Son of Man comes to Sundance -- an update
So what do we know so far? IMDb have pretty scant information: Son of Man (2006) but there is more on the Sundance Film Festival website, linked to by Peter Chattaway:
World Dramatic Competition: Son of Man
South Africa, 2005, 86 Minutes, colorPeter also links to a Reuters article:
Mark Dornford-May, Andiswa Kedama, Pauline Malefane
The story of Jesus reclaimed as an African fable: a simple concept becomes a remarkable cinematic experience in Son of Man. This is the second installment from the collaboration of director Mark Dornford-May and the South African theatre company, Dimpho Di Kopane. The moniker means "combined talents," and it aptly describes the incredible creative energy on both sides of the camera. Shot against the backdrop of a violence-riddled township and with text updated to modern time, Son of Man delivers one indelible impression after another. Mary conceives the Christ child during a militia attack on a grade school, Jesus asks for the surrender of handguns from his apostles, and the angel Gabriel is a precocious child marked with simple white feathers. Equally intriguing is the melding of the crucifixion and resurrection–alluding to the fact that in today's Africa, political dissidents, as Jesus was, are conveniently made to disappear. In song and originality, the spirit of Son of Man is contagious, a life-enriching elixir for Christians and non-Christians alike who feel mired in the unyielding bigotry of fundamentalism. By modernizing one of the world's most famous stories, Son of Man creates lasting resonance and imparts a significance that is truly glorious.— John Cooper
Black Jesus film preaches politics over religion
Billed as the world's first black Jesus movie, "Son of Man" portrays Christ as a modern African revolutionary and aims to shatter the Western image of a placid savior with fair hair and blue eyes.I suppose spoil-sport Historical Jesus scholars will want to point out that Israel was not "an occupied state" (e.g. see E. P. Sanders's excellent article, Jesus in Historical Context), or that it is an oversimplification to think of Jesus "preaching equality" (e.g. see John H. Elliott's Jesus was not an egalitarian), but hey, it's a new Jesus film and there's plenty to be excited about. It's an interesting comment that this is "the world's first black Jesus movie". I can't think of another off-hand, though one that comes close is !Hero, a rock opera that is available on DVD (filmed stage show) and record, and -- as I've commented before -- it's well worth the purchase if you don't have it yet.
The South African film, which premieres on Sunday at the U.S. Sundance festival in Utah, transports the life and death of Christ from first century Palestine to a contemporary African state racked by war and poverty.
Jesus is born in a shanty-town shed, a far cry from a manger in a Bethlehem stable. His mother Mary is a virgin, though feisty enough to argue with the angels. Gun-wielding authorities fear his message of equality and he ends up hanging on a cross.
"We wanted to look at the gospels as if they were written by spindoctors and to strip that away and look at the truth," director Mark Dornford-May told Reuters in an interview.
"The truth is that Christ was born in an occupied state and preached equality at a time when that wasn't very acceptable."
Update (Saturday, 01.24): there is more here:
dimpho di kopane :: film :: Son of Man
The page includes a PDF press kit, stills from the film and more.