Mel Gibson's The Passion

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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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Updated On: 2/23/04 at 10:08 PM
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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.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
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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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...global warming can manifest itself as heat, cool, precipitation, storms, drought, wind, or any other phenomenon, much like a shapeshifter. -- jim geraghty

pray to st. jude

i'm a sonic reducer

he was the gimmicky sort

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You mean "what really happened" like "Hey, them Jews REALLY killed our Lord!!"
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
Updated On: 2/24/04 at 08:25 AM
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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.
r.i.p. marco, my guardian angel.

...global warming can manifest itself as heat, cool, precipitation, storms, drought, wind, or any other phenomenon, much like a shapeshifter. -- jim geraghty

pray to st. jude

i'm a sonic reducer

he was the gimmicky sort

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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.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 2/24/04 at 08:52 AM
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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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one person's "myth" is another person's faith.
r.i.p. marco, my guardian angel.

...global warming can manifest itself as heat, cool, precipitation, storms, drought, wind, or any other phenomenon, much like a shapeshifter. -- jim geraghty

pray to st. jude

i'm a sonic reducer

he was the gimmicky sort

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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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By papas logic, "Jud S" is nothing but a simple historical interpretation of life in eighteenth century Stuttgart.
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
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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.
r.i.p. marco, my guardian angel.

...global warming can manifest itself as heat, cool, precipitation, storms, drought, wind, or any other phenomenon, much like a shapeshifter. -- jim geraghty

pray to st. jude

i'm a sonic reducer

he was the gimmicky sort

fenchurch=mejusthavingfun=magwildwood=mmousefan=bkcollector=bradmajors=somethingtotalkabout: the fenchurch mpd collective
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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 S" 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").
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
Updated On: 2/24/04 at 12:32 PM
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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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re: re: re: blood pain torture and#64
Posted: 2/24/04 at 12:58pm
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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Updated On: 2/24/04 at 12:58 PM
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re: re: re: re: blood pain torture and#65
Posted: 2/24/04 at 1:35pm
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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re: re: re: re: re: blood pain torture and#66
Posted: 2/24/04 at 3:18pm
Roger Ebert liked it and believes it is not anti-Semetic. I still won't see it.


Ebert Review of Passion
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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.
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Updated On: 2/24/04 at 08:34 PM
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da vinci#68
Posted: 2/25/04 at 10:23am
everyone here needs to read The Da Vinci Code.
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re: da vinci#69
Posted: 2/25/04 at 10:31am
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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re: re: da vinci#70
Posted: 2/25/04 at 8:00pm
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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re: re: re: da vinci#71
Posted: 2/25/04 at 8:11pm
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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Updated On: 2/25/04 at 08:11 PM
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re: re: re: re: da vinci#72
Posted: 2/25/04 at 10:03pm
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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re: re: re: re: re: da vinci#73
Posted: 2/25/04 at 10:21pm
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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Updated On: 2/25/04 at 10:21 PM
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re: re: re: re: re: re: da vinci#74
Posted: 2/25/04 at 11:14pm
I don't think that reporting a woman died is condemning the film. Probably will bring in even more bucks!
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re: re: re: re: re: re: re: da vinci#75
Posted: 2/25/04 at 11:41pm
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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