The Muslim movie about Jesus, yet again.

The Los Angeles Times had a brand-new item last week on Jesus, the Spirit of God, the Iranian film that depicts the life of Jesus from a Muslim point of view — including the belief that it was someone else, possibly Judas, who was crucified and not Jesus himself.

The Times story is accompanied by the video below:

http://video.latimes.com/global/video/flash/widgets/WNVideoCanvas.swf
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

Some of the more interesting details to emerge in this story include:

There is another irony. The actor who plays Jesus, Ahmad Soleimani-Nia, once was a soldier in the Iranian army and later a welder for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, which the Bush administration accuses of pursuing nuclear weapons. Such footnotes don’t seem odd when talking with Talebzadeh, who has kept Nia in Jesus character — flowing hair, beard, mystic pose — for seven years because he never knows when he might shoot new sequences for the film.

The actor has kept a pose for seven years!?

The rough, choppily edited $5-million film, condensed from a 1,000-minute-long series that will soon air on Iranian TV, reveres Jesus as a blessed prophet speaking parables and moving through soft light and angelic chants amid a ruckus of zealots and conspiring Pharisees.

A thousand minutes!! That’s, like, almost 17 hours. I guess that’s not too impossible, though, considering it’s about the length of 22 hour-long TV episodes without the commercials — in other words, the length of a typical North American TV season.

MAY 5 UPDATE: Matt Page notes that director Nader Talebzadeh “seems more evangelistic in this piece than previous articles have suggested.” He also notes that Times reporter Jeffrey Fleishman posted a brief item about the film at the newspaper’s blog.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).