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  1. #1
    CC International Master Goughfather's Avatar
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    The Passion of the Christ

    I thought that I might provide a forum here for people to talk about their thoughts about the abovementioned film. Since we have a diverse range of backgrounds on this BB, it will be interesting to see what people have thought. I'm still processing through it all, so I think that I may provide a detailed analysis of what I thought about the film in the not too distant future.
    "People with guns don't understand. That's why they get guns. Too many misunderstandings." - Jerry Seinfeld, The Little Kicks

  2. #2
    CC International Master Cat's Avatar
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    I haven't seen the film yet but my reading is that the film is anti-semitic, is gratuitously violent and is simply re-writing history. I will see the film and I hope my initial impressions are wrong.

  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_Richards
    I haven't seen the film yet but my reading is that the film is anti-semitic, is gratuitously violent and is simply re-writing history.
    Sounds like a very faithful book-to-film conversion then.

  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Why see this film? Go see Irreversible instead.

    AR

  5. #5
    CC International Master Goughfather's Avatar
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    Hi David,

    From my reading prior to seeing the film, these seem to the main accusations directed at the film. I've read reviews from Protestants, Catholics and non-Christians and there are varying opinions within each of these groups. I did have some preconceptions about how the film would be, and while some of my expectations were met, others were not.

    The following post isn't meant to be a rebuttal, or an argument about the legitimacy of the three main critiques of this film, merely what I derived from the film while watching it, and while reflecting upon it afterwards. Most likely, others who see the film will draw much different conclusions than what I did. Because I am sure that there are many people on this board who wish to see the film to decide for themselves, I'll be deliberately vague about the specifics of the film. After all, I wouldn't want to spoil the ending!

    Anti-Semitism

    Sure enough, this film is by no means politically correct. Caiphas, the Jewish High Priest is portrayed as being manipulative and corrupt. Judas Iscariot is also given fairly harsh treatment. However, for every Jewish character seen in a particularly negative light, there is another Jewish character who is portrayed as honourable, upright, and full of integrity. Simon of Cyrene, the man who is said to have carried Jesus' cross particularly stood out to me. Of course, it goes without saying that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus himself were all Jewish characters portrayed in a positive light.

    At the time of the initial outcry, many felt that Gibson's inclusion of the phrase "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matthew 27:25) uttered by the Jews who demanded Jesus crucifixion was distinctly anti-Semitic. For this reason, I was looking out for this quote, but it was surprisingly absent. I don't really think that it would have contributed to the passion narrative in any meaningful sense, so it was probably good in the end that it was omitted.

    Gratuitous Violence

    Indeed, the violence is quite brutal at certain points. The fact that it was directed towards one man makes it even worse. The film is, without a doubt, unashamedly graphic.

    I guess the real question is whether such violence was gratuitous. My feeling is that your view will be largely mediated by the perspective from which you are coming. If you see this as some poor guy getting beaten and tortured senselessly for no obvious reason, then of course you will view the violence as being gratuitous. Personally, I found the violence upsetting, not because of the graphic nature of it, but because of who the violence was being perpetrated upon. However, for me, Jesus' torture and execution had a purpose, and for that reason, I saw it as contextualised. Some may say that such a point could have been expressed just as clearly without the level of violence in the film. I respectfully disagree. To sanitise what would have been a horrendous ordeal for Jesus would have been missing the point completely, and would have undermined the lengths to which Jesus went to redeem us, not to mention the depth of his love for us.

    Historical Inaccuracy

    Interestingly enough, most critique has been quite divided on this issue. The Pope was widely publicised for stating "It is as it was", before his minders made an official statement saying that he had never said this. Of course, Gibson clearly stated that he was aiming for realism and historical accuracy in the passion narrative, so it is important for this critique to be critically examined.

    It was clearly evident that Gibson has put extensive research into this project. Nonetheless, there are a significant number of events portrayed in the film that not found within the Gospel tradition, nor, at least in any detail, as written by the historians of the era. The film at points tries to inductively fill in the gaps between the narratives, but there are also elements of apocryphal writings, and Catholic tradition in the mix. If one regarded the film as a historical narrative in the most literal sense, there are clearly aspects which are lacking. This said, I didn't have any real problem with it, because I attributed it to artistic licence, which I regarded as valid in the context of the film.

    Anyway, it shall be interesting to see what more people think once they have seen the film. If nothing else, it is providing an interesting discussion piece and helping to awaken the sense of apathy that many people have about what is, in any way you look at it, a most significant event in human history.

    Regards,
    Goughfather
    Last edited by Goughfather; 27-02-2004 at 10:43 AM.
    "People with guns don't understand. That's why they get guns. Too many misunderstandings." - Jerry Seinfeld, The Little Kicks

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Cheers Maccha. I didn't wanna see this film cos I thought it might be too bloody depressing and all that.

    Dunno if you blokes know this - but on the anti-semitic angle, Mel's father, Hutton Gibson, actually came out and said that the Holocaust business was just exaggerated. Then he crapped on the usual about how them Jews want to create a Jew-dominated world, one religion, etc, etc. That obviously didn't help!

    AR

  7. #7
    CC Grandmaster
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    I have not seen the film and I really doubt I will see the film.
    I will though state, I think that it would be impossible to do an accurate protrayal of the passion of Chirst with out protraying some Jews in a negative light. I don't though think this nesscessarily means the film is anti-semitic. Not having seen it I am not sure wether it is or not. If a film protrays an Australian or a group of Australians in a negative light is it anti-Australian. It may be or may not be.

    As for the violence. What Jesus is recorded to have gone through would have killed most Australians before they were half way through it. Jesus would have been an extremely fit man by todays western standards. There would have been plenty of blood and perhaps flesh flying around during the beatings. I therefore think that the violence, although undoubtably upsetting to alot if not most people could not be avoided if a claim to accuracy of the Biblical accounts could be taken seriously.

    Having said all of this from reports I have heard of the film I think that is probably lacking in some areas.
    Scott

  8. #8
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Goughfather,

    Firstly, I probably won't be rushing out to see this film in the cinemas. I don't see it as a partiularly important work (although it is a very well marketed one) and will be waiting for it to make it to video. I do have an interest in the subject area so it will pique my interest enough to warrant hiring it from the local shop.

    Regarding your three catgories I'd just state the following opinions.

    Anti-semitism. The use of the gospels to justify anti-semitism is nothing new of course. A line has to be drawn between works which promote anti-semitism vs those which may be used and abused by those with an anti-semitic agendas. Judging by what I've heard to date, it sounds like Gibson's Passion is more likely the second.

    Gratuitous Violence. It seems unequivocally clear that this is a violent film. Regading whether such violence is gratuitous or not is a personal thing. I think certain people (especially those raised in a christian tradition) will cite mitigating factors and interprete the violence as non-gratuitous. However, those raised in other traditions may or may not share this view depending on their own orientation.

    Historical Accuracy. I assume you mean accuracy to the early gospel texts from C2AD. Whether you actually term this "historical" accuracy is probably a sematic point which we could spend some time discussing further, but won't. Obviously, some license is necessary to adapt the story from these early texts to the cinemagraphic medium.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    Account Permanently Banned PHAT's Avatar
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    Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

    See the film, THEN post.


  10. #10
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Sweeney
    Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

    See the film, THEN post.
    From the office of Mel Gibson's publicist.

    But saying those who haven't seen the film have no right to comment on it is rank elitism. Surely we have a right to voice opinions regarding issues in the public space. You have to have been a survivor contestant to have not been exposed to the issues raised by the film over the last 2 weeks.

    As I said I am making a conscious decision not to watch the film at the cinemas. Mainly because I don;t think it will have anything new to say on the topic but also partially because I abhor the marketing strategy being employed for this film.

    I say DON'T go see the film! POST here INSTEAD!!! :p
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  11. #11
    CC International Master Cat's Avatar
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    Even Tolkien described the New Testament as a 'wonderful' myth ( but one rooted in reality he thought). He said the texts contain all the essential elements of excellent mythology (I'm paraphrasing).

    Quite simply, crucifixion is a Roman act. There is no Jewish tradition that I am aware of that includes crucifixion and the only reference to Pilate by Josephus describes how he slaughtered and brutalised 2000 rebellious Gallileans, with no mention of a messiah, or the Jews being involved in the slaughter.

    By the time Eusabius published his canon gosbels in 400 ad it was unthinkable that the Romans had murdered their own God, so Pilate is supposed to have 'washed his hands' of the affair and the Jews were the ones now demanding Jesus' blood.

    It was to ignite 1500 years of European anti-semitism culminating in the Nazi holocaust. The issue hasn't ever really been raised (to this degree) since the war, and I fear it may provoke another round of religious intolerance.

  12. #12
    Account Permanently Banned PHAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    From the office of Mel Gibson's publicist.

    But saying those who haven't seen the film have no right to comment on it is rank elitism. Surely we have a right to voice opinions regarding issues in the public space.
    Hang on. The thread is "The Passion of Christ", is it not. We are talking movie, we are talking effects of said movie, we are talking Art Vs History Vs Jew. Unless one sees the film, one cannot claim to have a balanced view on this three way. I will not make any comment UNTIL I see the film.

    If someone wants talk about anti-Semitism, Gratuitous Violence , or Historical Accuracy, start another thread. Using TPOC in support of your postion, whatever it may be, is simply not on - unless you have seen the film.


  13. #13
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Sweeney
    I will not make any comment UNTIL I see the film.
    Good for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Sweeney
    If someone wants talk about anti-Semitism, Gratuitous Violence , or Historical Accuracy, start another thread. Using TPOC in support of your postion, whatever it may be, is simply not on - unless you have seen the film.
    Rubbish! You don't have to have seen the film to have been exposed to the most hyped film in living memory. I don't think it is inappropriate to voice an opinion on the hype nor to clarify the unclear sematic points in Goughfather's original post. In fact as I was referencing these points in my post I would strongly argue that this thread was the most appropriate place to post that message. The only thing where seeing the film would have made a difference to my post was with regarding anti-semitism and I clearly flagged it as opinion based on what was reported in the media and not first hand.

    So get off your high horse, take the blinkers off and put them on the horse, for a change!
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  14. #14
    Account Permanently Banned PHAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    Rubbish! You don't have to have seen the film to have been exposed to the most hyped film in living memory. I don't think it is inappropriate to voice an opinion on the hype nor to clarify the unclear sematic points in Goughfather's original post. ...So get off your high horse, take the blinkers off and put them on the horse, for a change!
    OK. It is fine to talk about the hype, and butcher Goughfather - even if his post was very reasonable. I mean, who really needs a good reason to stab a believer in the throat with a carving fork.

    And yes, I was/am making a pre-emptive USAesk cavalry strike at those who would condem the film unseen.

  15. #15
    Mr Bulldogs Paul S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Sweeney
    Dear all, If you haven't seen the film, SHUT UP!

    See the film, THEN post.

    Well said, Matthew!

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