Thursday, March 17, 2005

Last Temptation and the Passion of the Christ

Tonight on Channel 4 they are showing The Last Temptation of Christ for the first time in ten years, and they are showing it as part of their "banned" season, and it had a good introduction by Tim Roth. It's a good excuse to watch the film again. High points remain: the Mary Magdalene in adultery / Sermon on the Mount scene and the first of the Temple cleansing scenes. I use both of those scenes in teaching. The latter is such a contrast to King of Kings. There is Jesus, confronting Caiaphas, saying "I have come to bring not peace but a sword". In King of Kings the very same line in the very same context is in the narrator's mouth (Orson Wells), and Jesus does not cleanse the temple, but in line with the pacifist tone of the film, goes in non-violent.

Anyway, what I wanted to comment on was the contrast between the Scorsese film and the recent Mel Gibson film. I made a little of this in my article on The Passion of the Christ but noticed two things tonight that I had not spotted for that article. First, Tim Roth's comment in the introduction, that the film deliberately used New York / Bronx accents to provide an approachable, understandable Jesus and disciples, pointed up to me an obvious contrasts with The Passion of the Christ since the latter famously avoids English altogether, let alone contemporary accents. Second, there is a moment when Jesus is discussing crucifixion with his disciples and Peter is pointing out that a crucified victim suffers extremely, and that a crow might suck out the victim's eyes. It reminded me of that horrid scene in The Passion of the Christ where that very thing happens to one of the robbers crucified with Jesus. I can't think of an ancient source for this, but may be forgetting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought a source for the crow was the book of Proverbs:

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.