Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ

From 2008, on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ



I thought it did a great job in portraying the cultic action of the Jewish priesthood offering the "lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". God is the supreme actor in the Passion as Jesus reminds Pilate, and I did hear what Jesus says to Pilate (that is from the Scripture) in a way that I never heard before..."what do we do with the power that God has given us?"



I've heard a ton of talk about the movie since I've seen it. Rabbi Marc Gelman liked it and thought it resurrected a "real" portrayal of the roots of Christianity in a day when religion is often portrayed in a cartoonish way.



Other rabbi's have condemned it, one saying that all the Jews had "bad teeth." Since everyone in the movie was either a Jew or Roman and Jesus had great teeth, I'm not sure what movie he saw.



But perhaps that is the point about a movie like this, we see what we want to...we go to it looking for confirmation of our preheld views.



Some things that I liked in particular were:



Seeing the Passion from the view of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

Seeing the Eucharist from the view of John...

The interspersing of scenes that in someway made the gave additional interpretation to the events that were taking place.

Overall the movie serves as an excellent meditation on Christ's passion and it's lack of focus on the resurection (only hinted at) gives the viewer a way to apply the passion of Christ to their daily life.



Things that I think were weak:

The opening Garden scene I thought was poorly done. The focus was on the devil (another weakness...), the apostles after being told to stay awake--literally wake up and do watch Jesus (they don't in Scripture--rather they go back to sleep), and Jesus is never sent an angel to strengthen him. I know that some aspects of Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision has supplied this scene, but even her vision is more intersting as the devil displays before Christ all the misinterpretations of his message and the futility of his suffering on the mass of the future humanity--this could have placed the whole passion in context).

I thought there could have been more focus on the cultic action of the Temple and tied that in with Jesus' passion and the hostility of the Jewish priests.

I would have like to have seen the "darkness" that overtakes the whole land to be more eerie than just an impending thunderstorm.



But overall, here is a Passion of Christ that portrays Christ as a man not a wimp, as someone entering a battle and fighting it courageously until it is finished.