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Mel Gibson's The Passion
Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-02-20 21:03:21


It will be interesting to see this version compared to the sanitized versions of the 60's like King of Kings ( I was a teenage Jesus ) & The Greatest Story Ever Told ( Look there's Pat Boone, Look there's Sidney Poiter, Look there's Sal Mineo etc)

I think Mel needs to give his dad shock therapy for some of the inanities & moronic statements that have emanted from his mouth.

re: Mel Gibson's The Passion
Posted by ErikJ972 2004-02-21 10:16:58


Watching Gibson talk about this film on Primtime made me loose any desire I may have had to see it in the first place. In a way, I do feel sorry for the man that the press is really pressing for a reaction from him about his father's comments. But part of it makes me wonder how far the apple falls from the tree. My biggest probelm with the film is that it just focuses on the last 12 hours of Jesus' life and no historical background is provided. To me the interesting story is what led up to the crucifixition, not the crucifixition itself.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-21 11:03:46


Amen, Erik. Literally. The whole story of Jesus is always worth revisiting, because this man was a true radical, in every sense of the word. But context is everything. To appreciate the danger he placed himself in, taking on the Roman hierarchy (and going against much of his own religious upbringing), you need to see the impact of his preaching and teaching, incrementally. The Passion really is about the eleventh hour political machinery that manipulated a hasty execution, not the man Himself.

But what's also odd is wild-eyed Mel's obsession with the violence done to Jesus. Ask any born-again person: Jesus himself asked the world to remember his ressurection, not his death. Mel seems to have made the opposite, a movie that frankly suggests a kind of pandering to the video game bloodthirst in the world. What's the life of Jesus about, if not TRANSCENDING such violence? There's not much in his teachings that suggest He'd be pleased with close-ups of nails going through his palms. His "special effects" aimed a little higher than that, didn't they?

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 11:41:06


i think that this movie is really an expression of mel's faith. i think that he believes that the jewish hierarchy at the time was responsible for the death of jesus. i also don't think that necessarily makes him anti-semitic bacuse i don't think that he carries that blame on to modern jews. i'm kinda sensitive to this issue having been raised in the same kind of conservative catholicism that mel practices. it's a fine line that must be walked.

what he's said is that he wants people to understand and remember the sacrifice that jesus made for all mankind (humanity, sorry, n.o.w.). in order to tell the story of jesus' life, you'd need hours and hours and incredible amounts of his life would have to be cut out in order to make a movie that would be theatrically viable. by choosing the last 24 hours, mel's able to distill the pure essence of the amazing sacrifice made by jesus. in catholicism, that's why jesus was made man. to die. to die for our sins and to open the gates of heaven to mankind.

this is purely opinion now and must be taken as such. to me, i see a man from his statements who is raging against a worl din which he sees no sense of responsibility and no appreciation of the scarifices that have been made throughout history by great men and women for the benefit of others. this story is one he knows and believes in deeply. i too believe in it deeply. whether it's anti-semitic or not? it's a subjective decision made by each person who sees the film and the lens through which they view it. i haven't seen it yet, so i cannot say.

i look forward to seeing it, though. even if i have probably done more harm than good with my incoherence in this post.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-21 11:48:15


We're all into speculation, but I still say, The Passion is the easy part. It's actually lazy to focus on it. Ask any writer -- landing on the violence is quick-fix melodrama, the black and white issues that procude visceral responses. What about the grays? The story of Jesus is full of grays. Yes, people leave screenings "shaken" -- but isn't it easy to use the filmmaker's bag of tricks get people to shake, showing blood and viscera in the dirt? I think it would take a complex, shaded -- dare I say artistic? -- vision of the life of Jesus to make a film that teaches us more about Him and HIS vision other than Crucifixion Hurts.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 11:52:33


i wouldn't worry, auggie. if passion sells throught the roof, you'll see a boatload of biblical themed films to follow. i can already see the story fo mary and joseph as being a hot commodity for the holidays. and i imagine that you'll get plenty of "artistic" movies about the life of jesus. i see nothing wrong with mel chosing this though. it's a historically relevant story that's been passed down through the ages and has never really had a truly graphic film adaptation.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-02-21 12:07:26


I wonder if Mel saw Dereck Jarman's SEBASTIANE.

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Posted by LadyGuenevere 2004-02-21 12:16:57


I'm all up for seeing it (although I might lose it- since I dislike excessively gory movies...and I heard it does get graphic), and I hate that 'anti-semitic' crap. There are movies that are 'anti-white/black/Chinese/Muslim' etc. and I don't see everyone raising hell over those.

And if they took it from the Bible as I heard, throw the 'anti-semitic' rah rah people a Bible and tell them to read it, watch the movie, and compare it. (I hope that it is the same, though! I've read the Bible's interpret., so I'm interested)

And as for Mel's obsession with violence, my guess is that he wants us to see for REAL, the cruelty that our Savior (at least for Christians/Catholics) faced just to save us.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-02-21 12:21:35


I'm wondering how Mel Gibson handles the gay elements of Christ's Passion. Matthew's Gospel has that naked man in the Garden of Gethsemane. What in Heaven's name was going on behind the bushes when Jesus and his disciples were praying there? And why does Matthew make such an obvious point about it? Why, oh why, does John (the Evangelist) constantly refer to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved"?

Please folks, I'm not implying that anything improper was going on here. It's just that to a gay mentality, these references have a different meaning to our straight counterparts.

How will Mel handle them in his film?

And considering how much criticism of this film that I've already read, I can assume that much of the story of Christ's life is told in flashback as the film progresses--even His infancy.

Let me jusst say that the Jews weren't responsible for the death of Christ. It was a Roman governor who pronounced the sentence. However, Mel's arm makes a cameo appearance in the film. It is Mel who is wielding the hammer which nails Christ to the cross. Folks WE are the ones who are reesponsible for the Passion and Death of Jesus. He died for our sins and that includes the sins of every religious and ethnic group.

Regardless of our religious beliefs, perhaps we should all take advantage of the Lent to think about our sinful natures and to do a little research about the beliefs of other denominations so that we can have a better understanding of what spirituality is like in today's world.

As Auntie Mame said: "Knowledge is power!" Let's grow in our knowledge of other religions this Lent.

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Posted by magruder 2004-02-21 12:30:22


Lady Guenevere, there is a difference between a film that features racial stereotypes and slurs and a film that refuels the Catholic Church's 2,000 year history of anti-Semitism, particularly at a time when world anti-Semitism is at a new high.

As for Gibson and his father, the younger is simply a more reserved version of the elder. Consider Mel's father's dismissal of the Holocaust as "fiction," with Mel's demure "millions of people died in World War II and some of them were Jews in concentration camps."

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Posted by LadyGuenevere 2004-02-21 12:33:22


As I said, if it was interpreted exactly from the Bible, it would be perfect to have those people that believe that it is all anti-semitism to read it. And everyone knows that we cannot take the Bible so literally in real life.

So...I hope that will controversy will hopefully die down a bit with the release.

I'm so curious to see how much it's going to make in the first week.

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Posted by Borstalboy 2004-02-21 12:56:20


Darlings, I don't care whether it's Kabbalah, Scientology, or an obscure offshoot of Catholicism, celebrities need to keep their religious whing-dings to themselves. You aren't theological thinkers, your real religion is your career, so just sing, dance, put on your little suit and entertain us, goddammit!!!!!

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Posted by magruder 2004-02-21 12:56:51


Oh sure. When you consider the atrocities that have been committed in honor of the New Testament over two millenia, a
Mel Gibson movie is a mere trifle.

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Posted by LadyGuenevere 2004-02-21 12:57:32


BB, sorry, but that statement just seemed SO wrong.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 13:35:34


so i take it from your statement borstalboy that no movies should ever be made about religious subjects? why stop at movies? heck let's include books, articles, songs, plays, etc. are there any other topics that you'd like to ban, mein fuhrer?

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Posted by newyorkuniq 2004-02-21 13:56:14


I say why so much controversy over a movie no one has even seen yet. Let's all see it, then talk.

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Posted by Borstalboy 2004-02-21 14:02:21


Jesus H. Christ! (oops!) All's I'm sayin' is that I just don't think Mel Gibson is one of the great theological thinkers of our time, kay? AND I think he is--like many celebrities--hyper-concerned about his image and career. It is my belief that he was out to make money and (more importantly)self-aggrandize himself. Of course I don't think religion should be BANNED from popular entertainment, liebchen, (I love the religious works of Bergman, Fellini, Pasolini, et al.) but when someone like Madonna or Mel Gibson is on (and on and on)about their respective beliefs, I get a little queasy. If Madonna had a cosmic choice between another huge album hit like the days of yore and Kabbalism, I think we all know what choice she would make.
Expose your boob at the Super Bowl or nail an actor to a cross, it's going to get them talking about you, you, you.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 14:24:42


uh huh, deep as a puddle on the sidewalk.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-21 14:43:01


I am riveted to your posts on this Borstalboy. I think you have nailed (pardon the word) Mel's queasiness-inducing MO. He made world-weary, cynical shoot-em-ups for years, and then,like the Steve Martin character in "Grand Canyon" (remember that?), opted to Help the World after a personal epiphany that he was a f--k up. Now, suddenly, he has God On His Side, and all is right with the world--unless you disagree with his take on history. Not religion--history, for that is where the controversy lies. He was just so self-righteous with Sawyer, sneering at anyone who'd doubt that his 35 million dollar Mea Culpa erases all thought of his being a chain-smoking, gun-toting (and firing) bad boy all those years.

I'm personally put off by people who shove their conversions under our (ticket-buying) noses, and profess to know The Truth more than anyone else. And I'm sorry, telling Diane that he knows the Holy Spirit had a hand in his film is beyond presumptuous. Belleview is full of people who feel that kind of "influence." (Check out a few of the characters in "Assassins," while we're looking for Divine whisperings in the ears of movers and shakers.)

I stand with Max Von Sydow in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, when he says to Barbara Hersey, "...If Jesus came back, and saw everything being done in His name, he'd never stop throwing up."

And as I wrote to a dear friend on this board, I personally prefer to find God in the works of Anne Tyler. I don't think the bloodiest R-rated depiction of His son's death is necessarily the best advertisement for His Love.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 14:56:39


well, it's kind of a catch-22. the more attention mel gets for the movie, the more people will see it, thus the more people he will expose to his vision and the more people will bear witness to his telling fo the tale of the passion of christ. conversely, the more attention mel gets for the movie the more people will see it, thus he'll make more money.

is it all about the money or is it about the faith? or is it a little bit about both?

for his part, gibson's faith, while as imperfect as anyone's, has been a subject that's been broached repeatedly. i read articles about mel and his faith as far back as the mad max/road warrior years, so it's not like this is a new thing. i specifically remember finding about his faith as i thought how cool is it that mel gibson and i say the same prayers on sunday in latin? which to me was quite something as there was absolutely no one cool at my church. none.

in the end, i am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as i think that his heart's in the right place on this one. does that mean he's completely altruistic? no freakin' way. like i said, it's a catch-22. draw attention to yourself and your movie and you draw an audience which gets exposed to your message (whatever it is), but at the same time you make yourself a whole pisspot fulla cash. which is he doing? it depends on what you think of him.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-21 15:15:08


I see all your points, Papa. I just quibble about one issue, which sticks in my craw. Look at the number of Gibson films that hardly turned out to be a testament to the human spirit. Some of his films in the 90s really bugged me, in particular "Pay Back," which is as nasty and mean-spirited and gratuitously violent as they come. Personally, it's hard to swallow his "vision" thing now, after he so arbitrarily segregated his quest for filthy lucre from his spiritual life. I'm in the minority, I enjoyed "Signs." But before that, we saw a lot of ugly stuff. In a way, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Maybe "The Passion" is the solution. We'll see.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 15:24:12


i agree, auggie, he should have been flogged for payback. ever see the original? it's actually a re-make of a a 1967 film "point blank." what a freakin' great flick. john boorman's first american movie, lee marvin in the lead, john vernon's debut and as the hooker, who else but angie dickinson? man, it's freaky but classic. although, payback did have one great moment of james coburn admonishing mel who'd just shot a hole in his suitcase full of suits, "man that's just mean!"

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-21 15:54:54


You're right, Papa "Point Blank" is a near-classic in comparison or otherwise. I was in high school when that came out--I forgot it was the source! Even further off-topic: I'm a huge Coburn fan, loved the "Flint" movies (even) in my youth, and think it's great he finally won an Oscar before he checked out. (Nolte's dad in that dark but riveting "Affliction.")

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 16:11:55


ahhhh, affliction, whatta flick! mrs. mambo and i shared our first valentine's day watching "affliction" at lincoln plaza. do i know how to show a girl a good time or what?

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Posted by Jane2 2004-02-21 16:15:21


BB and Augie, very good posts, I agree with what you originally said. I don't want to get started on the religious aspects of the film and whatever Gibson believes in. I've learned not to debate certain topics, especially on line!

All I want to say is that he brilliantly created enough hype on this film to insure plenty of dough in his pocket.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-02-21 16:34:35


This kind of hype can backfire. I remember that THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST had similar pre-release publicity. However, I'm pretty sure it performed poorly at the box office.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 16:44:05


yeah, the slight difference being, dolly that the last temptation did not have preachers ending their sermons by exhorting their flocks to attend it. passion has that and more. the midwest is a big ol' place.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-02-21 19:25:29


If Fr. Kevin so much as mentions this film in tomorrow's homily, I'll stand up and talk back to him. (I've done this before). Movies and church don't mix.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-21 19:58:39


according to what i read, jane, it was based on demands from theatre owners and advance sales. but then, who's to say what's real and what's hype?

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Posted by Jane2 2004-02-21 21:03:46


Exactly, papa. I've become such a cynic in my old age, that I'm skeptical about everything. One thing I'm sure of though, is that the bottom line is almost *always* about money...

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-21 21:06:40


Considering Jesus is white yet again, how accurate can it be? With Mel's bloodlust in the goriness of the project, I'm surprised he didn't ask Quentin Tarantino to direct it.

Kill Christ: Book 1

I think I'll skip it.

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Posted by Mrs B 2004-02-21 22:35:10


I love Mister Matt.

And I am back- for now. Since I was threatened with physical harm for offering an opinion on something NOT religous, why not jump back in? Especially when the parties involved in the threats have been traced and will br facing legal charges. But I digress.

I think Mel has the right to make the movie he wants, under freedom of speech. He is actually standing up for something he beleives in- hot many people actually do that.

That being said, his claims of accuracy are preposterous.People were crucified nude and as the blood went lower in the body, uhm how to say this delicately- people on crosses were not going to need Viagra if you catch my drift.

But God forbid Jesus be naked- that would sexualize him. And the fact that bodies sagged and did not stay in the nice lines depicted in crucifixions- well, why ruin a good shot? I will not even attempt to analyze the frightening psychological ramifiactions that Mel's hand is the one driving the spikes into Jesus's hands (Another point- the nails actually were driven into wrists- but gosh, why show those people claiming to have stigmata were wrong?)

As for what the film will do- it will polarize people. It is propaganda. Mel's remarks about wanting to kill Frank Rich's dog and stab him in the guts- well, gosh, what could be more "Christian" than killing people who differ in their beliefs? Kind of like people flying planes into buildings to prove they were carrying on a holy war against godless people. Mel is no different than Osama- using filmed images to sway people and cause religous discord. NOT Saddam- remember folks, Saddan was not behind 9/11- no matter what W's assertions and blurring of info would lead people who cannot think to think.

The fact Mel's father is on the record saying the Holocaust was exaggerated, that Mel has said in interviews his wife will not get to heaven because she was divorced (even though on Diane Sawyer he said anyone could get to heaven if they tried) make me feel queasy. Someone who deigns to speak for God without attendant miracles (and appearing in blockbusters does not count as a miracel, VARIETY be damned) is someone who holds little regard for humanity.

A zealot is a zealot- the whole "My God is better than your God" mentality is the reason there have been wars as long as there have been people.

Mel is not focusing on the beauty of what Jesus's sacrifice meant- he is showing violence and promoting intolerance.

I would love to ask him why Jewish people should be damned if they were indeed behind the crucifixion. If Jesus had NOT been crucified and then resurrected, there would be no Christianity as we know it. What if they had said "We're sending you to Gitmo Bay where no one will hear of you" or not killed him? Ooops! There goes the Big Plan! The reason He was allegedly sent to earth was to die for man's sins- so the people who betrayed and killed Him were carrying out God's will- so why despise them for being the neccessary catalyst to make the prophecy come true?

Will I see this film? No. I am sure Mel being a mouthpiece for Catholicism- a church that told people in Africa condoms cannot prevent AIDS- will be hailed as a visionary by many who want to feel justified for hating anyone who isn't just like them.

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Posted by FindingNamo 2004-02-22 01:20:36


I honestly think that the violence arouses Mel. Sexually. I think that is the great "conflict" he feels, that's what all the wailing is over. I think he uses the violence for the same kind of pornographic thrill that Max Steiner uses teenage girl imagery. To each his own, I say.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-02-22 03:22:52


That's why I mention SEBASTIANE.
A 1976 film in Latin and Aramic on the life of St. Sebastian, it is essentially a fantasia by Jarman laden with S&M erotic violence under the guise of "religious ecstacy".

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-02-22 17:26:26


The movie everyone thought would bomb ( a biblical film in latin & aramaic ) will probably clean up at the box office. Mel is really smart . He will make his money back & make a hefty profit to boot . If he never works again in Hollywod, he is set for life financially.

Many people will go for the hype & others for the gore quotient. I will see it as a Catholic who is interested how this stacks up against the other movies on the subject. In the 60's, they could not be so graphic. Now they can & violence sells.

We shall see

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-22 18:04:51


Welcome back, Mrs. B. Fascinating points. I will jump from your sublime (and astute) observations -- about the indifference of the Church to human suffering in Africa -- to the ridiculous (and fun): I agree totally with the Waspy casting. For a man determined to bring accuracy to the tale, Mel has not moved us very far from the Jeffrey Hunter or Max Von Sydow mold, two unlikely candidates to play Jewish prophet-teachers in the year 80. We still have a pretty-puss caucasian hunk, with that critical "swimmer's build." Somehow, I've never thought of Mark Spitz as Jesus, but it's everyone's collective fantasy.

As I posted at the top of this thread: this film seems to relish the very act that Jesus entreated his followers to transcend. His message to the world was the ultimate application of Rise Above. There's a saying in Christianity that is used for a metaphor of transcendence: "Look at the crucifixion, but don't dwell on it..." Mel thinks our wallowing in it will give us greater insight to Jesus's gift to all humanity. I'd rather hear more of his words that inspired his followers -- call me quirky, but in English, even -- and leave the graphic imagery to those who celebrate its value in selling tickets.

But make no mistake, this film will make plenty of money, for all the reasons posted above. .

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Posted by FindingNamo 2004-02-22 18:15:26


I don't think this movie has legs.

Welcome back, Mrs. B. DO stay around.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-22 20:46:58


Thank you Mrs B. I love you too. Don't let anyone take your voice away. It is your right to use and your gift to give. Those who read your posts may accept or decline the gift. That is their choice to make. And that is the miracle of a forum such as this.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-02-22 21:00:51


Mrs. B--

There is another inaccuracy in Mel's depiction of crucifixion: the condemned didn't carry the whole cross; just the beam his wrists would be nailed to. And not only were the condemned crucified naked, but often a spike was driven through their testicles.

If Mel is really attempting to illustrate the Gospels, does he include the earthquake that is reported there at the time of Jesus' death? Also, does he show the tombs of the dead opening up and the resurrections of all the "faithful departed" that Matthew (I believe) describes? That certainly would be dramatic movemaking!

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-02-22 22:15:16


In Barabbas in the 60's , there was a total eclipse during the crucifixtion scene

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-02-22 22:21:14


Does anyone know at what point in the story the movie ends? Is the crucifixion the grand finale (shades of JCS) or is the resurrection included?

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-23 19:21:12


Good question, Iflit. We're still into speculation here, but I suspect that he minimizes it, which is odd for a man seemingly besotted with the ultimate legacy of Christ. It's as if that would detract from what seems to be his greater intention: to portray the crucifixion as if in a snuff film. I am not beling glib; I just read the New Yorker review. David Denby argues, more persuasively than I have in posts above, that Gibson is "...so thoroughly fixated on the scourging and crushing of Christ, and so meagrely involved in the spiritual meanings ofthe final hours, that he falls in danger of altering Jesus' message of love into one of hate... Gibson's obsession with pain, disguised by religious feelings, has now reached a frightening apotheosis... The despair in this movie is hard to shrug off."

DESPAIR? Hardly what Jesus wanted us remember from his life, death and ascendency, no? The film's curious quest for accuracy about the torture and murder clearly upstage the far greater point to this life--that even murder cannot destroy what is good and pure.

It would be ironic indeed if this turns out to be the version of Jesus' life that most exploits the crimes done to him. There's enough despair in ...say, your average Mel Gibson action movie. We didn't needn't that to be the dominate feeling after this story--still, to many, potentially the greatest ever told. We'll soon be able to weigh in ourselves on whether this version sells that idea.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-23 20:34:08


Auggie27 - You have so perfectly conveyed my main problem with the history of Catholicism and some of the more radical Christian denominations. I always though Christianity was supposed to be about the teachings of Christ. Not about the pain and suffering of him. It's like all the Christians who claim that Jews or Gays should die and burn in Hell. When did Jesus EVER teach hate or violence? I can't wrap my brain around it.

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-02-23 20:43:09


Having seen the whitewashed versions of Christs life done so far & after seeing a program last night re making of the film, this is probably closer to the seamy side of what happened than has ever been previously depicted. You whip & scourge someone & give them a crown of thorns, there is going to be blood. Gibson was trying to show that Christ, as a man & also as God, had to suffer tremendous physical pain t die for mans sins. This picture depicts it.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-23 20:54:46


That's another thing I don't understand. How did he die "for our sins"? Countless others were crucified and never mentioned. When he died for our sins, does it mean we can sin as much as we want and always be forgiven? Does it mean his death was caused by our sins of today? Honestly, I was not raised Christian and have never understood this concept. Nor have I ever understood the concept of "original sin". We're born as sinners? What did we do?

blood pain torture and sacrifice
Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-23 21:00:59


warning, papa's religious rant to follow. stop now if you don't wanna get really really upset.




in this day and age when we are loathe to even suffer mariachi bands on the subway without complaining i think that it's a good thing to remember the full horror of the sacrifice willingly undertaken by jesus. his teachings are out there. his life is an open book. but never has there been a graphic examination of the enormity of the sacrifice willingly undertaken by him for our sake.

as a catholic i think that it is very important for this subject to be seen in all it's horror. not so that blame can be assigned. not so that one can cringe at the blood or celebrate violence. but to remember a god who so loved his children that he gave his only begotten son. and to remember that son who knew how his life would end. who knew ther torture that he would endure. who knew the pain that he faced. who was promised a heaven of his own by the devil and the opportunity to avoid all of that. but who chose willingly to accept the pain and the humiliation and the suffering all for our sake.

i think that the exploration of his death gives more weight to his life and teachings. but in a time now when many people are loathe to even lose a moment of their day without something in return, i think it's necessary and proper that they think about how much the son of god sacrificed for them. perhaps that perspective can help them to look at things in their own life and realize how little it takes to help your fellow man. perhaps when faced with the enormity of the passion of the christ they might take stock of how little it would cost them to share a bit more of themselves with their fellow man. i know in my heart that i could never endure all that jesus did for me and this vision of it before me i see as a reminder of all that i have to do to be worthy of his sacrifice.

but that's just me.

re: blood pain torture and sacrifice
Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-23 21:16:38


papa - I think your view is quite noble and respectable. It would be nice if all Christians felt such compassion. But do you think something similar could be achieved in a film that was not about Jesus? Though I'm not a Christian, I still have compassion for him and what he suffered. I have the same compassion for the millions of Jews who knew their fates in the concentration camps during WWII and the victims of Masada. But watching them suffer only brings me sorrow. When Schindler's List was released, a group of high school students in my home town were kicked out of the theatre for cheering and laughing every time a Jew was murdered on screen. I don't think the graphic violence is really the answer. I don't think it's the answer for anything.

And as you said....

but that's just me

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-23 21:43:40


"[h]ow did he die "for our sins"?"

jesus is referred to as the "lamb of god" because lambs were used as a sacrifice. sins were ceremonially transferred unto them before their sacrifice. no animal could bear the sins of mankind, so god sent his only son to be sacrificed for humanity.

"countless others were crucified and never mentioned."

jesus was without sin and the son of god.

"[w]hen he died for our sins, does it mean we can sin as much as we want and always be forgiven?"

no it means that he opened the gates of heaven so that the righteous could enter the kingdom of god. unrepentant sinners still go to hell. fire and brimstone, pain and eternal suffering. but, no one can say for sure whether another is dserving of hell or will surely go there, that's god's job. it's actualy a big ol' sin to do it, so those televangelists have quite a bit to answer for!

"[d]oes it mean his death was caused by our sins of today?"

technically because he died for the sins of humanity any sins were taken into account as god knows all, sees all, tells very little.

"[n]or have I ever understood the concept of "original sin"."

yep, according to catholicism we're born with the sin of adam upon us. (this led me to curse my parents as i took baptism, since it wiped away original sin, as a clean slate and as such would have come in handy much later in lfie as opposed to being wasted when i was a freakin' baby!)

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Posted by Broadway Bulldog 2004-02-23 21:52:58


Here's the kicker but simultaneously the beauty of God's boundless love.

One can live a life of sin and dissapation, a life totally at odds with all of Christ's teaching but if at the hour of one's death one ask's God for forgiveness and repents the sins of one's life, he/she will be forgiven.

So, why go through all the trouble to follow Christ's teaching's during life. I mean, if at the end all you have to do is say "I'm sorry," and all is forgiven, damn, let's eat, drink, *ahem*, and be merry. The reason that's not the wisest course of life is that we never know when the end is for us individually. You might think you'll have that fraction of a second to say "forgive me," but you just might not.

How risk averse are you?

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-23 22:00:53


Thanks for the explanation, papa. God must be pretty pissed that his plan didn't work. Things haven't improved all that much and the essence of Christianity has been so twisted and abused in the name of hatred, it has all but lost its meaning entirely. Though I still have some problems with many Christians, like any other group, I believe there are good and bad that exist within. Still, it is fascinating to know.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-23 22:08:16


well, matt, i tend to think that the jury is still out on god's plan. i also think that a religion cannot be blamed for those that would twist it to suit their own purposes. they are human and they will. that's something that i pray every day, for the conversion of those who hide their own selfish ambitions behind the veil of religion, for the conversion of those who preach hatred and intolerance, and for the conversion of those who teach people to kill or be killed in the name of god. that's some of the many. i guess i inherited the prayer gene from my mom. maybe it does no good, but i don't believe that. i believe that just maybe god might hear me ask for it enough times and do it just to shut me up!

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-23 22:24:17


Papa, I've read your posts over again, and I still must ask you: why, why is the unexpurgated suffering of Christ the strongest, most potent part of his life and message to highlight ... now? In an era when violence is ubiquitous, when everything is "sold" with violent imagery? Doesn't it take greater artistry and ... frankly, depth ... to help us understand the more complex story here?

The life of Jesus is rich, the story of a fearless radical, not, ultimately, a mere martyr. Why not focus on the teachings? On the miracles! On his daily, innate sense of compassion? A compassion missing on the planet toay! I'm sorry, using the technology of filmto give us the torture in imagery never before seen feels easy. Lurid. There's a world out there too quickly drawn to violence-driven imagery and story, a world who won't (don't know how to) sit still for a quieter -- more love-infused -- film about a man who was the Prince of Peace. Why not woo the world with a more balanced tale at least, one that places the murder of Jesus in the context of his peaceful life, that explains why he threatened so manys. Give us a film, which, most of all, cuts through the blood-soaked present, to deliver an eternal message. They are selling nails on a chain -- nails! -- as souvenirs of this film. I'm sorry, that's blashemous. I've got my eye on Easter, not Good Friday. Jesus was the hope of the world,not its ultimate victim.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-23 22:45:29


i just think auggie that more people want to see a film that shows the kinder gentler side of christ and that the violence while graphic is about sacrifice which is something that in this day and age we, for the most part, do not do.

face it folks we are all seeing this through our own prism on society. i don't think that it's fair to say, well, this is the movie mel should have made or that this the movie that would have been the braver choice. this is the movie that he did make. i think it's a timely movie and i believe that it will deliver a timely message.

the fact that the violence in it will draw more people into the theatre is to me a good thing. the more people who see it the better, the more chance it will have to effect in them the kind of change that i suggested in my previous post.

but let's face a problem that a lot of people have with the film and with mel. they want catholicism on their terms with no sacrifices and no sins and a relgion that accepts all and fogives all and asks nothing but a kind word and a smile for your fellow humans and animals. well, that's not catholicism. never has been and never will. the fact that mel represents one of the most conservative elements of catholicism poisons people even further on him and his film. the biggest problem is that the death of jesus points up sins and the fact that he died for humanity's sins. sin ain't real popular. especially with folks who are deemed sinners by the church. they sure as hell don't wanna sit through a movie that reminds them that sin is real and has consequences and that the son of god died for them.

a kinder gentler more artistic vision of jesus as the prince of peace might be easier to stomach but for my money, it would reach less people and thus not have the opportunity that this does for focussing people on jesus and his sacrifice and thus further on his life and his teachings. in the end, i think it will drive people to find out more about jesus, if only to discover for themselves what "really" happened. in doing so they will inevitably be exposed to the teachings that you wish them to find. the fact that they will have found them on their own will also make them more open to listening to them.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-02-24 08:25:05


You mean "what really happened" like "Hey, them Jews REALLY killed our Lord!!"

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-24 08:36:16


no, my reference there was to those who would disbelieve the film account and go back to the gospels and source material to learn for themselves whether this account was factual or not. or to those who would take the film as a jumping off point to learn more about what led up to this sacrifice. or even those who take this film as a reason to learn more about the life of jesus in general.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-24 08:52:57


Papaloves: Your last thoughtful post reminds me that there may forever be a gulf between factions of believers who do hold Jesus in their hearts. This gulf has existed -- indeed, has likely widened, through the New Age movement -- for centuries. Revisionist spins on the meaning of Jesus's life and death have created debate that's more heated than ever. Each faction weighs the ultimate value of His life differently. Some focus on the sacrifice and the concept of forgiving sin, some focus on His gift of seeing the world -- the very souls of people -- with a different set of eyes. Many people (myself included) rejected the Jesus of their childhood religions, to focus on a kinder, gentler essence. To many, as you point out, the Jesus without sin -- "Jesus Lite" -- is a sacrilege, a shallow, "easy" misapplication of his life message. (And as stated, I think dwelling on his death is "easy." Impasse, thy name is Christianity.) You're right, Mel's film will likely be attended by both (along with every flavor of non-believer looking for the bloodiest crucifixion footage every done). I'd like to believe the Source of this story is so great -- so loving - that it can be stretched to offer something for everyone. We'll all share after we see it, but it'll be interestiing to see if any minds are changed.

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Posted by orion59 2004-02-24 10:18:14


So we have a non Israeli Jesus who still has about thirty years of his life unknown or hidden, who was never married, never had children and performed great miracles. The only account of his life was passed down verbally for centuries in a language that was very much interprted incorrectly when The Bible was written. This verbal information came from followers who loved this man and either intentionally or inadvertantly, built him up to be a God. so, how accurate can this movie be? Any movie made by a strict Catholic will be heavily slanted toward propogating the myth.

I, for one, am a little leary of getting a point of view of Jesus from Mad Max. I also wonder, while Jesus guided the making of this movie, did he also guide the publicity? When the logo for the movie was recently plastered across a race car in the Indy 500, was that Christ's idea? Was Jesus in the pit handing off sprak plugs to the mechanics or did he just use his miraculous powers to tune up the car? I guess if he did, it wouldn't be much different than his reported miracle turned parlor trick of creating more wine at the wedding in Caanan.



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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-24 10:28:15


one person's "myth" is another person's faith.

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Posted by orion59 2004-02-24 10:38:11


I'm not putting down anyone's faith. If people believe that this man did everything attributed to him, that's fine. I would never criticize or make fun of that. Nor would I argue the point with them or try to convince them otherwise. I don't know anymore tahn anyone else who or what Jesus was.
I do belive that the man existed, that the morals, values and lifestyle he led and tried to pass on were admirable and worthy of being followed by everyone. I just feel that there was a great deal of myth in the story of his life and that so much of his life is unaccounted for that anyone claiming to be making a movie that is historically accuarte and that is being led by the hand of God is terribly arrogant. The myth part is just my opinion just as it's my belief that there is more known about the man's life taht has never been revealed probably beacuse it would destroy the political and money making side of the Catholic church while possibly strengthening the spirtual.

My post was aimed at making fun of Gibson's ego and not at Catholic or Christian beliefs.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-02-24 10:50:41


By papas logic, "Jud Süß" is nothing but a simple historical interpretation of life in eighteenth century Stuttgart.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-24 11:03:52


could you explain that a little further, master, other than just tar and feathering me as an anti-semite? if you're going to slander me, i'd like ya to back it up.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-02-24 12:32:47


I'm not tarring and feathering you, papa, but I think the power of Gibson's film can be and will be taken in different ways by its various audiences.

To those that are not aware of it, "Jud Süß" is a facinating film, made under the Nazis in 1940s as a historical costume drama and promoted as such. The plot revolves around conniving, ambitious Jewish businessman, Suess Oppenheimer, who snares a post as treasurer to the Duke of Wurttemburg by showering the corrupt duke with treasure and promises of even greater riches. As the Jew's schemes grow more elaborate and his actions more brazen, the dukedom nearly erupts into civil war. Persuaded by the Jew, the Duke all but scuttles the constitution and alienates the assembly by lifting the local ban on Jews in Stuttgart. In a final outrage, the Jew rapes a wholesome German girl and tortures her father and fiancee. When the Duke succumbs to a sudden heart attack, the assembly of Elders try the Jew and sentence him to death for having "carnal knowledge of a Christian woman."

For many years, it was unavailable for viewing, and I was fortunate enough to have seen it at the Jewish museum a few years ago.

First thing one notes about it is how luciously beautiful and how smooth the script is. The sets are lavish and historically accurate, the cinematography is melting - the overall mood is not dissimilar to MGM's "Queen Christina". It's completely engaging and hypnotically powerful, and once could very easily see how the anti-Semetic poison of the film and its images could have been so intoxicating to the largely untoutored audience that made it one of Germany's top-grossing films of the year.

One wonders if the audience for Gibson's similarly well-made splatter-Jesus film will become spiritually enlightened by the experience or re-discover one of the basic tenents of anti-Semetism (albeit shown in "purely historical context").

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Posted by Borstalboy 2004-02-24 12:56:57


Early negative reviews (Newsweek, New Yorker) of the film have titled it "The Goriest Story Ever Told" and "The Gospel According to the Marquis de Sade". Almost all of the reviewers mentioned that it was sheer insanity to bring children, which, considering that church groups are bringing their followers to the film by the busload "like a field trip to Chuck E Cheese", strikes me as odd. Apparently, one torture sequence goes on for almost 45 minutes. Yum! Can't wait!

Also heard about some of the Mel's little secret pop-up's in the film. When Judas hangs himself its MEL'S scream that we hear! The hands that pound the nail's into Jesus' hands are MEL'S HANDS! When Mary Magdalene falls to Christ's feet, its actually MEL'S FEET that she's kneeling at!!!

Many directors have made little cameo's in their own films (Hitchcock being the most famous, and most humorous). But what exactly does this little addition do for Mr. Gibson? What's it supposed to do for the viewer? I still stand behind my belief that this film came out of Mr. Gibson's ego, not his heart...and certainly not his brain.

Meanwhile, for the second time in a year, the religious right-wingers have bombarded 60 Minutes with letters and emails calling for the firing of Andy Rooney because they disagree with his opinion. Rooney (a humorist whom I usually cannot abide)apparently said that God told him to tell the viewers of 60 Minutes that Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson were "whackos". A joke, just a joke.
Of course, the previous time the conservative loudmouths flooded 60 Minutes with complaints was when Rooney spoke with unbelievable eloquance against the war in Iraq and the Bush administration in general. Guess he wasn't in a Free Speech Zone or something.

And Bush is worried about legalized butt****ing...

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Posted by orion59 2004-02-24 12:58:43


In reading through the last few posts, I'm seeing refrences to anti-semitism, the Jews killed Jesus, refrences to Jesus having died for our sins, so much talk about the bloody, viloent crucifixion which was his sacrifice for the sins of humankind.

I've always thought Jesus was a simple Rabbi who did not claim to be the son of God. He in fact denied those claims made by his followers. He did not intend to die for the sins of anyone nor did he see himself as saviour. He was a well educated Rabbi who saw his people so wrapped up in the symbols and rituals of their religion that they had lost sight of it's true meaning. He saw avoricous religious leaders using their power and influence for the good of themselves only. This created his rebellious attitude and desire to reform his religion and bring people back to a life of caring and selflessness.

That was the real reason he died. He was threat to the Jewish leaders who feared the change and the loss of their power and he was threat to the Romans who feared a loss of control over Jerusalem. The Catholic church itself, faces this same problem today. Not to say that all Catholics and all of the people who lead the church are hypocrits or looking out for their own good. However, again, a church has become so bogged down in it's rituals, it's need to protect itself and it's fear of loosing power that the spiritual side of it is lost in many people.

Going back to my belief that much of what is the story of Jesus is myth, I wonder, if people could see him for what he may really have been, a man with a vision of a better society, and seperate that from the teachings of any church (I'm saying stop believing he is the son of God but seperate what he taught from what the church rituals and rules dictate), would there still be such a heated debate over this movie?

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Posted by Jane2 2004-02-24 13:35:58


I personally will not see this movie. Nothing about what I've read, seen or heard of it is attractive to me. But that's neither here nor there. What I see in this thread alone is what this film is doing even before it opens. Can't wait to see what happens afterwards. Boy, Gibson sure is an expert at Hollywood hype and the profits it can reap.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-24 15:18:55


Roger Ebert liked it and believes it is not anti-Semetic. I still won't see it.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-24 20:34:28


This film's 15 minutes are already waning. Seeing the NY Post weigh in with a "Gore" headline (that didn't involve Al for once!), well, that did it for me. The Ash Wednesday opening day will likely be upstaged by Bush's assault on the U.S. Constitution. (Speaking of which, I wish gay people would stop buying the f--king NY Post, or any other rag that supports this regime. Read your Liz Smith and Cindy Adams on line!)

Everyone I've talked to reports how they must look away from the TV screen when they show that panning aerial shot of the blood-splattered crucifixion. Not a good sign -- the target audience's inability to watch the trailer.

da vinci
Posted by megreen31 2004-02-25 10:23:00


everyone here needs to read The Da Vinci Code.

re: da vinci
Posted by orion59 2004-02-25 10:31:32


I agree with that. They should also read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book that came out a few years back. It's where Dan Brown seems to have gotten his inspiration for The Da Vinci Code.

While The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction based on a theory that has been widely researched, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, is non fiction book outlines taht theory and the sources, historical documents and ancient text that supports it. In reading this book, one might gain a new perspective on the story of Jesus Christ. Whether or not you belive the theory, it is still a fascinsting book especially for anyone interetsed in church history and the development of Catholic doctrin

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-02-25 20:00:32


Driving home from a church service this afternoon I heard a radio report that a woman in Florida had a heart attack and died while watching the film. At this point there is no idea of whether she had a pre-existing condition.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-25 20:11:32


Per what Dolly reported, all the footage of shaken folks exiting in tears, shaking their heads, reaching for one another ... it all reminds me of December 1974 -- when THE EXCORCIST opened, and people couldn't get out of their seats. It looks like it's big box office, by the way. 15 million today.

Anyone read the NY Times editorial by Kenneth L. Woodward today? It ticked me off, with more of that "THIS is the real Jesus" stance. I especially hated... "... He does not teach that we all possess an inner divinity, as today's nouveau Gnostics believe. One cannot imagine this (Mel's, i.e. the "real" one) Jesus joining a New Age sunrise Easter service overlooking the Pacific.

Why not? No one knows the Jesus view of New Age, but wouldn't he be pleased his message reached MORE people? Personally, I don't think of Jesus as a smug, self-rigtheous man who'd turn down Easter invites; Easter celebrations are what it's all about, not blood and viscera on cobblestones. Whatever happened to "...when two or more are gathered in my name?" The hypocrisy of fundamentalism! They want you to open your heart to Jesus -- THEIR Jesus -- exactly as they determine, with a deep-seated fear of a punitive God and a firey hell--or hands off. He's THEIRS. And now, apparently, He's Mel's.

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-02-25 22:03:50


Just heard on the news some woman in the audience had a heart attack & died while viewing the movie in NYC

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Posted by RobbO 2004-02-25 22:21:28


so if one woman in florida and one woman in nyc died of heart attacks while watching the film, what does that mean?!? people, even many on this board, are looking for any way to condemn this film without even seeing the movie.

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Posted by Jane2 2004-02-25 23:14:14


I don't think that reporting a woman died is condemning the film. Probably will bring in even more bucks!

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-25 23:41:52


I don't think people here are condemning the film; but if they are, it is not in a vacuum. Mel himself orchestrated a helluva lot of advance talk -- to make sure it was hot topic. He succeeded. Brillliantly. Which is show biz at its best/wortst. And his prerogative. Just like it's ours to listen to his non-stop promotion and evaluate his take on history, the Bible, the Holocaust (apparently his daddy's -- Mel: "he never lied to me!" favorite revisionist bedtime story), any all relevant sidebar issues. Creating the film and calculatingly releasing it to target audience members -- while withholding it from many, many others -- is bound to create at best curiosity, at worst, a media/slash/religious backlash. We're somewhere on the graph, we humble souls at this site. After we see the film, or avoid it, we'll no doubt have a lot to say.

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Posted by orion59 2004-02-26 08:05:17


I would be willing to bet that somewhere in this country, at least one person died of a heart attack while watching a Disney movie. It happens. Thousands of people have heart attacks every day and I'm sure some of them are at movie theaters when it happens. It not divine inetrvention, it's every day human life events that are being used as an errie event to help promote the movie. Like someone said in an earlier post, it is very reminiscent of the opening of THe Exorcist years ago. if you are looking for it, you can find these "strange" events connected to any movie or any event.

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Posted by SonofMammaMiaSam 2004-02-26 10:48:50


I saw it last evening. My opinion, it is a big old bloody mess!

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-02-26 11:11:47


Is it really difficult to sit through, or is the violence over-hyped, too?

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Posted by SonofMammaMiaSam 2004-02-26 11:21:49


Explicitely gory and, in my opinion, difficult to sit through on many levels.

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-02-26 11:34:11


I hate the fact that I feel compelled to see it for myself, if only to be able to voice my own opinion. But I'm not looking forward to it. And it doesn't help that I feel manipulated by all the hype.

One more question...did it have a lingering effect on you...your mood...afterward?

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Posted by SonofMammaMiaSam 2004-02-26 11:48:15


I have read and seen so much about this film that it's effect on me hasn't been lingering--I expected it. I went to see it more as a film as opposed to the content of the film. Hence my literal and figurative comment; it's a bloody mess. I can comment on the mood of the people leaving the theater, if that helps. Complete and utter silence. No one was talking even through the lobby and out into the parking lot. Rather eerie!

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-26 12:58:08


with 857 theatres reporting after the matinees, according to variety, it was at $7 million. that was with about 2300 theatres to go. looks like about a $20 million day.

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-02-27 14:28:26


I'm still working on trying to articulate my reaction to the film (I went yesterday afternoon)... but in the meantime, someone sent me a quote attributed to conservative lawyer and columnist, David Limbaugh (yep, the Rushmeister's bro), which is fairly disturbing:

"The moral is that if you want the popular culture to laud your work on Christ, make sure it either depicts Him as a homosexual or as an everyday sinner with no particular redeeming value (literally). In our anti-Christian culture, the blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ" is celebrated and "The Passion" is condemned. But if this movie continues to affect people the way it is now, no amount of cultural opposition will suppress its force and its positive impact on lives everywhere. Mel Gibson is a model of faith and courage."

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-02-27 15:45:02


That's very interesting. If faith is defined as believing something you've never seen or something than cannot be proven by facts, then how is Mel a model of faith when he believes it must be seen in order to be understood? It seems to me that if Mel requires these images to be shown graphically, then he has lost faith rather than kept it.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-02-27 16:16:38


"But if this movie continues to affect people the way it is now, no amount of cultural opposition will suppress its force and its positive impact on lives everywhere."

Here's a good example of the "positive" impact the film seems to be stirring up.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-27 16:26:27


hmmm, isn't that mary cheney's church?

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-02-27 17:54:24


Speaking of Mary C., have you seen this?

http://www.dearmary.com/mary/milkcarton.html

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-02-27 19:38:28


I want to see it but can not see any reason for wanting a video of it so not sure what life it will have in video after the uproar has died down

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Posted by broadwayguy2 2004-02-27 19:42:42


Very interesting article on the dpeiction of Christ in "The Passion" and every other form of Judeo-Christian Idoltry (oh wait.. Idols are condemned and forbidden by God.. did someone tell the Christiana?? Or did they skip THAT part too?)

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Posted by Broadwaylady 2004-02-27 19:57:54


If anyone is interested, in the true version, which Mel does, visit Spiritdaily.com. Why am I not surprised about the article BG2 uses?

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Posted by DofB5 2004-02-27 20:43:18


This is one movie I don't think I'm going to try to go see. I get so easily upset when I see someone being hurt. Even when I went to see JC:SS the other week, I wanted to jump on that stage or at least yell, "Don't hurt him!" and I knew he really wasn't being hurt.

And it’s not that I'm very religious, either. I think not only of Christ but all the other millions of people that were being hurt just as bad, if not worse then Him.

I fear I might find this movie way to disturbing. I don't need any bad dreams.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-02-28 22:30:33


If you get upset when you see people getting hurt, I ask you never to observe me in the classroom. I know ever part of the human body that doesn't leave marks and relish inflicting mental and physical pain upon the wrteched creatures who are entrusted to my care. I hate kids almost as much as I HATE MOVIES!!!!!!!!!

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Posted by DofB5 2004-02-28 22:36:47


Really, DP? You HATE kids? I don't have any problem with them. Stuffed and mounted, they're fine.

D

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-02-28 22:36:50


That's just really scary, DP, even if it is a joke.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-02-29 12:14:56


And Dolly, I'd grown to think of you as the board's combo Mr. Chipps, Jean Brodie. I'm so disillusioned.

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Posted by sharon1 2004-02-29 14:07:52


A lot has been said, and a lot written. I saw the film last night. It left me breathless. It was, now I don't know what words to use suddenly, more than I could have imagined. It was brilliant film making. The audience just sat there after the final scenes and when the credits began to roll. It left an indelible mark on me and those with me. Bravo to Mel

cha ching
Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-29 14:29:09


$117.5 million so far and counting...so how long is it before the copycat movies to follow? a re-make of the robe with russell crowe maybe?

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-02-29 16:02:33


I ended up seeing it last night. I don't have much time to write because I'm busy preparing for my fabulous annual Oscar party but...
I thought the movie stunk. Here's what I learned about the last 12 hours of Jesus' life. Things happened very slooowwwllly. Mel, please lay off the slow mo in your next film. And wasn't the whipping a tad excessive. Something that's given a few lines in the bible goes on and on and on and on. I felt as though I was being punished for all my sins (although if that were true it would be a much longer movie) but not in the way Mel intended.
I had no emotinal reaction...the film didn't let me...and I learned nothing about Jesus.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-29 16:12:01


your fabulous oscar party? *looking around for my invite* sheesh, i didn't think you took the whole demurring on the protest marriage so hard! just for that i'm not going to send you "shroud of caveziel" as they're calling the loin-cloth he wore on the cross.

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-02-29 16:13:52


Papa...you will of course be invited to all my future parties. But Micheal Moore and Al Franken are coming to this one and I was nervous things might get ugly and distract me from the festivities.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-02-29 16:17:16


dammit, erik, now where are o'reilly and i supposed to go?

The Passion
Posted by Broadwaylady 2004-03-02 12:33:40


How can you just say it is a bloody, gory mess and have no other reaction? It opens with the scene from the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly
ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.

I thought it was a masterpiece of film-making. "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything in a long time. I used to cry over the old movies showing the life of Christ but now they seem so shallow and wishy washy.

Whem the film was over there was dead silence from the audience.

All the horrors and pain He went through, He bore for us with love.

How can anyone see that movie and not be touched? Obviously some people are just desensitized.

re: The Passion
Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-02 12:52:00


I guess what it comes down to is that what touches some of us feels manipulative to others of us. I'm in the "bloody mess" catagory. This movie didn't touch me at all and I had hoped it would. I walked out feeling angry and manipulated. I resented the many liberties taken with history, culture, and the basic facts...not to mention the medical implausibility of any human (and this *was* the story of Jesus, the human son of god) surviving the blows inflicted without developing internal hemorrhaging or cerebral edema. Even a little restraint would have rendered the impact much more effective.

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-03-02 12:54:00


Well if they were sesentized before...they will be after watcing this movie. Too me the relentless violence and gore kept me from feeling any emotion. I felt I was being beaten over the head with it. And I just thought overall..the movie was poorly made. No substance and like I said before...way too much slow mo.

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Posted by Broadwaylady 2004-03-02 13:13:37


The movie was based on facts. The gospels and the writings of two mystics. How can you feel manipulated? I guess to each his own. This is why I tried to stay out of this post.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-03-02 13:19:59


The movie was based on a composite of stories that wasn't written until centuries after the events took place based on the opinions of the editor and have been altered through several opposing versions based on the opinions of those editors. Facts are indisputable and can be scientifically proven. The New Testament is based on faith, not fact.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-03-02 13:27:13


exactly right, mr. matt. while i believe these stories, it's an function of my faith. a fact is verifiable. this doesn't and shouldn't diminish the meaning of the words for those who believe, but be careful which words you use. because they are not and cannot be facts. they may be true to you, but until there's a way to verify that jesus is the son of god and that the last 12 hours went just like mel says, which short of a time machine i am not seeing, then ya just have to be content with your faith. i am. and i bet matt's content with his faith as well.

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-03-02 13:52:50


You're write...the movie was based on teh gospels. And like I said before the whipping are given about a few lines in the gospels (from what I remember) but Mel decides to devote over twenty minutes to them. Just a touch of overkill.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-03-02 14:21:04


well, it's mentioned 6 times by my count. the fact that they don't go into detail is to me more a function of the fact that everyone then knew what it was to be scourged and thus no explanation was necessary. the mere word was enough to convey the connotations, back then. but the idea of the scourging in a very dominant one in traditional catholic faith. a decade of the rosary is dedicated to it. putting it as far as that goes on a par with his birth, resurrection, crucifixtion and a few other select moments. but until i see it, i outta keep my mouth shut, i know.

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Posted by Broadwaylady 2004-03-02 15:29:19


Erik I also said he based the movie on two books on the visions of two mystics. These events were not detailed in length in the gospels. Mel Gibson researched this movie. He had with him a book on the visions of a nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich, a seer and stigmatic who had frequent visions of both Mary and Jesus. Despite efforts to distance the movie from Emmerich (who is controversial among Jews), the German stigmatic's book of revelations called The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ was a demonstrably heavy influence on the film -- indeed, serves as the very base for much of it. Emmerich was granted many of her visions by the Blessed Mother appearing to her.

The presence of Satan throughout the Passion, the way the demonic takes various forms, the agony of Judas, the extent of scourging, the involvement of Mary, and the very way Christ was nailed to the cross are right out of revelations in The Dolorous Passion.

Consider the manner in which Emmerich describes the sky as "dark, gloomy, and threatening -- the moon was red" (highly similar to the movie's opening scenes) and how Judas Iscariot "wandered up and down the steep and wild precipices at the south of Jerusalem, despair marked on his every feature, and the devil pursuing him to and fro, filling his imagination with still darker visions, and not allowing him a moment's respite... followed by many devils."

This is precisely how Judas is portrayed in the movie (pursued by demons in various guises) even though the Gospels offer precious little such detail on this and other aspects of Christ's Crucifixion.

During her visions in the 1800s Emmerich had "seen" Christ brutalized on a bridge -- which also finds its way into the film -- and tossed into a subterranean prison.

Then there is the Virgin. Her presence at Pilate's court is also straight from Emmerich. In fact, much of Emmerich's account sees the Crucifixion through Mary's eyes -- and, like the movie, had her accompanied by Mary Magdalen.

As for the scourging, Emmerich -- whose relic Gibson carries on him -- describes first a beating with sticks, and then the vicious, seemingly endless lashings, with various tormentors taking their turns as Mary watched in silent torment. "These cruel men had many times scourged poor criminals to death at this pillar," claimed Venerable Emmerich. "They resembled wild beasts or demons, and dragged Him by the cords with which He was pinioned.

"Two ruffians continued to strike Our Lord with unremitting violence for a quarter of an hour, and were succeeded by two others. His body was entirely covered with black, blue, and red marks; the Blood was trickling down on the ground, and yet the furious cries which issued from among the assembled Jews showed that their cruelty was far from being satiated. Two fresh executioners commenced scourging Jesus with the greatest possible fury; they made use of a different kind of rod -- a species of thorny stick, covered with knots and splinters. The blows from these sticks tore His flesh to pieces; His Blood spouted out so as to stain their arms, and He groaned, prayed, and shuddered."

Emmerich claimed that was followed by scourging with small chains or straps covered with iron hooks, "which penetrated to the bone and tore off large pieces of flesh at every blow. What word, alas! could describe this terrible -- this heartrending scene!"

The same is said of the movie...

Meanwhile, the Body of Christ, she maintained -- as does the movie -- was "perfectly torn to shreds." It was but one big wound. There is the scene of Christ in His own Blood at the foot of the pillar -- and a description of the scourging as lasting for three-quarters of an hour.

As for Emmerich's description of the actual nailing to the Cross, this too bears numerous striking similarities to Gibson's triumphant movie. When a large nail was pressed into His hand and a great iron hammer drove it through the flesh, Emmerich had said, "Our Lord uttered one deep but suppressed groan, and His Blood gushed forth" as the Virgin watched.

As in the movie, the nails were described as coming through the back of the cross.

Meanwhile, when they tied Him to the cross with ropes, she said, they pulled His left hand "violently until it reached the place prepared for it," dislocating His bones.

As His mother watched in that silent, prayerful, dignified horror, a long nail was pounded through both of her Son's feet, wrote Emmerich, and then the cross was erected -- falling into a hole prepared for it "with a frightful shock."

The description of trickling blood and a body entirely covered with wounds is as hard to read in Emmerich's books as it is to watch in Gibson's movie...

"I cast my eyes upon Jesus -- my Redeemer -- the Redeemer of the world," wrote Emmerich. "I beheld Him motionless and almost lifeless. I felt as if I myself must expire; my heart was overwhelmed between grief, love, and horror."

I also read the book. This is all I will say on the matter.

[


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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-02 16:03:09


"I also said he based the movie on two books on the visions of two mystics" [in addition to the gospels]

Well, there's a solid argument for the movie being fact based....

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-03-03 18:55:06


One import part of The Passion is how Pontius Pilate is portrayed

Almost all the portrayals of Pilate in religious movies have pilate as a rational sometimes befuddled leader so what has been described re Pilates portrayal in The Passion is not much of a change . There are 5 recent portrayals of Pilate I can recall. They are as follows:

1. Richard Boone - The Robe
2. Frank Thring - Ben Hur
3. Hurd Hatfield - King of Kings
4. Arthur Kennedy - Barabbas
5. Telly Sevalas - The Greatest Story Ever Told

Boone played as a befuddled leader not knowing what was going on. Thring played him as an autocrat while Hatfield played him as a run of the mill political hack appointee. Kennedy played him like an fair minded official while Sevalas was more dark . None of them portrayed Pilate as evil.

Similarly, almost all of the films kind of sideswiped the issue & basically made the Crucifixion as a done deal without fixing any blame. King of Kings made the totally ludicrous arguement that Barabbas & Judas were in partnership to overthrow the Romans . It also has a bogus scene where Jesus before Pilate is done almost as an afterthought & where Jesus had someone acting as his attorney with him - which never happened. The Greatest Story had more of the dealings between the Romans & the Sanhedrin & it played more like a political movie with the both sides being involved. In none of them could you say the Jews were the heavies. Maybe because this movie deals with just his passion it can bring more of a spotlight on who was or was not responsible.

There obviously were some of the Jews who did not go with his peace message & either wanted to force his hand or just wanted to be rid of him. Pilate sentenced him to death so he played a major role. Some Jews obviously wanted him gone but I think most of the mass of the Jewish populace was either ambivilent or were against it. It was a vocal minority that let Pilate make a decision that served both the interests of the Sanhedrin who felt Christ was overstepping his authority & was getting too big for his sandals & the Romans who wanted to be rid of a troublemaker who they thought could be a bigger problem in the future . Both factions were satisfied.

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Posted by Borstalboy 2004-03-03 19:07:41


I told you this movie was dangerous!!!!

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Posted by RobbO 2004-03-03 19:14:08


perhaps she rented the passion of the christ and ended up with thelma & louise instead. i don't remember jesus driving a chevy lumina, but perhaps i was in the restroom...

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Posted by thirdrowcenter 2004-03-03 20:09:30


Please excuse my ignorance on this subject, but why was Jesus tortured before he was crucified? Why would the Roman soldiers be so sadistic? It wasn't like he was a killer or some kind of monsterous person. Wouldn't he go into shock after being beaten to a pulp?

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-03-03 20:22:52


It was the custom plus it had to happen to fulfill prophecy

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-03-03 21:17:18


BroiaddwayLady, I have never read anything of yours that was so passionate as are the two postings you have on this thread. Bravo!

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Posted by Broadwaylady 2004-03-03 23:20:48


Thank you DP. That is my love of God.

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Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-04 03:27:59


The movie is completely respectable. The violence is not sadistic but completely appropriate and NECESSARY to the story being told. Christ's message and teachings stressed that man finds fullfillment, not through the Messiah, or in some promised kingdom of heaven, but through the realization of the potentialities of his spirit here on earth. What are the Gospel stories of the mustard seed and the miracles of the loaves and fishes or the transformation of water into wine or the Magdalen's conversion from the carnal to the devotional but wonderful,literary metaphors for the potential for change and growth that exist in us all? This philosophy was a revolutionary (and evolutionary) shift in human consciousness, awareness and perception. No wonder it was met with such antipathy by the Jewish and Roman establishments. How better to DRAMATIZE such a man as Christ, his inner resolve and spiritual strength, than by showing him enduring and transcending private doubt and brutal physical pain over and over again in order to fulfill his destiny? Those who say that a man subjected to that intensity of physical abuse would have died long before he was crucified miss the point completely. In their literalism, they are comparable to fundamentalists and are as provincial.
As far as the historical and religious backgrounds to the story are concerned, they are easily inferred through the use of expositional episodes embedded in the film's structure. Personally, I could have used more of Christ's philosophy to leaven the brutality but the point is made.
If I objected to anything, it was the ham-fistedness of the Fellini-esque representaion of Satan and the renting of the temple, which is presented far too literally and undercuts the metaphorical power of the film.
Not a classic by any means but worthwhile, for certain.

Mr. Roxy, re: contemporary Pilates---there's also JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR (I don't recall who plays Pilate in the film) and Jean Marais in PONTIUS PILATE.

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Posted by son_of_a_gunn_25 2004-03-04 06:11:48


I have always been told that Pilate had Jesus whipped hoping that that would be enough to satisfy the crowds so he wouldn't have to send Jesus to be crucified. At least, that is what the priest at my church said. I have tried to stay away from this thread, but I would like to remind everyone here that you can't judge all Catholics and Christians by preconcieved notions. I have never been taught that the Jews were at fault for Jesus's death. I have said I am perfectly willing to talk about my beliefs, but I also don't like to be labeled and attacked. Most of the times I have been attacked for my beliefs its because someone had a misconception about them. I would prefer to be asked what my beliefs are along with the beliefs of the Catholic church. I would very much like to talk to anyone via pm and dispell some of the myths, or in some cases verify what you already thought. I even run across things that surprise me, but have made things make much more sense to me. Somebody also claimed that the church is not clearing things up because they are just out to make money? Where is the proof that they only care about making money? One of the things they wanted to emphasize with Vatican II was that the Church is not a building or money, they wanted to make it clear that the church was the people. (Note:I haven't seen the movie.)

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-04 07:20:46


"The violence is not sadistic but completely appropriate and NECESSARY to the story being told."

Call me crazy, but was the crow pecking out the thief's eyes really necessary to the story? I don't remember that being in the Bible. And it's exactly all the little extra sadistic touches like that that pushed this film over the top for me.

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Posted by sabrelady 2004-03-04 12:17:26


Years ago As a child walking home from school on a Mon I was accosted by some other children in the school & informed that I had Killed Jesus and the 6 or 7 that there were started hitting & kicking me knocking me to the ground. They only stopped & ran away when a group of the "big girls" ( 12-13 yr olds) came & chased then off helped me up & walked me homeThey asked me what had happened I kept saying I dont KNOW over & over again. I was 7. My mum kept me out of school for the day. & then I went back. But now I knew I was "different". I expect episodes of this to become more frequent again so much for how enlightened we have become. Ani Mamin.

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Posted by thirdrowcenter 2004-03-04 12:37:52


Sabrelady I was so saddened to hear about your experience. I remember hearing myself called names also. My sister tells me she was called Christ killer in a cutesy way by her boyfriend's family (mazzo Crist I don't know the correct spelling).
When I first started hearing about Mel Gibson's upcoming movie about the crucifixtion of Christ, I think I was programmed, as a Jew, to be worried and wary of it's repercussions. Every time I saw Mel Gibson interviewed, he said with a wild look, "this is powerful," "they, should be afraid." I assumed he meant me, a Jewish person. I dreaded what was going to happen when it was released world wide. Well, now I hear people who have seen the movie talking and I am happy to hear they feel every spiritual after leaving the movie and not filled with revenge and loathing.
If this is the effect the movie has brought to Christians I feel relieved and happy for all. Please understand I am trying to express my feelings honestly and I hope I have not offended anyone because I did not intend to.

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Posted by son_of_a_gunn_25 2004-03-04 14:26:32


Sabrelady, at our church we had the Jewish student union come in to talk about their beliefs. We do this with many of the religious based faith groups here in Muncie. They were talking about how they didn't get very many people who were Jewish to come to their Friday evening meals (I forget the name now.) We we thought it would be a nice gesture if asked if we could come along to the dinner the next weekend if they would have us. They seemed extremely surprised, but at the same time excited that we were so open and willing to respect and learn more about their beliefs. The people you had to deal with were not what I would call Christian by their actions. I don't understand this whole the Jews killed Jesus thing. Jesus was Jewish. Jesus's followers were Jewish. It is a stupid and ignorant person who believes it is the Jews fault that Jesus was killed. It is my personal belief that he was in control of what happened and allowed it to happen because it had to. It is not any one person or group's fault. Now granted, the chief priests were believed to be corrupt and helped lead to his death, but nowhere do I see it say in the Bible "Hate the Jews because there were corrupt priests." Thats like hating all Catholics because of the actions of a few priests.(Sex scandal)I hope you find more people in you life with the attitude I hold about this than the one's you've had to deal with in the past. It was his gift to us to die on the cross, it's no groups fault he died for everyone's sins. These so called "Christians" you had to deal with didn't follow one of the most important commandments. 'Judge not' that is something I get really irritated at people for doing. Especially the "You're going to burn in hell!" people (Granted I believe it is a minority) who don't care if they verbally abuse you. God gave us free choice for a reason. It is your choice what path you take in life. No one should be able to take that away from you. To do that would be to take away one of the greatest gifts God gave us before the whole life, death, and resurection thing. They don't realize you achieve more through showing love to others. We have a saying at my church. Preach the Gospel, every once in a great while use words. (That means love everyone and respect their beliefs.)

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-03-04 14:29:36


Good point Iflit...what MM calls NECESSARY I call boring, over the top overkill.

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Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-04 15:02:14


And that's what makes horse races.

son_of_a_gunn, the unfortunate "Jews killed Jesus" nonsense has been a sorry excuse for ignorant and fearful Christian minds throughout history to demonize and scapegoat the Jewish OTHER.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2004-03-04 19:18:10


What I don't understand about this film is, if a graphic visual account of the torture and crucifiction wasn't necessary for 2000 years, why is it necessary now?

It's like the violent overload in most films now. I had no problem with the old back-and-white movies. The detective points the gun at the bad guy. The gun goes "BANG!". The bad guy falls down and doesn't get up. I GOT IT. If someone runs to the bathroom and there is a retching sound, I KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. I don't want or need to see the actual contents of their stomach flying from their mouths. How could it possibly be necessary?

re: the passion
Posted by magruder 2004-03-04 20:16:07


Frank Rich's column this Sunday in the Arts & Leisure delivers the coup de grace on The Passion of the Christ and Gibson's hypocrisy.

I also can't believe I would read a justification on the boards of the writings of a virulent anti-Semite like Emmerich. The presence of this film has certainly been an eye-opener about the world around me...

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Posted by Jane2 2004-03-04 20:19:15


Mister Matt, it isn't necessary, you're right. But to explain it, I think that once they run out of ideas, they have to take things a step further. Then further again. So, as you said in the days of b&w, "less was more". We didn't need to see everything. We used our imagination. Now it seems everyone has to show us a little more than the last one. Now there is absolutely nothing left to the imagination. I for one appreciated the less is more style.

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Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-04 23:12:18


Uh, Mister Matt and Jane2, have you ever walked through a comprehensive, world-class museum like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and taken a look-see at medieval, Gothic and Renaissance art? To your left, witness the Fra Angelico crucifixion which has Christ spurting blood from all his wounds. On your right is a fresco by Canavesio, The Crowning of Thorns, which portrays the exact moment two bestial torturers spit contemptuously into the face of Christ. Walking a little further, let's stop and meditate on the writhing, tormented Christ of Van Dyck's crucifixion.
But why stop at scenes of the Passion? Consider the fresco of the dismembered head of St. John the Baptist by the school of Giovanetti, the bloody Slaying of Holofernes by Judith as depicted by Caravaggio, the terrifying agony of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo in which St. Bartholomew displays his flayed skin upon which is represented the painter's face, Bosch's vision of hell, with every conceivable torture conveyed with the painter's obvious delight or any one of numerous representations of St. Sebastian? Are all these artists without ideas or imagination?
The graphic representation of violence in religious art has been a constant as long as men have had the ability and need to express themselves and reconcile themselves to the monstrous realities of existence and the mysteries of death. Artists' representations of life, suffering, sacrifice, death and rebirth, in whatever medium, not only reenact natural and human experience but also serve as a model for the spiritual life as well. I can't think of anything MORE necessary.

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Posted by Jane2 2004-03-04 23:15:52


Uh, music man, where do I start? UH, first-no need to try to lecture me on art. I have my MA in it, and taught it for 25 years. Uh, secondly, what was that sound? that was my post going right over your head.

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Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-04 23:47:32


Hardly. Your post was a general observation about contemporary films. But since it was, by extension, in agreement with MisterMatt's comments about Gibson's Passion, you'll forgive my pointing out to you that there are precedents. But can you blame me? With your nose so high up in the air, it's hard to get your attention down here.

'Nuff said.

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Posted by Jane2 2004-03-05 00:12:06


When you start a post with "uh", it's generally inferred to be less than friendly, to say the least, in the world of message boards. Then followed with your pontificating about the Met, and sounding quite like you copied the descriptions from a tour pamphlet and if you didn't, you nevertheless came off quite pompous in your lecture. Then you complained about MY tone? Don't give it if you can't take it.

That said, I'd like to address your point. You failed to mention that countless other paintings as well as sculptures from all periods of art portray religious events without the gore, blood, and violence present in the pieces you described. It's art-it's subjective. Just as painters and sculptors have their own styles, so do artists in the film industry. There is the blatant gore, blood and violence, and then there's the hint of it.

I believe Matt and I simply stated we preferred the "less is more" approach.

Edited to say that I really don't enjoy this kind of meanness in posting on boards, but I felt pushed to it by your post. It sounded patronizing to me.

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-03-05 00:54:42


Besides all this debate...what it comes down to...is The Passion is a poorly made film. Everything goes over the top, from the violence and gore...to much of the acting. I mean those Roman guards were almost cartoon like at times. The scene with King Herod was handled with more grace in Jesus Christ Superstar. And (as I said before) Mel seems to only have one cinematic trick up his sleeve...slow mo. It's almost like he just discovered it and wanted to use it as much as possible. Let's see coins fly through the air to Judas (in slow mo) let's see Jesus fall to the left (in slow mo) now lets see Jesus fall to the right (in slow mo). But worst of all, the relentless violence never lets the viewer (at least this one) stop and FEEL anything. Just read the Time Out New York review and I have to agree when the reviewer says "Gibson's doggedly faithful, scrupulously brutal approach inspires little more than the recurring thought, Ouch, that's gotta smart."
It makes me think of a film like Schlinder's list, where atrocities are shown...but not shoved down your throat for two plus hours. There are quiet moments that let you sit and reflect of the enormity of what is happening. One moment that did touch me in The Passion is when Mary sees a beaten Jesus carrying the cross and has a flashback to when he fell as a child. It was in that fleeting, quiet moment that I thought of the powerful movie that could have been.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-03-05 21:39:30


There was another touching scene with Jesus and his mother in the carpenter shop--also a flashback.

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-05 21:52:09


I also liked the flashback that showed, from Jesus's perspective, what it must have looked like riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It wasn't touching, but it *was* a visually impressive moment juxtaposed against making his way through the crowd on the way to Golgotha.

Erik is right...there are moments that make you realize what the movie might have been.

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Posted by ErikJ972 2004-03-05 22:04:58


Yes yes yes! I too enjoyed those two fleeting moments. Although I think a crack of a whip or something ripped me out of the palm sunday scene rather quickly.

re: the passion
Posted by magruder 2004-03-06 10:45:49


Here, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, is the Frank Rich piece in this Sunday's Arts & Leisure: "Mel Gibson Forgives Us For His Sins". I hope those affected by the film and not, will take the time to read it.

re: re: the passion
Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-06 11:09:15


Frank Rich makes a point that is in keeping with how I feel (although perhaps in more condescending terminology that I would have used) that he has no problem with people who brought their own spirituality to the film and found great meaning in the experience. His displeasure is focused on the philosophy, intent, and arrogance of Mel and his cohorts.

Good article. Thanks for posting the link.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-03-06 12:17:07


Also, do read the A. O. Scott piece about all the hate mail he's received from "Christians," complete with obscenities. I love all the turning of the other cheek. It's so moving the way people have taken the message of their saviour to heart.

People keep saying Mel's film will "bring people back to Jesus." If only.

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Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-03-06 12:19:13


i send a.o. scott hate mail on a weekly basis just on principle.

mrs. mambo and i are planning to see the passion of the christ today.

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Posted by Auggie27 2004-03-06 12:48:58


Papa, I especially look forward to your post on the film.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-03-06 12:54:01


I must say that Mel's film has opened a dialgue abut spiritual matters. At work the other day there was an animated discussion about the film among my co-workers: an Orthodox Jew, A Jehovah's Witness, a Muslim, and an Oxymoron (that's me--a Gay Catholic!). It was a cordial and sincere talk. Not everyone likes the film, but it's good to have people talking about religious matters instead of the rising costs gasoline and home heating fuel.

***big ol' freakin' passion spoilers galore***
Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-03-06 19:56:54


all righty then, mrs. mambo and i just returned from seeing the passion of the christ and i thought i might take a moment or two and try to capture my thoughts for those who care to hear. and for those who don't care to hear, well, duh, i just said what i was gonna do, why are you still reading? move along, nothing to see here.





***this post contains spoilers***





anyway, to begin with, i can't say i enjoyed the film, but i don't think that it was meant to be enjoyed as one would apply the connotation to a film say about dating or the fall of a popular politician. however, i did appreciate the film as a piece of art much as one would a painting. in fact at several points it reminded me of graphic art not seen since some of the florentine stuff of giotto and company with it's pendant viscera and exposed bowels. i find it interesting that people never mention the horribly graphic work of the italian religious artists when they point out the graphic nature of this movie. christian art has always been a theatre of the grotesque. a friend of mine who's agnostic by nature told me of the time she ended up quite ill from a tour of florentine churches and their attendant art. but i digress.

i was moved to tears on a few occasions and found that the flashbacks were not nearly as brief or as infrequent as described, but perhaps that was just my feeling. they managed to convey more than once the idea of forgiveness, of love and of hope that was jesus's message. again, that's just me talking.

i was annoyed by a few things. the slow-mo at the beginning in the garden annoyed me (although i totally blame erik for making me hyper aware of it) although later on it didn't bother me at all. the temple splitting after jesus's death was so freakin' cheesy i kept waiting for a robot to pop up at the bottom of the screen and yell, "moses, the red sea, you bonehead, not the altar!!" the devil character left me pretty cold as i guess i'm not as literate in my bible studies as i should be for some of her/it's appearances left me wondering, "what the hell?"

as far as the anti-semitism goes, man them pharisees came off pretty bad. but as he got to the top of the mountain he says "i am the shepherd. i give my life for my sheep. no one takes it from me. i give it willingly." this is intercut with shots of caiaphas and is clearly meant to absolve any human from blame. the effectiveness of that scene i think is open to interpretation. but it is clearly an attempt to show that christ was born to die and that this death was his father's will, not the fault of any mortal. many will say, too little too late, and i can sympathize with them as the pharisees and their followers are cast in a bad light throughout the film. but not all jews are caught in this spotlight as the further the blood brigade gets out of town on its way to calvary the more sympathetic the people along the way become and the more brutal the romans. i found that to be an interesting dynamic.

blood blood blood. yep, there was plenty of it. i think that some of the dripping blood towards the end was over the top. not the part where he was stabbed, but the blood pouring through when they nail him to the cross. the blood that frames the corner of the lens when he looks at mary...mel, we get it, it's already bloody enough. but other than that, i had no problem with the violence. it was appropriate to the story i felt.

the performances across the board were strong and moving. what maia did without words was phenomenal and should earn her a best supporting actress nod, but will not. the film looked gorgeous but that's caleb deschanel, he's a wizard and always has been. all in all, i am glad to have seen this film. i'm glad that it was made. and i feel that it was a success more as an artistic moment than as a film. i feel that mel gave life to the story that i knew from childhood and brought an ugly reality that i perhaps might never have imagined to the sacrifice that i believe jesus made for all humanity.

re: ***big ol' freakin' passion spoilers galore***
Posted by RobbO 2004-03-06 20:06:12


amen.

re: ***big ol' freakin' passion spoilers galore***
Posted by Auggie27 2004-03-06 20:09:41


Papa: Very thoughtful take on the film. You've almost got me in a seat. Almost. I was particularly relieved to read that the flashbacks do have more weight and utlimately provide more clarifying balance. Personally, I'm less worried about the violence per se, and more fearful of ending up ... what? ... just left bereft, feeling ... hopeless. Maybe it's this season, maybe it's mid-life crisis that tends to spiral downward during winter, but I am literally afraid of the film's "power" -- over me -- if said power is used to focus on destructive energy alone.

You have whetted my appetite, a poor choice of words perhaps, but I much appreciate your reminding us of the italian tradition of focussing on the extreme suffering in the Passion. And other artists have always looked to the darkest elements for inspiration, i.e. I'm a big fan of Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion," and actually, the Master's music is suffused with pain.

re: re: ***big ol' freakin' passion spoilers galore***
Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-03-06 20:18:11


auggie, if you're worried about the film's power and if you are in a vulnerable place, then i would say, wait. no film, even this one, is worth potentially putting yourself in a bad place. while much of it's power i think comes from the big screen environment, it'll be out on dvd eventually and you can rent it and not feel bad about turning it off or skipping things if you want.

one piece of advice if you do decide to go, though: late showing. the later the better. i was totally freaked out by the number of kids there and their attendant chatter. i was about to go all pilate on their asses.

re: re: re: ***big ol' freakin' passion spoilers galore***
Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-06 23:34:44



Well, papa. we are in agreement about the Passion. Check out my posts above.

Rich article
Posted by etoile 2004-03-07 01:17:26


Thanks for pointing out the Frank Rich article, magruder. One thing that struck me about it was that he seemed to have seized on a theme posted here by Namo weeks ago. (Back when Namo would still post.) The concept that the violence seemed a form of erotica to Mel.

Now it makes me wonder if Richard is actually Rich. Didn't Frank Rich start his new position with the Times the beginning of this month? And how long has Namo been missing from posting? Some have said they've seen him online. Why doesn't he post? Could he have some non-compete clause? Can Namo no longer post about theater or pop culture because of an exclusivity contract? Is he self-censoring to avoid conflicts? Can he be seen at the door on West43ST only posing for photos but refusing to write anything?

The mind reels.

re: Rich article
Posted by RobbO 2004-03-07 01:28:37


two words: restraining order

re: re: Rich article
Posted by etoile 2004-03-07 01:35:02


Well I admitted to thinking that Namo is as hot as papalovesmambo and Dollypop but I don't think I've reached that restraining order stage...yet.

re: re: re: Rich article
Posted by RobbO 2004-03-07 01:41:29


not a restraining order for you, silly!!

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-03-07 03:35:39


"On your right is a fresco by Canavesio, The Crowning of Thorns, which portrays the exact moment two bestial torturers spit contemptuously into the face of Christ. Walking a little further, let's stop and meditate on the writhing, tormented Christ of Van Dyck's crucifixion.
"But why stop at scenes of the Passion? Consider the fresco of the dismembered head of St. John the Baptist by the school of Giovanetti..."

There is no artist named "Canavesio" or "School of the Giovanetti". And the Met does not own any Van Dyck "Crucifixions".

I know the old master collections at the Met better than anyone here, so be very careful in what you post about them.

I know what you are getting at - that European art is filled with extremely gory images of the Passion of Christ (German art in particular). But even in Counter-Reformation Spain (which was probably the most austerely conservative Catholic country in Europe) there was a move away from the Gothic torrents of blood and bloody welts and bruises in favor of images of contemplative power where the emphasis is on the Christ transcending his sacrifice: the large El Greco "Crucifixion" from the Louvre, recently seen at the Met and the "Christ after the Flagellation Adored by the Christian Soul" by Velasquez in the National Gallery, London, and the Met's own Workshop of Zurbaran "Crucifixion" are good examples of this trend.

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-07 07:14:18


You know, that struck a chord of familiarity with me when I read Frank Rich's article, too, but it didn't click into focus until etiole pointed out the similarities. So I went back and found Namo's post:

FindingNamo  Feb 22,  01:20 AM
" I honestly think that the violence arouses Mel. Sexually. I think that is the great "conflict" he feels, that's what all the wailing is over. I think he uses the violence for the same kind of pornographic thrill that Max Steiner uses teenage girl imagery. To each his own, I say.... "

And then from the Rich article (3/7 edition of the NYTimes...refer to the link magruder posted...):

"With its laborious build-up to its orgasmic spurtings of blood and other bodily fluids, Mr. Gibson's film is constructed like nothing so much as a porn movie, replete with slo-mo climaxes and pounding music for the money shots. Of all the "Passion" critics, no one has nailed its artistic vision more precisely than Christopher Hitchens, who on "Hardball" called it a homoerotic "exercise in lurid sadomasochism" for those who "like seeing handsome young men stripped and flayed alive over a long period of time."

Remarkable similarities. But if what you suggest is true, etoile..that he's not posting (be he Richard G or Rich...or some other "known" byline) due to a non-compete clause or conflict of interest... is that even a possibility? Is that how it works?

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-03-07 07:46:30


I think I've got it! Namo is the 'comic' strip artist known as "The Hun"!

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Posted by iflitifloat 2004-03-07 07:54:18


Would that be Richard the Hun?

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Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-07 11:18:20


MasterLCZ, perhaps it is you who needed to exhibit more care when reading my post. I wrote," Have you ever walked through...a...museum LIKE the Met..." I conflated all the works of art under one (fictional) roof to make my point.

Canavesio did indeed exist and painted frescoes which can be found at the pilgrimage chapel of Notres-Dames-des-Fontaines, a few miles outside La Brigue in Provence. I have seen them and they are extraordinary. They are the subject of a book written by Veronique Pletsch, "PAINTER AND PRIEST: Giovanni Canavesio and the Passion Cycle at Notre-Dame-des-Fontaines," which is to be published soon. You can also find reproductions of them in the Provence edition of the "Art-Architecture-Landscape" series published by Konemann and in "The Most Beautiful Villages in Provence."
The school of Giovanetti also did exist. The tempera paintings from this school representing episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist, including his beheading, can be found in the chapel of the Val de Benediction charterhouse in Villaneuve-les-Avignon.
You are correct about the Van Dyck Crucifixion. It can be found in the sacristy of San Marcello di Corsi in Rome.

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Posted by etoile 2004-03-07 12:52:40


Iflitifloat and Master, something tells me that Namo would spell it with a "g" on the end of the name Richard the Hun.

And often, especially in the media, there are contractual clauses that forbid reaching overlapping audiences or markets. Similar to the idea that Kristin can only sign her Sony CD. The fact the he's been seen lurking tells me he at least is keeping his finger on the pulse of what's going on here. He's not been banned from posting, so his absence is self imposed. What else would explain it?

And I can't believe the restraining order idea would be appropriate for Namo. Those seem more fitting for...say...a TheaterTeacher or a GuyGiltzy.

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Posted by MasterLcZ 2004-03-07 12:58:44


From your post, MM you definitely made it sound like the Met owned those pictures that you refer to.

You seem to know a great deal about exceedingly minor provincial French painters, though given a choice, I prefer the more courtly work of Josse Liefrinxe, the Master of St. Giles and Jean Hey.

As far as Van Dyck passion subjects, my favorite is the "Ecce Homo" in Birmingham, which has a very pale and sophisticated harmony of color. Van Dyck's work as a religious painter mostly just misses, in my opinion, though I do think the Munich "Lamentation" (again, with a relatively unscathed Christ) is tremendous.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-03-07 14:16:32


What people are overlooking is that in Medieval times, it was customary for people to contemplate the Passion of Christ with great fervor. They venerated his wounds and in many instances, they became stigmatics--where these very wounds appeared on their bodies. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Padre Pio, St. Rita of Cascia and many others bore these bleeding wounds on their bodies with pride. All of them claim they received their stigmata while contemplating Christ's sufferings. Quite frankly, all of this can be a form of "mind over matter", or what Carol Channing claims is "what you perceive of you will become".

I guess it all points to the fact that Mel Gibson has a Medieval approach to The Greatest Story Ever Told. (I wonder if he owns a penitential whip or wears a hairshirt?)

oodles, mr. gobson has oodles
Posted by papalovesmambo 2004-03-08 09:42:44


$212 million in the first 12 days. not bad for a jesus movie with subtitles. and that's just domestic...

re: oodles, mr. gobson has oodles
Posted by Auggie27 2004-03-08 10:00:45


You're right, Papa. Box Office is a kind of bottom line. As Ronald Reagan famously said after Jesse Jackson negotiated the release of the hostages, "Well, you can't argue with success.."

re: re: oodles, mr. gobson has oodles
Posted by magruder 2004-03-08 12:48:19


To quote Frank Rich again:

"If Hitler did a movie with these numbers, we'd give him his next deal," one Jewish mogul told me in a phone conversation this week.



The Passion of the Christ
Posted by RobbO 2004-03-09 20:56:36


a question that may seem very obvious to others, but.... why is the film called "the passion of THE Christ" ??

is it like "THE" one and only??

re: The Passion of the Christ
Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-03-09 20:59:37


Sequels could be

1. Mel Gibson's " The Resurrection "
2. Mel Gibson's " The Afterlife"
3. Mel Gibson's " The Devil "

re: re: The Passion of the Christ
Posted by RobbO 2004-03-09 21:02:19


no, really is it a sign of respect?

re: re: re: The Passion of the Christ
Posted by MusicMan 2004-03-09 21:32:35


The word CHRISTOS is the Greek approximation for the Hebrew word, Messias, or, "the anointed one." Thus, it is a title, not a proper name, which accounts for the usage of the article before it.

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Posted by HunterFosterIsMyGod 2004-03-10 18:46:52


aggg, my throat hurts. i can't think about the Passion right now.

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Posted by Dollypop 2004-03-11 22:05:35


Lew Wallace's novel BEN-HUR is subtitled "at tale of THE Christ"

"Christ" is synonymous with "Messiah", which is commonly prefaced with "the". Therefore, Gibson's movie is inferred as being a tale of THE Messiah.

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Posted by RobbO 2004-03-11 23:50:52


thanks!

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-03-20 23:53:27


My wife & I saw it today & were blown away

She would not have seen it on her own. She is Jewish but did not think it was anti semetic. The actor who plated JC was great & had to go thru a physical hell to make it. The part of Mary was sizeable In most religious epics, she has a few lines & smiles a little at the beginning. The religious epics of the 60's were sanitized. This could never have been done back than. It is interesting to think of all the movies done & how each role in each film was written & how each role was interpreted by the actors. The crucifixion scene was powerful ending with an earthquake. In Barabbas, it ended with a real solar eclipse. The resurrection was understated. In The Greatest Story Ever Told, Pat Boone dressed in a white robe as an angel was sitting in the tomb after Christ had risen

I noticed a goof & there were a few others ( continuity etc )I am told. The film has undeniable power & will be debated for years to come. It is interesting to see a new take on an old story.

I highly recommend it , for whatever it is worth.

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Posted by thirdrowcenter 2004-03-21 00:02:22


Okay, Jesus was a Jew...and all the Jews in the movie had big noses. Why doesn't he have a big nose in the movie? What's up with that?

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Posted by etoile 2004-03-21 01:15:19


Perhaps Mel, like so many others, missed the big nose memo. Didn't realize it was an obligatory requirement.

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Posted by FindingNamo 2004-03-21 01:20:31


The man raised Lazarus from the dead. How hard could some self-rhinoplasty be?

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Posted by Mr Roxy 2004-03-21 20:31:34


Two parts of the Passion not in any other religious epic I have ever seen

1. Peter cutting off the ear of a soldier & Christ putting it back on.
2. Roman soldier piercing Christs side to make sure he is dead