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Movie:The Passion of the Christ(Part 2)
03-30-2009, 07:02 AM
Post: #1
Movie:The Passion of the Christ(Part 2)
The media is now both scapegoat and cause, explanatory framework and rational for the violent society. Of course, religion and politics have been intertwined with violence since the days of universal animism in 6000 to 8000 BP. One writer whom I read over twenty years ago, Guy Murchie, wrote that we’ve had 14,400 wars in recorded history. Violence is as human, it appears, as apple pie or should I say potatoes, pasta or pumpkins?

In The Passion we are exposed to Gibson’s serious effort to represent a particular conflict, a crucial event, in the history of Christianity and its accompanying emotional sensibilities. Can we arrive at a historical account faithful to the evidence when we move from prose, from books, from scriptural text, to film? Poets like Homer(750 BC ca) and historians like Thucydides(420 BC) exaggerated and invented what they wrote to please and engage the audience. It became a convention of historians to insert made-up, but appropriate, speeches into their stories for 2000 years, until at least the sixteenth century.1 Just as poetry can enhance the power of history to convey aspects of the past so, too, can film.

But poetry and film can also be creatures of invention with little connection with the experienced world or the historical past. Film has had only a century to find its way as a medium for history. It’s future, I think, suggests some exciting possibilities. But along the way there will be many false starts. For many, Gibson's film was down that road of false starts.

No single view holds "the truth." Our eyes and ears are different than those of 2000 years ago. Small fragments are inevitably incomplete and this film contained, at best, a small fragment. There is a final unknowability, as Spielberg said in discussing the efforts of film makers to capture the lives of great men. Freud(1.1) said the same of biography in print. A movie blends fiction with true events.2 Considerable artistry, ingenuity and money went into giving "an overall impression of what it really would be like to be transported back into that time"3 of the life of Jesus of Nazereth. For millions, if not for all, Gibson achieved this effect. For millions, too, he did not.

But there remains, it seems to me, too cavalier an attitude to the evidence about lives and attitudes in the past. This evidence is all we have to go on and the imagination must work from there. The danger is that the audience is left with the false impression of "a true story." Considerable dramatic license is taken by directors. The truth status of historical films often remains unclear, obscure. In this film, the story comes from the New Testament. And the evidence in the New Testament is far from clear. It may be clear to those with a more fundamentalist theology, but it has not been clear for at least two hundred years to literally millions of students of the New Testament, liberals, agnostics, atheists, non-Christians, ex-Christians, et cetera.

History is not a closed venture, fixed and still, but open to new discovery and reinterpretation. Spectators don’t just look in at the events of history becoming in the process all-knowing. They look at and engage with the ideology of the director and make their assessments partly in terms of their own ideology, often conscious and unconscious, that they themselves espouse. It is this, among other things, that gives rise to the varied reactions to a film like Gibson’s.

Then, too, cultural historians generally acknowledge that there is a time lag between the moment a new technology like film is invented(1895) and when a full understanding and utilization of the potential of that technology emerges. After one hundred years, I often think we have just begun to utilize the power of cinema. I wonder how long it took civilization to begin to use the wheel with dramatic effect after its invention in about 3500 BC?

The flow of images in our lives is increasingly torrential. Film images often cloud reality with pseudo-events. We are often adrift in an illusion that seems real. Peter Weir’s 1998 film "The Truman Show" illustrated what is often called ‘the cultivation effect.’ Put another way, cinema transforms the world into a spectacle. There is a mysterious energy in the swirl of shadows and light in film that is sometimes called mise en scene and it often produces a vain and empty show, a show that bears the mere semblance of reality. It is this mise en scene that captures our attention, or repels it, although often we are looking at a vapour in the desert which we dream to be water but, when we try to taste it, we find it is but illusion.

Married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50Cool
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05-09-2009, 01:34 AM
Post: #2
RE: Movie:The Passion of the Christ(Part 2)
I read your first & second post regarding this movie and I want to download it.

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06-19-2010, 07:23 AM
Post: #3
RE: Movie:The Passion of the Christ(Part 2)
(05-09-2009 01:34 AM)sympathy07 Wrote:  I read your first & second post regarding this movie and I want to download it.
Apologies, sympathy07, for taking so long to get back to you.-Ron Price, you find the film meaningful

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