end of the film, regardless of the several stops we get along the way.

Violent? Definitely. There seemed to be a purpose to it, but I did feel that there were times where I was beginning to get use to it. (Contrast to Man Bites Dog, where the violence is so blood-thirsty and insane that I couldn't finish the film.) The startling contrast to the two thieves on the cross - who seemed virtually unhurt by any pre-crucifixion torture - to Jesus was the biggest shock of the film. If the Roman soldiers are that blood-thirsty when beating Jesus, wouldn't they have gotten there before with other prisioners? Minor details with certain scenes (Shroud of Turin? Jesus invented the modern kitchen table?) aside, I would recommend this film. However, it would be with some reserve - there are some people who cannot tolerate things like this.

And surprise, no one tried to sell Jesus after the film. People respected each other as they left. Some stayed in their seats and reflected, and some simply left in silence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just have to say I'm somewhat surprised by the PA&F board's tendency toward cynicism and deconstructionism where The Passion is concerned.

Gotta say, it surprised me too. Even back in August, some of the general feelings were to the effect of 'Gibson? Great. Another Braveheart.' long before the advance screenings came out. More amicable grace has been generated toward absolutely insubstantial 'entertainment' films than this one--and yeah, I know it's 'trying to say something,' and as Chirstians many are likely to be more apt to scrutinize--but like I said to you, Jeffrey, it seems that many are so camped in one court or another that the simplicity of just seeing what was offered is obfuscated.

I stated before to Jeffrey:

There is a time to sow, and a time to reap.  And for many, this is but the first of seeds. I feel everyone, even me, even you, needs to ask the question:

What if this movie came out of the blue-no publicity, no pre-hype, none of the stigma attached as ‘Gibson’s Gospel’, none of the half year of controversy-just appeared as one of those indie films that you just happen to walk into one day because of the rain at some small art house theatre.

I think about that, and wonder if in all the preamble we’ve forgotten our first love-if in all the semantics and theological swordsmanship we’ve forgotten to sit like Mary at the feet of Christ and allow him to minister to us through this film, instead of doing all the things we need to do to ‘represent’ in the wake of this single piece of work that, all because a name has made it, has become a ‘crucial exercise in sensationalistic versus theological discernment’ instead of just another man’s view of the passion that he attributes his very soul to. LotR ministered to me. Fearless ministered to me. I expect this to minister to me as well--I don't expect the best movie ever made, or the worst, or have a checklist on the various minutiae inherent to an accurate portrayal of the Gospel or anything of the sort--I want the first experience of it to be simple.

My 5 year old son drew me a picture that he shared with classmates, proudly proclaiming ‘I drew this for my Daddy because he likes it when I draw.’

It’s a picture of Daddy killing a bad guy-I’m a Jedi in the picture, complete with a light saber, cutting down the enemy.

I drew this for my Daddy because he likes it when I draw.

Showed it to his classmates, proudly proclaiming.

Daddy beating the bad guy.

Sounds familiar to me.

“The Holy Spirit helped me in making this movie-He likes it when I do things for Him. Do you want to see it?  

See, it’s my Daddy, beating the bad guy.”

I didn't post any of my letter to Jeffrey publicly because of the fact that, because it's about THIS film, and so much cinematic theologic has been dodge-balled back and forth here about it, I didn't feel like having my reaction to the presuppositions parsed and rebutted with such aplomb. As objective as can I remain in the online medium, I enjoy being affected by the work before me, the thoughts and attitudes and opinions; I guard my heart, but I also remain open and as empathic as possible to the views expressed by intelligent people--and this goes for film and any other form of artistry, giving the benefit where I can. Yours is a vocation requiring objectivity and a certain relinquishing of preconception as you masterfully represent your findings to your audience--but I fear that because of this film being what it is, and the media hype bolstering it and badgering Mel and Mel's press people pushing back and churches and the Pope and the Catholics Protestants Diane Sawyer meaningful violence and It Is As It Was no it isn't 6,000 tickets in Texas millions presold ultimate witnessing tool take this tract altar call violence vomit anger uproar redemption hallelujah--

The simplicity of viewing the film has been all but choked off.

I'm not just talking here. I mean, like, everywhere.

But: I remember this is a Reviewer's Board. You're supposed to do this stuff. So I kept quiet. Iron sharpens iron, and since I don't carry the reviewer card, I felt a bit off the beam--if you're not discouraged by the cynicism, I shouldn't be.

Which helped. So I finally just said heck with it and wrote.

The whole violence thing got me off the fence. I mean, A Clockwork Orange was also a spiritual excursion in many ways, about the inherent penchant for violence in human behavior versus indoctrination of learned behavior, and rape and murder and insanity and language and blood--we're saying this is -worse-? On what scale can it be measured? How can it compare? Ralph Fiennes shooting the tops of skulls off in Schindler's List is forgiven because we expect it because it's the Holocaust--but we didn't expect this much ‘gratuitous’ violence from a depiction of the final, brutal hours of Christ's life, so this is worse. In Wild at Heart Nick Cage beats a head into the dance floor until nothing but wet smacking is heard, Willem DaFoe blows his head apart with a shotgun—this is worse, because it’s unremitting—the brains were only visible for a little bit. In Natural Born Killers we have two characters utterly devoid of redemptive value committing atrocious acts for over two hours—but it’s okay because that’s a satirical endeavor reflective of our society’s bloodlust for media hyped violence—it’s -about- violence, so it’s acceptable. But this is worse.

No. I totally disagree—we don’t have to agree with the liberties taken by Gibson, but I cannot understand why this piece is somehow more repulsive than any of the above other than the fact that it is the Son being murdered, and despite the best objectivity there exists a particularly virulent churning within the soul that cries out ‘This should not be’, and either rationale or emotion takes over to quash or feed the rising gorge.

I’m not saying It Is Sacrosanct. I am saying that there is a difference here, and that I agree: it cannot be adequately compared.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone died today during a screening:

HEART ATTACK DURING 'PASSION OF CHRIST'; WOMAN PRONOUNCED DEAD AFTER VIEWING FILM IN KANSAS  

Wed Feb 25 2004 16:09:33 ET

KAKE TV in Wichita, Kansas set to report a woman, in her 50s, suffered a heart attack during a morning screening of Mel Gibson's controversial film PASSION OF THE CHRIST.  

\"She later died at the hospital,\" a station source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.  

Scheduled to be lead story on the station's 5 PM news. \"She went into seizure during one of the film's most dramatic moments,\" a station source explains.  

The woman attended a 9:30am screening, first public viewing at Warren East Theaters in Wichita...  

Developing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The simplicity of viewing the film has been all but choked off.

Jason, this line really stood out in a post with some nice thoughts. I really appreciate this, and after seeing the film in the circus atmosphere of this morning and spending the last couple of weeks reading up on controversies and such (I had avoided it as long as I could), I kinda wish I could go in clean, in a normal theater, having heard little to nothing about it, and just experience the film. Then reflect and write and reflect and start to formulate a stray thought here and there.

Thanks for the thoughful post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jason and Jeanene,

I wholeheartedly sympathize with your point of view and understand what you are saying.

But let me try and explain...

Somehow, in spite of writing about movies more and more frequently, I have never lost that experience of seeing something like that 21-year-old who realized that he just loved loved loved watching movies.

When it starts, all of my speculation, reading, and pre-screening debates, not matter what the film, go away and I am focused... almost every time. When things "take me out" of the experience, I usually realize that it is because these things were "fumbled" artistically. An indulgent performance. Poor choice of music. Excessive scenes that make me think about the actors and their audacity instead of the characters.

I have been debating and speculating on this film since August 2002, and yet when I sat down and it started, it all disappeared from my mind. I was experiencing as if it had shown up out of the blue. I was not thinking about Gibson. I was drawn down, through that mysterious layer of fog beneath the full moon, into Gethsemane. And I was immediately enthralled. ENTHRALLED. The appearance of the Devil. The appearance of Judas before the Sanhedrin. The arrest. ENTHRALLED. I started transcribing dialogue as fast as I could because I wanted to remember how it was all coming together so beautifully. I remember writing down, when Judas kissed Jesus, "YES. The important moments of our lives are moments we remember as if in slow motion... Truamas." I was with it.

The first moment that I felt "jostled" loose from my enthrallment was in the appearance of... what is that?... a werewolf-demon roaring at Judas while he hides beneath the bridge? I thought, "Whoah! We're in a much more surrealistic sort of spiritual warfare than I thought." I adjusted my expectations a bit, preparing for more physical manifestations of spiritual realities. This was not a disappointment. It was actually excitement... something new! Something more expressionistic and less literal.

But the relentless beatings... so early on, in places where they do not happen in the Bible... began slowly to bring questions into my mind. Why ADD episodes of violence? Why invent new and cruel ways for the Savior to suffer?

The more the movie went on, the more I honestly was yanked out of my enthrallment and belief. The more often I was skeptical of choices. The more often I found myself saying, "Okay. Alright. I don't need to see the difference between THIS kind of whip and THAT kind of whip... I'd rather know a little bit more about his relationships with these people that are following him." It was the shot of the dead camel that really began to spoil my enthrallment. I have no problem with pictures of gross things, but he went so far out of his way to make sure we were BOTHERED by the image that I began to feel he did not trust me as a viewer. He was being too forceful.

And then the soundtrack, well, those who aren't very familiar with the soundtrack of Peter Gabriel's will not have the same response I did. But I was constantly surprised and dismayed by blatant robberies of music, over and over again. I had no way whatsoever of putting that out of my mind. The music is a big part of this movie... I could not just block it out.

Thus, I came out of the film weary and bewildered. I had to find my way back to affirming the things that I did admire about it. And I had to lift up the issues everyone is asking bout... anti-Semitism, etc... as though picking up filth I didn't want to deal with because it was such a non-issue for me.

I do not feel I have come at it cynically or "deconstructively." I am merely being honest about my encounter with the film, and how it makes me feel responsible to let people know that this is not a masterful work of art. Too long have I lived in churches where Christians believe that if they "like" it, or if it "moves" them, or (especially) if they AGREE with it, then it must be GREAT ART. That is not the case. So I am trying to treat the film in the way that my job requires me to treat it: as an art critic, and as a person who had an experience and is trying to give testimony to that.

I am glad the film exists. I am thrilled so many people are seeing it. I am only striving to contribute to the conversation that heightens our powers of discernment, even if it means being a somewhat dissonant note in a large and enthusiastic piece of music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Orange County Register had comments from 4 clergy (Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish and Moslem) on the film. I found the Islam perspecitve of interest

IMAM YASSIR FAZAGA

Jesus is not the possession of Christians only.

There are 1.4 billion Muslims that do believe in Jesus, peace be upon him. Maybe not in the exact same way as Christians, but he is a very important figure in Islam.

I thought that I would come to this movie and learn more about the values that he taught and the principles that he lived by.

I appreciated the suffering that he has done, but as an \"unchurched\" person or an outsider, I really do not think it has added any more knowledge to me about the character of Jesus, except his commitment to his beliefs.

I really do not get the point of why the violence was the focal point of the movie, but then I am coming from a non-Christian point of view.

I liked that they would show the suffering of Jesus ... and then Jesus would say: 'Love your enemies.' It was skillfully placed in the midst of the suffering, but I think that message was lost in the violence.

About anti-Semitism, I really appreciated the words of Pastor Smith, but I wonder if he was not there to remind the people, what kind of message will they take with them?

In principle, we appreciate that people of the caliber of Jesus are being paid attention.

and the Catholic priest was probably the most negative

FATHER JOSEPH FENTON

I saw a very tedious, slow-moving, graphic, violent motion picture.

Anyone who has examined the life of Jesus will have problems with it. The message of Jesus offering a new covenant based on love and compassion is missing.

What is emphasized is the sacrificial nature of Christ's life to the extent that it is played with extreme violence. Nobody under 15 should see that film. I would not take my mother to see it.

You have to already know the story to understand the film. It does not give you any context. You have no sympathy for Jesus if you don't know anything about him.

You have to come into this film with some perspective in your own life about who Jesus is. If you are of the bent that feels that graphic suffering makes you feel the terrible sinner that you are and Jesus is saving you, then this is going to be a very big plus in your favor when you see the movie.

I saw nothing that was anti-Semitic in a classic sense, but I think people should discuss the film, because I think it could lead some uninformed people to think that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Jeffrey, for your thoughtful response. I come to movies with a critical eye as well and I do appreciate some of your distractions. I, too, thought the special effects were spotty and distracting at times (is he going into spiritual warfare?...wait, no, he's sticking with gritty realism...but those yucky looking wounds are a little much...etc.). But, I was just really overwhelmed emotionally by the movie, much like I was with Breaking the Waves...the enormity of sacrifice and faith. For me, the relationship of Jesus and the Father ("Father, my heart is ready"...Wow) and Jesus and Mary were so stunning and meaningful to me, that I was able to forget the flaws (but then, I don't have to write a review).

I did think as I left the theater that there is no way I can imagine how a person unfamiliar with Jesus could resonate with some parts in the same way that I did. But the venomous response of the secular press is beyond me. Its as though they are wholly unwilling to give the film any credit...specific flaws notwithstanding.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the Catholic priest was probably the most negative
FATHER JOSEPH FENTON

I saw a very tedious, slow-moving, graphic, violent motion picture.

Anyone who has examined the life of Jesus will have problems with it. The message of Jesus offering a new covenant based on love and compassion is missing.

No wonder he's negative...the new covenant wasn't established "based on love and compassion," although those are commended. The new covenant was established based on the blood of Jesus--at least that's what He said.

No Alan! It's based on happy shiny love! The kind of stuff that makes you feel good! :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate your explanation Jeffrey--and I do understand where you're coming from as well. I agree, there were moments that I can truly understand why you felt the way you did, and yes, the soundtrack was distracting for me as well--

But despite it's flaws, I do find it great art. And here's why.

Again, I quote Shanley.

An actor who is truly heroic reveals the divine that passes through him, that aspect of himself that he does not own and cannot control. The control and the artistry of the heroic actor is in service to his soul. We live in an era of enormous cynicism. Do not be fooled. Don't act for money. You'll start to feel dead and bitter. Don't act for glory. You'll start to feel dead, fat and fearful

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, a surreal two-seconds-of-fame note. Someone I used to work with at the UBC student paper who now works at CTV called me up late this afternoon to ask if she could come by my apartment and interview me for a story that some Toronto reporter was doing on The Passion. So she came by and we talked on camera for about ten minutes, maybe more ... and when the report was finally broadcast, it produced this single quote from me: "The film focuses almost exclusively on the pain the violence the suffering, the pain the violence the suffering."

So you could say a quote from my criticism of the film for taking the death of Christ out of its context has, itself, been taken out of its context. smile.gif

Anyway, on to other things ...

Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: Gibson's film is not The Fifth Gospel -- it is a work of art by a human

: being. Thus, it is not sacrilegious to point out the work's weaknesses.

Heck, I don't think it's sacrilegious to point out weaknesses in the gospels, either. smile.gif

: Several prominent Jewish characters are shown having deep sympathy

: for Christ. In fact, Simon of Cyrene, one of the few supporting

: characters given any sort of personality or character, has an even more

: inspiring role here than the gospels describe. During the long march to

: Golgotha, he develops a wordless, intimate bond with the Savior that

: becomes one of the film’s most resonant and beautiful highlights.

Good description of the Simon of Cyrene subplot. I especially love that shot of Jesus' and Simon's arms crossing and linking as they hold the cross together. The problem here, though, is that all the positive Jewish characters are basically proto-Christians -- Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were secret followers of Jesus, and Simon of Cyrene is believed to have joined the church, too (as may be implied in Mark's passing reference to Simon's sons, one of whom, name of Rufus, may be the same Rufus that Paul greets in his letter to the Romans).

: The Pilate of the script by Gibson and co-writer Benedict Fitzgerald does

: not demonstrate the cruelty that history attributes to the figure. But

: Shopov gives us the Pilate of the Gospels, a man desperate to rid himself

: of any matters concerning the Jewish law and the brusque, manipulative

: religious leaders.

Just a note to the effect that Luke 13, at least, also alludes to the cruelty of Pilate that other historians and writers of that era allude to. And it is not clear to me that any of the gospels -- even John's -- actually cast Pilate in all THAT good a light. Consider the famous "What is truth?" line. It could be said cynically, as I suspect it was. Or it could be said the way this film's Pilate says it, which is to meditate on the question and talk sensitively to his wife about it. THAT sort of thing casts far too positive a light on Pilate, and alas, the more positive he looks, the more negative the Jewish leaders (and thus, by implication, the Jews) look.

: The rest of the characters are disappointingly flat. There's nothing

: memorable about Peter, who merely gapes, denies, and cowers.

Huh, I rather liked him. Must be the name.

: Mary Magdalene, presented as the woman caught in adultery (a tradition

: in Christian art, but not a detail of Scripture) . . .

Actually, I don't think it's even a detail of TRADITION. Mary Magdalene HAS been identified often with the prostitute or 'sinful woman' who wiped Jesus' feet with her hair in Luke's gospel, but the woman caught in adultery in John's gospel is an entirely different woman (a fact retained in the films by DeMille, Zeffirelli, and Young, who treat Mary and the adulterous woman as separate characters -- though Scorsese and others HAVE compressed all three biblical characters into a single woman for their own dramatic reasons, so Gibson is not the first to do this).

: One Christian critic suggested that those who avoid the film because of

: its violence share the cowardice of the disciples who fled the scene. That

: is a ridiculous claim. Avoiding the film may, for some, be the braver choice.

Oooo -- I know you don't name her, but do you at least provide a link? smile.gif

: It was the shot of the dead camel that really began to spoil my enthrallment.

I actually like that bit. And I agree with whoever it was who said that Judas's death was handled much more expeditiously and satisfyingly than Christ's.

Jason Bortz wrote:

: Red Dawn?

You mean, the first movie ever to be rated PG-13? Is it the most violent movie ever? Nah.

: More amicable grace has been generated toward absolutely insubstantial

: 'entertainment' films than this one . . .

Well, for one thing, they often aren't pretending to be something they're not.

: Ralph Fiennes shooting the tops of skulls off in Schindler's List is forgiven

: because we expect it because it's the Holocaust . . .

And because of the way Spielberg filmed it. To quote what I recently posted elsewhere:

The important thing about
Schindler
, BTW, is not just that Spielberg was more violent than normal, but that he shot the film in such an offhand, docu-realist fashion to emphasize the casualness of the violence. (I say this as one who hasn't seen the film in just over 10 years, BTW, so I'm running on memory here.) Whereas
The Passion
, like
Braveheart
, "celebrates" the violence through its use of slow-motion, etc. The scene in which Peter attacks Malchus in Gethsemane is EXACTLY like a certain scene in
Braveheart
where Mel, as per his commentary, tried to "milk" the suspense through slow-motion shots etc. before "whipping it up" by switching to a faster speed. So
The Passion of the Christ
is, in many ways, just a typical Mel Gibson film, in a way that
Schindler's List
was, in many ways, a very UNtypical film for Steven Spielberg.

BTW, Jason, who here has said anything about Wild at Heart or Natural Born Killers, let alone said The Passion is "worse" than those two films?

: But when it ended, I felt cleansed. I was reminded of the God Who loves me.

Wow. The second time I saw it, I just felt numbed, even bored. The film had almost nothing to say. And as far as God's love is concerned, I think the Globe and Mail critic has a point when he says that, within the typical Western Christian worldview, the only person responsible for Christ's death is ... not the Jews ... not the Romans ... not even us ... but God himself.

PJW wrote:

: The implements were there, and he did not suggest that Jesus was the

: first person (or last person) ever tortured. It was who he was that

: mattered.

At some point, someone has to ask if the torture scenes in Braveheart would have been so easy to excuse if they had been as violent as the torture scenes in The Passion. Because Gibson, by his own account, pretty much WANTED them to be that violent -- but the negative reaction of the test audiences forced him to pare the violence back and to rely more on suggestion than outright depiction. The question of "who he was" does not so much justify the violence as excuse it, methinks -- Gibson knows he can get away with indulging his passion for extreme blood and gore so long as he cloaks it in the garb of "religion" and not just "entertainment". But he's just really into that stuff no matter WHO it happens to.

: I just have to say I'm somewhat surprised by the PA&F board's tendency

: toward cynicism and deconstructionism where The Passion is concerned.

There is a difference between skepticism and cynicism.

DGibFen wrote:

: The startling contrast to the two thieves on the cross - who seemed

: virtually unhurt by any pre-crucifixion torture . . .

Good point!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New Film May Harm Gibson's Career

Mel Gibson's provocative new film, "The Passion of the Christ," is making some of Hollywood's most prominent executives uncomfortable in ways that may damage Mr. Gibson's career.

New York Times, February 26

Perhaps the most surprising paragraph: "Melisa Richter, a publicist who worked for one of the largest Christian movie production houses in the country, Cloud Ten Pictures, wrote in an e-mail message that the film 'feeds into the culture of anti-Semitism that is out there, repeating it again and again in a popular format (the film medium), lacking vital historical context and background.'" Never mind that "the country" that Cloud Ten is situated within is Canada, not the United States. But hey, if you folks want that studio, you can have it! smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is from one of the reviews on the Passion reveiws thread.

"And now, Mark Harris of the Georgia Straight:

There are some parts of the New Testament that are known to have been altered for political purposes. The most insidious of these misrepresentations is the systematic slander of Pharisaic Judaism by the Gospels' editors. Whitewashing the Roman role in Christ's judicial murder was the editors' second major priority."

How well known is this? Are there earlier manuscripts or something that show that the bible has been altered in this way? Sorry to stray off movie topics, but it was one of the reviews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(M),  

I agree with every syllable, with a caveat around the penultimate word. In context, I suppose you to be referring to the sadism of Christ's torturers, not the alleged sadism of the director; but there are those who would make the opposite case.

Phew. I was hoping you would at least somewhat agree, as I am more versed in a different tradition of Christian spirituality. I gotta tell you though SDG, this film has done more to force Protestants to actually look into "Catholic" forms of spirituality than anything else in the last decade. I have had more conversations with people about this facet of the film than about the alleged anti-semitisms or gospel inaccuracies. I have spent more time talking to people about the position of the stations in the film than anything else.

I had this crazy thought while I was at the screening that was entirely tounge-in-cheek, but almost caused me to laugh. I didn't, because that would have been totally blasphemous. But I looked around at all of these evangelicals and thought: This isn't a work of art designed to convert unbelievers. This is a work of art designed to swing evangelicals over to the Catholic Church!

Granted, that is all tounge-in-cheek. (The Matthew's House Project involves the whole spectrum of the Christian tradition in its labors.) But it just seems that the marketing for the film does not allow for us to see the film through Gibson's eyes. I don't think we can call Gibson a sadist any more than we can call Grunewald or Carravagio a sadist. I don't know if this is getting to the heart of your caveat or not SDG. I guess I am just trying to propose (as others have) that violence in the artistic depiction of the Passion is so unique that we can't quite make it part of the typical discussion of "violence in film." It exists in a different tradition. It has its own rules.

Now, Gibson may be pushing the limits on this "uniqueness," but he is still clearly within this very specific tradition.

JO, my review is done. We had some problems with a previous piece. We didn't recieve some copy we were planning on getting, so it has been tricky to sort everything out. They will post my review late tonight. And I think I will scratch together the preliminary piece as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...