The Passion of Christ (1 Viewer)

gray

Senior Member
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Apr 22, 2003
30,077
#1
Here's a review someone sent me by e-mail. I dunno when it's coming out in Australia, but I can't wait to see it.

THE PASSION OF CHRIST

A great deal of interest has been aroused in Mel Gibson’s new 25 million dollar production The Passion of Christ (Icon Productions). All sorts of stories have been circulated. It is anti-semitic. It will have Aramaic and Latin dialogue without subtitles. The theatres will not handle it. And so on. None of these rumours is true.

In early November, I was privileged to attend a private screening of The Passion (its original title) as a guest of the Bible Society and Icon Films. I thought it was a remarkable production. Here, from a secular film company, is the most stunning, moving, heart-rending presentation of the story of salvation that I have ever seen. It seems that like Cyrus, who unexpectedly appeared as the financier of the rebuilt temple in the days of Ezra, Mel Gibson has emerged from left field as a champion of the Cross.

The Passion tells the story of the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus. It is very graphic, extremely realistic and both stunning and shocking in its presentation. The sufferings of Christ are portrayed so realistically that it will probably have an MA rating. It is certainly not a film for children.

I only saw an unfinished cut, and there could, I suppose, be some modifications. But overall, I expect my reflections will apply to the finished product. Let me comment on some of the common questions people are asking.

Is the dialogue in Aramaic and Latin? Yes it is. And this gives the film a further touch of authenticity (especially if you can remember the odd Latin phrase from your school days!) But there are English sub-titles. It is easy to follow.

Is it anti-semitic? No. The hero is a Jew. The good guys are Jews. And so are some of the bad guys, along with the Romans, who appear particularly cruel. It is a film about humanity, not nationality.

Is it pro-Catholic? Given that Gibson is a dedicated Catholic, you might expect it to be, but it is not. Mary has a prominent role but so does she in Scripture. She adds a human, sensitive touch to the story.

Is it overly violent? Possibly. But it is also authentic. I don’t think I will ever be able to think of the sufferings of Jesus in the same way again. The scourging scene, for example, is almost too much to bear. I was sitting there thinking, ‘Surely they must stop doing this to him.’ But they go on, as they must have gone on two millennia ago, until the merciless thrashing runs its course. The crucifixion is also presented realistically and authentically. For example, at one point, Mary reaches up to kiss Jesus’ feet and when she steps back, she has blood on her face, as no doubt, she would have had at the time. No detail seems to have been spared.

Is the story true to Scripture? Allowing for the occasional film producer’s embellishment, fundamentally it is. And even the embellishments are not inconsistent with Scripture. In fact, in most cases, I thought they added to the impact of the story.

Is the gospel message clearly presented? Yes, it is. In the version I saw, the opening screen was simply a blank frame on which appeared these words from Isaiah 53, ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities and with his wounds we are healed.’ At other points during the movie, the idea of substitutionary death is made very clear (even Satan mentions it!).

Can The Passion be an effective evangelistic tool? Yes, very much so. I hope Christians all over the country will arrange to invite their friends and watch the movie with them, then sit down for coffee afterwards and discuss the issues raised. People will want to talk about it.

Finally, be warned, there were plenty of tears shed by the group who saw the film with me—who were nearly all men, by the way. So take your tissue box. When the film concluded we all simply sat in silence. No one spoke. No one moved. It seemed as though we were on holy ground.

I don’t know how you could see The Passion without being moved to the core. If this film doesn’t touch your heart, I don’t know what will.

Find out more at http://www.passion-movie.com
 
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gray

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,077
#3
I don't think it has. On one link at passion-movie.com is this page:

Making a film is one thing. "Distribution", getting it into theaters, is another. There is no doubt that PASSION will be carried in some movie theaters. However, those theaters may be few and far between and it may be a 60+ minute drive just to get to the "art movie theater" to see it. This is where 'distribution' is key. The good news is that Mel Gibson has allied with Newmarket Film Group to aid distributing the film in the US (read press release here), but they still need our help. What we need to do next is two-fold. First, we need to continue to let people know about the film, and there are many ways to do so here. Second, now that the film has a distributor, the movie theaters need to be convinced to show the film. When a theater decides to carry a film it is an expensive and risky business for them, and they will only carry a film they think people will go to see!

http://www.passion-movie.com/english/support.html

Sign up and say that u want to see it in your area :D:thumb:
 

Dragon

Senior Member
Apr 24, 2003
27,407
#4
Ohh if not I'll rent the DVD, haha :)

I'll sign up though it sounds like a good historic movie thats entertaining, realistic and you can learn from it. Not like those movies they show at school so you can learn more, or in Holy Week
 
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gray

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,077
#6
Actually dude, if it doesn't get a distributor, it almost certainly won't come out on DVD...(I think, I may well be wrong)

I'm glad that a secular company can make such a moving depiction of the story, because most of the movies that I've seen made by Christians are pretty terrible... :down:
 
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gray

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,077
#12
"If you've heard the conventional wisdom about this movie, due out during Lent next year, you should listen to my firsthand account of it. I really didn't want to give you all the details of the movie, but I did want to tell you its affect on us. My stepdaughter cried for the last 30% of the movie, for example. It's that powerful. Some people are probably put off because they think this movie is religious. They shouldn't be, because it's not. There is nothing offensive about this film. It's a movie about a religious figure, but the movie itself isn't religious. I'm not making a fine point here, as you'll understand after you see it. There is violence, of course, and that's factually accurate.

This movie does not preach; it doesn't try to convince you one-way or the other who or what Jesus was. It is very intimate. It doesn't matter if you're religious or atheistic or a snake handler. This movie will hit you in the gut. It has themes about man's inhumanity to man. It's also about one man standing by what he believes to be true - no matter the cost - and enduring."
(Rush Limbaugh Show, Jul 28, 2003)
 

Dragon

Senior Member
Apr 24, 2003
27,407
#13
I saw the trailer and:

- I think its so weird to see Jesus with a face like as a human being, if you know what I mean.

- I like it thats in the language that actually happened because it makes the film look waay more realistic. I've always wondered why films made in ie Russia are in english when they should be in russian you know? its like how come all the russians can speak english? lol
 
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gray

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,077
#14
I'm glad it's in Aramaic and Latin, because it definitely adds to the authenticity of the film.

If you're talking about K-19: The Widowmaker, I know exactly what u mean. It was so stupid to see a British and an American actor putting on Russian English accents :LOL:

They do this in a lot of movies... sometimes in some martial arts films i've seen, the movie is set in Japan, but the people speak Mandarin, even though the actors are from Hong Kong, where they speak Cantonese. Very confusing :confused:
 

Dragon

Senior Member
Apr 24, 2003
27,407
#15
I was actually talking about James Bond movies. When I see any of those I wonder why they all speak english instead of the language from where they are.

Also, in XXX the whole movie is in Czech Republic and all the actors talk in english but without the english accent, its like instead of doing the movie in english do it in czech!!
 

Respaul

Senior Member
Jul 14, 2002
4,734
#17
From the new york post ::

November 17, 2003 -- The Post recently obtained a copy of Mel Gibson's controversial, still-unreleased biblical epic, "The Passion of Christ."
Although it has been seen by relatively few people, the film - slated for release on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004 - has revived fears of renewed Judeo-Christian discord after years of hard-won harmony.

"The Passion" has been denounced by some Jewish leaders as anti-Semitic and likely to incite violence. They claim it portrays the Jewish people as culpable for Christ's death - contrary to Vatican II's declaration that "what happened in [Christ's] Passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."

The film has been lauded by most conservative Catholics as a powerful and biblically accurate depiction of the last 12 hours of Christ's life. And they contend that most of those who condemn it haven't even seen it.

Gibson, an ultraconservative Catholic who rejects the reforms of Vatican II, insists he made the film "to inspire, not offend."

To find out how viewers of wide-ranging backgrounds would react to the film, The Post held a private screening for a small panel: a rabbi, a priest, a professor of early Christianity, and a Post reader - a Baptist - picked at random.

Here's what they had to say about the rough-cut version of the film that we screened - with temporary English subtitles, no credits and further editing changes likely.


Five diverse viewers react to Post preview

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

November 17, 2003 -- Robert Levine
Senior rabbi, Congregation Rodeph Sholom; vice president, New York Board of Rabbis
One-word review: "Appalling"
Portrayal of Jews: "Painful"
Recommendation: "I hope no one goes to see it."
Message to Gibson: "If he was trying to help people understand Christ's Passion, his movie doesn't succeed - there's too much violence and no real examination of the meaning of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection."


RABBI Robert Levine "would have walked out halfway through" Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" if he hadn't agreed to be part of The Post's screening panel.

"I was not prepared for this kind of movie," he said. "Not knowing what Mel Gibson's motives are, my visceral reaction was that this is a hateful treatment of Jews."

"It hurt me as a Jew to watch it," he said. "It was the most appalling depiction of Jews in a film in my recollection. It was painful and inaccurate."

If [Gibson] was trying to help people understand Christ's passion, his movie doesn't succeed - there's too much violence and no real examination of the meaning of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection."



He noted that the movie "consistently depicted the Romans as rational and groping for justice," while it "consistently portrayed Jews as cruel, sadistic and inattentive to matters of justice and common decency."

"I found it had no understanding of 1st century Palestine and how the Jewish community was fighting for its life against Roman oppression," Levine said.

He claimed the movie "undermines the 1965 Vatican II declaration that Jews are not responsible for the death of Christ."

"I don't think any person of faith should put a dime in Gibson's coffers," he said. "This film could reopen wounds that have healed beautifully between Christians and Jews since Vatican II."

He added, "I hope believing Christians will have the same reaction."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

November 17, 2003 -- Lou Lumenick
New York Post film Critic
One word review: "Incomplete"
Portrayal of Jews: "Deeply troubling that they're being portrayed as bloodthirsty zealots. Could fuel anti-Semitic feelings."
Recommendation: "I can't say whether I recommend the movie until it's finished."
Message to Gibson: "Add more explanation and historical context."

MEL GIBSON obviously still has a lot of tinkering to do on "The Passion of Christ," but there are some promising - and troubling - elements in the early version that I previewed.

With all due respect to Gibson's claims in interviews that this movie was directed by the Holy Spirit acting through Gibson, this is clearly the work of the Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart" - as is quickly evident in the early battle scene where Roman soldiers capture Jesus.

Even a grainy, second-generation videotape hints at a visual splendor not seen in this type of movie since the heyday of Hollywood's biblical epics.

Gibson also seems to have made an inspired choice in his Jesus, the magnetic Jim Caviezel.

That said, it seems highly unlikely this $30 million production will appeal to a mass audience Gibson says he is seeking - in anything like its present form.



The dialogue is in Aramaic with English subtitles, which won't be particularly easy to follow for viewers.

He should cut back on the endless close-ups of the bleeding Jesus, which will make this unwatchable for many audience members.

And then there is the movie's deeply troubling depiction of the Jewish authorities as bloodthirsty zealots.

While Gibson takes pains to spread the blame by depicting the Roman soldiers who whip Jesus as sadistic (in a scene that goes on far too long), by literally depicting Jews as "Christ killers," he is going down a dangerous road that most Christian leaders abandoned decades ago. Unless Gibson provides some sort of historical context, he could well - as his detractors charge - be fueling anti-Semitic feelings among less sophisticated Christian audience members.

Gibson would be well advised to take a chapter from "The Book of John," another scrupulously faithful New Testament film adaptation that's currently playing the Bible Belt.

This movie covers the same events as "Passion," but opens by carefully explaining that the Gospels are believed to have been written a couple of generations after Christ - during a period when there was enormous conflict between Christians and Jews.

"The Book of John" has been playing for a couple of months without generating any controversy, and I have a feeling that's what's going to happen with "The Passion of Christ" when it finally opens in February.

The whole thing is very reminiscent of the enormous uproar that proceeded Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" (which suggested Jesus was tempted from celibacy) some 15 years ago. That film failed to find an audience and quietly disappeared - a fate I suspect that's likely to be shared by "The Passion of Christ."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

November 17, 2003 -- Joan Wilson
Post reader
Production manager; director of volunteer gardeners, Carl Schurz Park
One-word review: "Riveting"
Portrayal of Jews: "Fair - I think every group [depicted] had good people and evil people."
Recommendation: "It's a must-see movie."
Message to Gibson: "You need to tighten it up by cutting 10 to 15 minutes of violence. We got the message."



'THE Passion of Christ" had "an incredible impact" on Joan Wilson.

"It's the first movie I've seen that took me back to that period and made me realize how brutal it was, and how important it was for Jesus to die," she said.

"I always knew his was a painful death, but I didn't understand how human he was or realize he suffered that much," she said.

She feels the film's portrayal of Jews is fair. "The Romans of that era were throwing people to lions," she noted.

The Jewish high priest "was doing what he believed he had to do to protect his faith" when he implored Pontius Pilate to execute Jesus, she said.

"A Catholic or a Protestant would have defended his religion, too," Wilson added.



She thinks other Jews were shown as "compassionate," including the man forced to help Jesus carry his cross.

Wilson feels the movie's message is "how insidious evil is . . . and how there's an ongoing battle between good and evil for our souls."

"It made me understand the betrayals - how Peter, who was so incredibly devoted to Jesus, could deny knowing him," she went on.

"The film made me think more deeply about the importance of my soul and what an incredible sacrifice was made for it."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


November 17, 2003 -- Elizabeth Castelli
Professor of religion, Barnard College; senior research scholar, NYU Center for Religion and Media
One-word review: "Violent"
Portrayal of Jews: "Unfair" - they're based on "medieval stereotypes . . . that have a history of inspiring violence against Jews."
Recommendation: "No - nor would I recommend censoring it."
Message to Gibson: "He had an opportunity to reflect on the long history of the theology of suffering, and he missed that opportunity by producing just a picture of brutality."

PROFESSOR Elizabeth Castelli found the violence "disturbing" and the story of Christ's Passion "distorted" in Mel Gibson's account of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.

"The violence went on and on," said Castelli.

As a student of Gospel traditions, she was "distressed about what was added . . . Gibson took bits and pieces from different Gospels, blended them and added narratives to flesh out the story."

"The film mixes legend with the Gospels" and "distorts" the story of the Passion, she said.

"Jews are not fairly portrayed, especially the Jewish leadership. Their portrayal is unhistorical and drew upon Medieval stereotypes - stereotypes that have a history of inspiring violence against Jews.



"I hope those images won't inspire it today," she said.

"Years and years of important work has been done between Jews and Christians on understanding the effect of the Passion's narrative on their relationship, and this film ignores that work," said Castelli.

She also was troubled by the martial music played during the Resurrection scene, for "evoking the image of the resurrected Christ as a warrior."

"That may be consistent with Mel Gibson's traditionalist Catholic theology, but it is not mainstream Catholic theology," said Castelli.

================================================

November 17, 2003 -- Mark Hallinan
Priest, St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church Staff, New York Province of the Society of Jesus
One-word review: "Unhelpful"
Portrayal of Jews: "Very bad ... I don't think the intent was anti-Semitic, but Jews are unfairly portrayed."
Recommendation: "Don't go to see it."
Message to Gibson: "I'm disappointed that he didn't use the resources he had to do a balanced portrayal of the life and death of Jesus."


MEL GIBSON'S biblical epic "exaggerates the bloodiness of Christ's death, but doesn't tell you why he died," the Rev. Mark Hallinan said.

"It doesn't touch on the values that he represented and that continue to be a positive force in the world today."

Hallinan was especially disturbed at the film's portrayal of Jews "as a bloodthirsty rabble," and at how they were "so sharply contrasted to the Romans, who consistently came off as thoughtful and reflective, particularly Pontius Pilate."

He recalled one sequence at Golgotha, during the crucifixion, that "shows the Jewish high priest looking with contempt at Jesus and a Roman soldier looking at [the priest] and wondering, 'How could you do this?' "



Hallinan added, "Unsophisticated people viewing the film will see Jews as cold, heartless people."

Gibson "interspersed inane scenes" into the film - including a "nonsensical flashback" in which Jesus is shown building a table, and eerie recurring appearances by "an odd David Bowie-like figure," Hallinan said.

"If he could have those scenes, why not flash back to give the viewer a better sense of what Jesus was about?" he asked.

Hallinan also questioned the depiction, during the crucifixion, of Gestas, the bad thief, having his eyes plucked out by a crow after he questions Christ's divinity.

"It's contrary to the Gospels," said Hallinan, adding, "Jesus taught us not to persecute our enemies."
 
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gray

Senior Member
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Apr 22, 2003
30,077
#18
++ [ originally posted by GOAT ] ++
Graham in religious thread shocker :eek:
:D
++ [ originally posted by Alex ] ++
Goat, if you don't have anything positive to say, what's the point of constantly talking down these threads?
I'll quote it again. From a secular talk show host:

"Some people are probably put off because they think this movie is religious. They shouldn't be, because it's not. There is nothing offensive about this film. It's a movie about a religious figure, but the movie itself isn't religious. I'm not making a fine point here, as you'll understand after you see it. There is violence, of course, and that's factually accurate.

This movie does not preach; it doesn't try to convince you one-way or the other who or what Jesus was. It is very intimate. It doesn't matter if you're religious or atheistic or a snake handler. This movie will hit you in the gut. It has themes about man's inhumanity to man. It's also about one man standing by what he believes to be true - no matter the cost - and enduring."
(Rush Limbaugh Show, Jul 28, 2003)
 

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