Thursday, February 19, 2004

Christianity Today's Passion of the Christ round-up

Christianity Today has a very useful round-up on the latest on The Passion of the Christ including links to and excerpts from the first official reviews of the film, and going on with some news items:

Film Forum: The First Official Passion of the Christ Reviews
. . . . In an article appearing soon at Steve Lansingh's The Film Forum, film critic Stef Loy says, "The Passion of the Christ is a visceral, cinematic pulse enabler, raw and bloody, ready to bite into your heart and cause your eyes to well up with tears. Never before has the language of cinema had the potential to challenge the church at large to wake up to the reality of film. It is here to speak and move, to challenge our preconceived notions about life, to affect us in ways that no other medium will ever aspire to." . . . . .
On the news side, it reports on the Diane Sawyer ABC interview with Mel Gibson, including the following two items:
He revealed that the controversial line spoken by Jews in the film—"His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25)—would not appear in subtitles, so as not to provoke misunderstandings of how that line should be interpreted. Those words can be heard, however, by viewers who do not require subtitles.

Gibson also assured us that he would not add a printed message at the end of the film dissuading viewers from behaving hatefully toward the Jewish people. "That assumes that there is something wrong with my film for me to do that, and I don't think there is."
You can read the ABC News feature and watch the video here:

Pain and Passion
Mel Gibson Tackles Addiction, Recovery and the Controversies Over His New Film

The Christianity Today piece also quotes New Testament scholar Eugene E. Lemcio who wrote a letter to the Seattle Times:
In The Seattle Times, Eugene E. Lemcio, Ph.D., professor of New Testament studies at Seattle Pacific University, wrote with concern about the hubbub over the film's emotional impact on its audience. "I am disturbed by some of the reported comments by those who have [seen the film]— those that go along these lines: 'There was not a dry eye in the house,' and 'People sobbed throughout.' Is this what makes a film successful and important—that we can all have a good cry? My hope is that viewers will (re)read the Gospels to discover how restrained they are in depicting Jesus' suffering and death. They do not exploit these obviously emotional events. Unless we ask what the suffering and death were about, unless there is an attempt to see how the end of Jesus' life is related to the beginning and middle (and how physical suffering solves a spiritual problem), we will have denied him (and ourselves) justice."

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