Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Passion

I have been watching the BBC's Passion. There have been two episodes with two to come. The set is authentic, the cast excellent and the music atmospheric. The bad guys (Pilate, Caiaphas and Judas) are given a sympathetic hearing and Jesus is deliberately portrayed as a fairly ordinary human being. The trouble is that I don't really like him very much. He appears smug and self aware. I don't think Jesus would have been like that. I think he would have been kinder and gentler. But maybe you'll disagree. And this is the difficulty in making a film about Jesus. Everyone's image of him is different because everyone's image is personal.

There have been many other versions of the passion, some of them stand out above the others. My favourites are Scorcese's Last Temptation of Christ, Monty Python's Life of Brian and the BBC's Manchester Passion. Three very different productions but united by their challenge to us to look at a familiar story from a completely different angle, to see it afresh - something that this Passion has so far failed to do for me.

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