Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Jesus film

I was delighted to see that the version of Jesus shown on BBC2 yesterday and today was the international version and not the CBS version; it's twenty minutes or so longer and has a far superior ending, the "I am with you always . . ." saying segueing into Jesus in contemporary garb in Malta getting mobbed by children. It's difficult to imagine why CBS cut it from the version they broadcast. It's also not on the VHS release which I have, and I don't think it's on the DVD (though I don't own that).

A few more tidbits from this film. Portrayal of Pilate: Gary Oldman plays Pontius Pilate in a manner so reminiscent of Michael Palin's Pilate in Life of Brian that I think it must be deliberate. Location: much of the film was made in Ouarzazate in Morocco. I visited Ouarzazate in January this year for the filming of the BBC/Discovery documentary on St Paul and it was delightful to see it in the Jesus film. There's a real industry there of filming of contemporary Biblical films and documentaries -- even a complete temple construction which was apparently left some years ago by an Italian film company and now it gets used regularly in other films and documentaries. When it was used in St Paul apparently it was crumbling a bit so it had to be touched up with CGI for the TV. I loved visiting Ouarzazate -- some delightful locals who had clearly got used to film crews hanging around there. One other thing about this Jesus film -- the official CBS site seems to have vanished so I've deleted the link on my page for this film and have added instead a link to the extensive Hollywood Jesus review. See:

Jesus (1999)

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