Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index Flipside Movie Emporium
Discussion Forums Locked & Archived for Browsing
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Passion of the Christ
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.28.2004 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apart from AB, has anyone else seen it?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.28.2004 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. Still sorting through my thoughts.

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 02.28.2004 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just returned from it. Hated it, truly thought it was a very bad movie. I, too, am still sorting through my thoughts, but I am sure that they are all almost entirely negative. This is barely even a movie - it's a sermon dressed up in movie clothing. I tried to ignore the religiosity of it, to simply admire it as a fictional story, but Gibson makes that impossible: he rubs our faces in the overzealous drama of it all. Every second of the movie is composed either of relentless gore or of lofty choruses belting out a mindnumbingly religious soundtrack. Of course the movie should be bloody and grim - crucifixions are, by nature - but there is nothing else to this movie but grim, violent religious showboating. (Some have complained that Gaspar Noe was simply a showoff with his revoltingly violent scenes in Irreversible; I think Gibson's nonstop violence is equally repellent.) Basically what it amounts to is Gibson trying to make unreligious viewers feel guilty because of their lack of faith, an intention made blatant in several moments (Jesus line "If I am persecuted, you will all be persecuted as well" said directly to the camera, directly to the audience; one of the last images, Mary cradling Jesus' dead body, as she, again, is looking directly at the audience, directly at the camera, as if saying, "This is what happens when you don't have faith!!!"; and the fact that one of the first lines in the film, Jesus saying to Peter, Paul, and John, "Stay there, watch, and pray," is probably addressed more directly to the audience). The movie doesn't deserve its controversy, for I found no anti-Semitism and nothing that would even remotely offend Christians. But it is, nonetheless, a poor film: Braveheart by way of the Gospel.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.07.2004 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a quick synopsis of the controversy, this is fascinating reading:

http://www.rsingermanson.com/html/passion_movie.html

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 03.07.2004 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm centering in on my parents allowing me to see it. Hopefully today I will. Damn MPAA. Laughing
_________________
Danny Baldwin

View My Reviews
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
juhsstin
Camera Operator


Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 87

PostPosted: 03.08.2004 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i saw it and i thought it was entertaining at least. i can see how some poeple would be repulsed by his seeming "in your face" sermon style, but i think that's a subjective opinion. gibson has a mere flare for the melodramatic anyways...

i can't really comment otherwise. it certainly isn't like most movies. it seems more like part of a movie and having seen LOTR, i couldn't help wondering if gibson has/had some prequel/postquel ideas for this.
_________________
Who let the dogs out?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.08.2004 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I continue to be fascinated by how hatred and vitriol comes in many disparate forms. Just read this over at imdb:

The Passion Of The Christ star James Caviezel is being protected by a security team from attack by religious fanatics following his performance as Jesus Christ in the Mel Gibson movie. Studio bosses are concerned that zealots will attack Caviezel for his role in the controversial film and have hired a 'protection squad.' A furious mob have already screamed 'anti-Semite' and hurled a bucket of lamb's blood at Oscar-winning actor and director Gibson in a New York street. A studio source tells British tabloid newspaper Daily Star On Sunday, "There are some crazy people out there and everything is being done to protect Mel and Jim from physical attack." Caviezel, a devout Catholic, says, "Of course I'm scared that someone could get it in his head to make me a target. But I won't let this stop me doing my business. I'm an actor, helping to promote a movie I truly believe in."

Do I need to mention that assuming these zealots stand for all Jews is akin to assuming doctor killers stand for all pro-lifers? I'm also intrigued by how much of the media is only interested in the extremes--as if dividing citizens according to simplistic, maniacal groupings is the only way to share the news.

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 03.08.2004 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juhsstin wrote:
postquel


That made me laugh, I have to say.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 03.09.2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, Beltmann, have you sorted out your thoughts yet?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.09.2004 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have. I've been talking about it at length for the last couple weeks; I haven't posted a response because I haven't been motivated to write it all down. I'm still not. Primarily, though, my response has less to do with the twin contexts of violence and spirituality and more to do with other aspects of the movie I found effective. I'd argue that while many Christian supporters are blinded by its subject, many of its detractors have been blinded by the same. There's a great deal to admire in this picture that has very little to do with Jesus or the Gospels.

As for the charge of anti-Semitism, I felt that if I were Jewish there are some images I might take issue with. I can't agree that "history" automatically justifies Gibson's version, partially because history remains foggy and partially because any artistic representation always carries with it a certain degree of interpretation. In this case, Gibson has chosen to include large mobs of Jews clamoring for blood--and while that may be historically accurate, Gibson opts not to dramatize the historical fact that said mob contained many non-Jews as well. (In other words, the same historical "facts" might look different in the hands of a different artist.) Another example: Gibson depicts the lair of Herod as a decadent palace filled with cackling minions, and Herod is played by an actor with eyeliner and clear Jewish features. Is this a negative stereotype? If I were Jewish, I might take offense.

I'd like to add, though, that I don't believe Ciaphus and Herod are meant to stand for anyone other than Ciaphus and Herod. While these images might be provocative, I don't think they amount to much when placed within context of the film entire. We can use them to call the film anti-Semitic, but to do so would require conveniently overlooking the passages that obviously depict compassionate, forgiving, and mournful Jews. It would also require conveniently overlooking the passages that depict Romans as equally bloodthirsty and barbaric. Viewing the film as a whole, it seems clear that Gibson blames all, and never intends to fuel hatred for any single group.

To conclude, I do not consider Gibson nor the film anti-Semitic, although I can understand why some Jewish organizations are worried--someone already filled with hate may find in this film what they are looking for. I don't think that's reason for an artist to avoid a subject--should we never make a film about Pearl Harbor, or 9/11, in order to avoid stirring up those who already hate Asians or Arabs?--but it does mean an artist has a responsibility to be cautious with the images he chooses to disseminate. I'm not sure Gibson has been completely sensitive regarding this point.

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.09.2004 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I attended a nearly sold-out show with a friend--hats off, mfritschel!--and to our right was a woman who politely asked, "Are you apprehensive?" Then she leaned in, and asked, "Do you believe?" Her twin inquiries encapsulated how so many people are viewing the film within a limited framework--the contexts of violence or spirituality. When the lights dimmed, a woman to our left whispered, "Here we go." I suppose her idea that the movie was a roller coaster may have referred to either context, but I was resolved not to approach the film with such a limiting, ready-made apparatus.

I should admit I was least interested in the movie in terms of spiritual uplift. I did not glean anything in terms of theology, and felt unmoved as a Christian. This may say more about my prior knowledge regarding this event--or my ability to stomach buckets of gore!--but since that context demands a subjective response (as juhsstin pointed out), I'm unwilling to decide whether the "spiritual" content functions as good or bad art. What universal standards ought to be applied when making such a determination? I'll say that I personally found Last Temptation of Christ infinitely more thought-provoking and inquisitive in terms of theology, but that's apples and oranges: Gibson never intended to create an internalized theological quest, and his artistic approach has its own validity. (In my opinion, Gibson even surpasses Scorsese in certain respects, including a much deeper sense of verisimilitude.) While some critics have correctly observed that the movie doesn't capture the love and joy that Christ represents, I don't see why that's inherently negative: If Gibson as an artist has decided to focus his version on something else--namely, physical suffering--isn't that a valid artistic goal? The only question is whether he is successful at achieving his intended goal; we shouldn't fault him for not making the movie we wanted him to make.

Without going into detail, I'll offer a few other contexts by which to consider the movie. Does it successfully dramatize...

The psychology of guilt and betrayal?

How mob rule works?

Mediterranean politics under the Roman Empire?

How cruel human beings can be to fellow man?

How such barbarism has been historically administered?

How self-preservation instincts warp our sense of justice, or humanity?

A miscarriage of justice?

How much abuse the human body can tolerate?

How forgiveness can follow even the gravest abuses?

How sacrifice is a virtue?

The melodrama of this particular story/myth?

How we all feel about our bodies, and feel apprehension about its injury?

The barbarism of the death penalty?

I'd say the movie is very powerful on at least a few accounts (although I think the bone-crunching Touching the Void is far more effective at mining our fear of bodily harm). The last one especially intrigues me. I doubt Gibson intended it, but the movie offers enough evidence to suggest a capital punishment theme, from the opening title "he who lives by the sword...," to a flashback taking a merciful POV regarding a stoning, to the spurting blood of the crucifixion. To one so inclined--such as myself--the movie may function as an anti-death penalty tract.

I also think the visual design of the movie (as many critics have pointed out, it looks inspired by Caravaggio and the Stations of the Cross) is a considerable artistic achievement. And while I'm convinced the historical Jesus looks nothing like Jim Caviezel or his white skin, I still feel his performance ranks among the finest, most soulful the role has ever had.

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 03.10.2004 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I hated the movie, but I agree with many of your views. My responses:

Quote:
I did not glean anything in terms of theology, and felt unmoved as a Christian.


Nor did I, and I also think that Gibson wasn't trying to explore the intricacies of theology. He was not interested in broadening Christians' horizons, nor in expanding the Bible in any artistic arenas. But I think he was interested in broadening the horizons of non-religious people - that is, he seems to be trying to convert them. There's nothing inherently ignoble about that (one could even call that passion admirable), but the way he seems to condemn some viewers' lack of theology is still what gets to me.

Quote:
If Gibson as an artist has decided to focus his version on something else--namely, physical suffering--isn't that a valid artistic goal?


That certainly is a valid goal, but if my supposition is right and Gibson is trying to admonish non-believers so that their faith may be restored, what will attract them to a religious community that Gibson depicts as nothing but hypocrites, idiots, cowards, and warmongers among a few martyrs? This was an extremely personal reaction, since I do not care for organized religion and felt that Gibson was seriously talking down to folks like me, folks who don't attend church every Sunday (although I do believe in God). As such, I was personally appalled at his insistence on punishing the unreligious (did I imagine all of Gibson's finger-pointing? I don't think so), yet his film couldn't make me care less about religion, despite all of the drama and passion that he throws into it.

Quote:
Does it successfully dramatize... How mob rule works?



Yes. It's the most interesting part of the movie.

Quote:
How much abuse the human body can tolerate?



Yes, but how is making such a movie any different than making a snuff film that just happens to star Jesus?

Quote:
How forgiveness can follow even the gravest abuses?



I don't think so: the eruption of the earth and the implied rotting in hell of some of Jesus' tormentors seems to stress vengeance over forgiveness.

Quote:
I also think the visual design of the movie (as many critics have pointed out, it looks inspired by Caravaggio and the Stations of the Cross) is a considerable artistic achievement. And while I'm convinced the historical Jesus looks nothing like Jim Caviezel or his white skin, I still feel his performance ranks among the finest, most soulful the role has ever had.



I agree with you on those counts. The cinematography and production design is exquisite, especially the harshness of the skin tones. The warmth of the infrequent flashbacks, visually and emotionally, are very profound. And Caviezel gives a great performance especially with his eyes: there is hurt constantly in them, physical but mental as well.

Quote:
I'd argue that while many Christian supporters are blinded by its subject, many of its detractors have been blinded by the same.


I found it extremely hard to ignore the subject, which I had the intention of doing before I sat down to watch it. I wanted to look past the religiosity of it, and whenever I did I found much technical accomplishment worth appreciating; but Gibson seriously rubs our faces in the religious context of it, more so in his treatment of the audience than in anyone onscreen. My main reason for not liking the movie always reverts to this. I think Gibson intentionally breaks down the fourth wall, staring right at us and punishing us. I read a review (can't remember the source) that said it seems as though Gibson is punishing us for our sins, namely lack of faith. That, to a T, is my main problem with the movie. Many people have been blinded by the subject and have unfairly criticized it, but I also think Gibson's treatment of the film can be the cause of some of the blindness.

Quote:
Is this a negative stereotype? If I were Jewish, I might take offense.



My family is Jewish (I don't adhere to any religious group), but I wasn't very offended by Gibson's depiction of Jews. As you said, there are stereotypes to be found - Herod's sinful lair, certainly, and also Judas grubbing pieces of gold off of the ground, the stereotype of the money-grubbing Jew - but I don't think Gibson intentionally tried to cast blame on Jews in particular. There are many depictions of noble, kind, gentle Jews in the film, as you said, and these respites from nonstop cruelty are among the most effective parts of the film.

Quote:
Viewing the film as a whole, it seems clear that Gibson blames all...


Got that right. Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
billrocks
Grip


Joined: 10 Mar 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: 03.10.2004 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The movie was painful to watch. I guess I'm not worried so much by how "good" people will react upon seeing this film. Rather I am concerned about how those with otherwise dormant anti-semitism might use the passion to justify thosefeelings - they killed Christ after all!

check out http://www.christ-killer.com for an interesting twist on the whole issue. The site's not what you might think - it is subtitled "The Fashion of the Christ"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.10.2004 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can understand where you are coming from, although I'd still argue that the degree by which the spiritual elements succeed--or get in the way--is highly subjective. I'm not an every-Sunday kind of guy, either (like you, I have serious reservations about organized religion, and feel a closer relationship with Dickinson's method of worship), but during The Passion I never once felt a finger wagging at me, and never felt that Gibson designed to "punish" the lapsed or the unbelieving. Instead, I'd argue that he's focusing on the physical punishment for other reasons, and it's our job to discover what they are.

I agree completely that the depiction of mob rule is the most powerful and effective aspect of the film. I never sensed a call for vengeance, though. I read the earthly eruption as a sign of the moment's mighty significance--mighty because it saves, not kills--and wasn't the tormentor in hell Satan, merely at home? (Perhaps I'm forgetting a scene that you remember, though.)

I've heard the "snuff film" analogy made before, and I think there's too much going on around the violence to make the label stick. There's a definite context for the violence, clearly attached to thematic material. By definition it's more than snuff. (Does that make it up to snuff?) Very Happy

Besides, I prefer films that deal with the genuine consequences of violence to those that reduce it to cartoon soma, anesthetizing us.

I do think you raise an interesting point about "just happening to star Jesus." Let's pretend the main character is merely an anonymous man, unfamiliar to us, sans theological significance. I'd argue the movie would still work as drama--and perhaps be even more effective for it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.10.2004 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

billrocks wrote:
The movie was painful to watch. I guess I'm not worried so much by how "good" people will react upon seeing this film. Rather I am concerned about how those with otherwise dormant anti-semitism might use the passion to justify thosefeelings - they killed Christ after all!


I sympathize with that POV. Like I said above, "I can understand why some Jewish organizations are worried--someone already filled with hate may find in this film what they are looking for. I don't think that's reason for an artist to avoid a subject--should we never make a film about Pearl Harbor, or 9/11, in order to avoid stirring up those who already hate Asians or Arabs?--but it does mean an artist has a responsibility to be cautious with the images he chooses to disseminate."

Eric
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Page 5 of 6

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001-2007 phpBB Group