Катя (inostranka) wrote,
Катя
inostranka

Hated with a passion

Against my better judgment went to see the latest fad - The Passion of Christ. Personally, I wanted (and continue to want) to see Monster and Bertoulucci's The Dreamers, but, alas, I had to succumb to peer pressure and the desire to know what everyone else (who usually also has not seen it) is talking about. Anyways, IMHO, the movie does not justify either the time it takes to watch it or the sadistic details it so enjoys depicting in its last two thirds.

So, public flagellation is not pleasant and crucifixion is not so joyous an event, either. Is it worth watching a movie about these particular events in a person's life? Like a friend of mine commented, you could make a two hour film about extraction of wisdom teeth. There's no character development, no historical framework set, no description of what it is Christ did or wanted to do, and why he elicited such a strong reaction from his Jewish contemporaries; not even a hint of an explanation of how his life or death fit with his self-belief of being the son of God, or how his death is connected to all of mankind's sins. I guess, the viewer is supposed to know all of that beforehand, but, in that case, why make a movie about it at all?

On the plus side, I actually understood quite a bit of the Aramaic (a language spoken in Judea and close to modern Hebrew), which was quite enjoyable - haven't spoken or listened to Hebrew in a while. It also added to my belief in the movie's authenticity.

As far as the anti-Semitic charges - even with my twisted Jewish-biased outlook, I could not detect any intentional anti-Jewish sentiment, beyond what is naturally present in the New Testament (from my limited knowledge thereof). One can pretty successfully argue, as has been done for centuries, that the account of the New Testament cannot possibly be historically accurate (in fact, no contemporary historians mention Jesus specifically, and Pontius Pilates, who is a fairly well-documented historical figure, seems to have been a vicious and cruel man even among the generally not-nice field of procurators, quite the opposite of the Bible's portrayal) and that it portrays the Jews highly unfavorably. I wholeheartedly agree, but that makes the New Testament, and not Mr. Gibson or his movie, anti-Semitic. Finally, picking just the "punishment" part of Jesus's lifecycle again seems to be a bit slanted to make the Jews look bad, if one wanted to see it that way, but my view is that Mel Gibson just picked it to be able to concentrate on just the suffering of Christ, just to allow the sadistic scenes to take up more than half of the movie. For example, it is only the Romans who inflict all of the pain on Jesus, and, in fact, it seems to be a Jew, who helps Jesus carry the cross.

Summary: not worth my time, other than to be able to write this review and hold up my end of the conversation when the subject comes up; no virtues to the movie, as such, with even the controversial charge of anti-Semitism being untrue.
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