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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Monday, February 03, 2003


Gibson's bizarre, beautiful(?) step of faith
I had heard about Mel Gibson's plans to direct a movie about the Passion of Christ all in Latin and Aramaic, with no subtitles, but this is the first I've read about it in depth. (via the Christianity Today Weblog) When I first heard about it, I thought it was strange, risky, and intriguing. Now, I think it's strange, risky and very intriguing, both as a Christian and as someone who enjoys good, daring movies. I'm certainly planning on seeing it when it comes out, and I certainly hope it will be as terribly beautiful as it has the potential to be. But quotes from the actors like this one give me hope—
"Truthfully, it was never up to me," [Jim Caviezel, playing Jesus] says. "I'm interested in letting God work through me to play this role. I believe the Holy Spirit has been leading me in the right direction and to get away from my own physical flesh and allow the character of Jesus to be played out the way God wants it — that's all I can do."

Gibson's been slowly moving towards this sort of blatant faith-based work for a while now, with the cross-and-redemtion-filled The Patriot and then with minister-struggling-with-faith-filled Signs, so when I heard about this concept, I wasn't terribly surprised. Except, you know, about the whole "Aramaic and Latin with no subtitles" thing, about which Gibson says,
"It will lend even more authenticity and realism to the film. Subtitles would somehow spoil the effect that I want to achieve. It would alienate you and you'd be very aware that you were watching a film if you saw lettering coming up on the bottom of it. Hopefully, I'll be able to transcend the language barriers with my visual storytelling. If I fail, I fail, but at least it'll be a monumental failure."

That's the sort of risk-taking I like to hear! I also appreciate Gibson's stated desire to show the death of Christ in all it's pain and agony. It's something I've thought about a lot ever since I heard a counselor give a very picturesque description of it at camp one year. After I had read the medical description of it, I started telling my own version of it at camp, which never failed to impact both me and my wide-eyed campers. I'm glad that the world will now have a visual to go along with it.
"Mel likes to put violence in his movies," [Caviezel] says, "but all he cares about is making it look true to the text. Never before has a film of our Lord been shown like this one. By the time [audiences] get to the crucifixion scene, I believe there will be many who can't take it and will have to walk out — I guarantee it. And I believe there will be many who will stay and be drawn to the truth."

Sounds good to me. Opens Easter 2004—as long as he can find a distributor.

Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!

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