Friday, March 21, 2008

The Passion, episode 3

The third episode of The Passion was broadcast tonight on BBC1. I was on the road so was unable to watch it, but will catch up on Sunday (I've seen it lots of times before, but I like to get the full televisual experience of watching it at the same time as everyone else). I am not doing my own reviews of The Passion, at least not for a year or two, because of my involvement in the production. In fact, I don't know that it's ever appropriate for people who played a role (however small) in a production to review it, though they might offer reflections at some point. That is something I have done a little of already, but I would like to do at much greater length in the future. There are all sorts of interesting little pieces of background information that would be interesting to share, but all at the right time. For now, I am fascinated to be listening to others' reactions. And generally speaking, reactions so far have been very encouraging.

For those who missed the episode but who are in the UK, it's available in the iPlayer for another week; you can access it directly from The Passion website. There are several sets of reviews and reflections already available. Doug Chaplin on Metacatholic is still finding more to like than not to like (The Passion continues, and rather well). It's all worth reading, but I found this observation particularly interesting:
One feature that any Jesus film brings home is the difficulty of narrating the terse stories of the gospels over anything like a sufficiently dramatic time span when portrayed on the screen. This was part of the effectiveness of the imprisoning of Jesus in a kind of well in Caiaphas’ courtyard. It gave a sense of time passing to the events, without seriously elongating the trial scenes with invented dialogue.
Gemma Simmonds, SJ, has a positive review over onThinking Faith
. . . . The richness of this production is in those momentary looks of realisation. Pilate looks at Jesus and knows there is more to this than he can see. Claudia’s frenzy is quelled by Pilate’s pragmatism and her own realisation of the risk Jesus represents to what makes her life bearable. Caiaphas’s whole face quivers with intensity and horror as he hears Jesus utter words that would destroy all that he has tried so desperately to save. . . .
And Matt Page, on Bible Films Blog, continues his very helpful Scene Guides series (Part One Scene Guide; Part Two Scene Guide) with his Part Three Scene Guide and connected reflections, including some thoughts on how it would have come across if had been broadcast in the originally planned six half-hour episodes. He wonders how HBO will treat it. My guess would be (and I have heard nothing on this, so it is only a guess) that they will broadcast it in thee x one hour episodes, which will actually end up producing another interesting but different viewing experience.

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