The Iranian Jesus movie and the end times


Breitbart.com posted an article over the weekend about an Iranian Muslim life-of-Jesus movie — and it sounds like this may be one of the two films I wrote about here over a year ago. Jesus, the Spirit of God is directed by Nader Talebzadeh, whose name also appears on the website for The Messiah — and while Talebzadeh says he made the film to emphasize the “common ground” between Christians and Muslims, he also goes on to say that his film shows how Christians got the story “wrong”:

A director who shares the ideas of Iran’s hardline president has produced what he says is the first film giving an Islamic view of Jesus Christ, in a bid to show the “common ground” between Muslims and Christians.

Nader Talebzadeh sees his movie, “Jesus, the Spirit of God,” as an Islamic answer to Western productions like Mel Gibson’s 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” which he praised as admirable but quite simply “wrong”.

“Gibson’s film is a very good film. I mean that it is a well-crafted movie but the story is wrong — it was not like that,” he said, referring to two key differences: Islam sees Jesus as a prophet, not the son of God, and does not believe he was crucified. . . .

Even in Iran, “Jesus, The Spirit of God” had a low-key reception, playing to moderate audiences in five Tehran cinemas during the holy month of Ramadan, in October.

The film, funded by state broadcasting, faded off the billboards but is far from dead, about to be recycled in a major 20 episode spin-off to be broadcast over state-run national television this year. . . .

The director is also keen to emphasise the links between Jesus and one of the most important figures in Shiite Islam, the Imam Mahdi, said to have disappeared 12 centuries ago but whose “return” to earth has been a key tenet of the Ahmadinejad presidency. . . .

The bulk of “Jesus, the Spirit of God”, which won an award at the 2007 Religion Today Film Festival in Italy, faithfully follows the traditional tale of Jesus as recounted in the New Testament Gospels, a narrative reproduced in the Koran and accepted by Muslims.

But in Talebzadeh’s movie, God saves Jesus, depicted as a fair-complexioned man with long hair and a beard, from crucifixion and takes him straight to heaven.

“It is frankly said in the Koran that the person who was crucified was not Jesus” but Judas, one of the 12 Apostles and the one the Bible holds betrayed Jesus to the Romans, he said. In his film, it is Judas who is crucified. . . .

Shiite Muslims, the majority in Iran, believe Jesus will accompany the Imam Mahdi when he reappears in a future apocalypse to save the world.

And Talebzadeh said the TV version of his film will further explore the links between Jesus and the Mahdi — whose return Ahmadinejad has said his government, which came to power in 2005, is working to hasten.

Shiites believe the Mahdi’s reappearance will usher in a new era of peace and harmony.

“We Muslims pray for the ‘Return’ (of Imam Mahdi) and Jesus is part of the return and the end of time,” Talebzadeh said.

“Should we, as artists, stand idle until that time? Don’t we have to make an effort?”

These last paragraphs get me wondering: Does Muslim pop culture have the equivalent of Thief in the Night, The Omega Code, Left Behind and other Christian end-times movies?

(Hat tip to Anthony Sacramone at First Things.)

What’s the light source? Why bring the torch?

I know, I know, it’s silly to nitpick an Indiana Jones movie for realism. But even so, I get the feeling that past caves and temples and dungeons and whatnot have been a little … darker.

Canadian box-office comparison 2008

See introductory post here.

These are the Canadian and North American box-office totals for films that played in 2008, as of their last appearance in the Canadian top ten. Click on the years for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Since Canada has about 9.7% of the combined Canadian-American population, red indicates the films that made over 10.7% of their money in Canada, orange the films that attracted about the same proportion of Canadians as Americans, and green the ones that made less than 8.7% of their money north of the border.

Jan 6 | 13 | 20 | 27 | Feb 3 | 10 | 17 | 24 | Mar 2 | 9 | 16 | 23 | 30 | Apr 6 | 13 | 20 | 27 | May 4 | 11 | 18 | 25 | Jun 1 | 8 | 15 | 22 | 29 | Jul 6 | 13 | 20 | 27 | Aug 3 | 10 | 17 | 24 | 31 | Sep 7 | 14 | 21 | 28 | Oct 5 | 12 | 19 | 26 | Nov 2 | 9 | 16 | 23 | 30 | Dec 7 | 14 | 21 | 28

Passchendaele — CDN $4,040,000 — N.AM $4,040,000 — 100%
Cruising Bar 2 — CDN $1,560,000 — N.AM $1,560,000 — 100%
Dans une galaxie près de chez vous 2 — CDN $902,450 — N.AM $902,450 — 100%
Babine — CDN $689,698 — N.AM $689,698 — 100%
The American Trap — CDN $261,295 — N.AM $261,295 — 100%
Singh is Kinng — CDN $223,801 — N.AM $223,801 — 100%
Sarkar Raj — CDN $65,970 — N.AM $65,970 — 100%
Run Fat Boy Run — CDN $1,170,000 — N.AM $5,447,000 — 21.5%
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay — CDN $7,220,000 — N.AM $36,955,000 — 19.5%
The Golden Compass — CDN $9,730,000 — N.AM $65,521,000 — 14.9%
Blindness — CDN $278,272 — N.AM $2,002,000 — 13.9%
Death Race — CDN $4,430,000 — N.AM $33,193,000 — 13.3%
Never Back Down — CDN $2,810,000 — N.AM $21,249,499 — 13.2%
Body of Lies — CDN $5,010,000 — N.AM $38,272,000 — 13.1%
Quantum of Solace — CDN $20,940,000 — N.AM $161,200,412 — 13.0%
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 — CDN $4,970,000 — N.AM $38,257,000 — 13.0%
Mamma Mia! — CDN $17,950,000 — N.AM $139,318,000 — 12.9%
Zack and Miri Make a Porno — CDN $3,770,000 — N.AM $29,256,029 — 12.9%
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist — CDN $3,800,000 — N.AM $29,522,000 — 12.9%
The Other Boleyn Girl — CDN $2,710,000 — N.AM $22,515,000 — 12.0%
Bangkok Dangerous — CDN $1,490,000 — N.AM $12,531,000 — 11.9%
Be Kind Rewind — CDN $471,946 — N.AM $4,050,655 — 11.7%
P.S. I Love You — CDN $5,880,000 — N.AM $50,461,000 — 11.7%
The Love Guru — CDN $3,410,000 — N.AM $29,331,000 — 11.6%
My Best Friend’s Girl — CDN $2,050,000 — N.AM $17,628,000 — 11.6%
Changeling — CDN $3,870,000 — N.AM $33,849,632 — 11.4%
Burn after Reading — CDN $6,230,000 — N.AM $55,177,399 — 11.3%
Rambo — CDN $4,550,000 — N.AM $40,110,000 — 11.3%
Religulous — CDN $758,856 — N.AM $6,732,631 — 11.3%
21 — CDN $8,990,000 — N.AM $80,418,000 — 11.2%
Journey to the Center of the Earth — CDN $9,650,000 — N.AM $88,110,000 — 11.0%
Step Up 2: The Streets — CDN $5,810,000 — N.AM $53,004,000 — 11.0%
Semi-Pro — CDN $3,240,000 — N.AM $29,766,552 — 10.9%
Sex Drive — CDN $392,668 — N.AM $3,607,164 — 10.9%

Sex and the City — CDN $15,450,000 — N.AM $144,864,000 — 10.7%
Tropic Thunder — CDN $11,420,000 — N.AM $106,805,722 — 10.7%
Step Brothers — CDN $9,600,000 — N.AM $90,888,000 — 10.6%
88 Minutes — CDN $1,630,000 — N.AM $15,424,000 — 10.6%
Ghost Town — CDN $980,717 — N.AM $9,239,000 — 10.6%
27 Dresses — CDN $7,660,000 — N.AM $73,108,983 — 10.5%
The House Bunny — CDN $4,760,000 — N.AM $45,587,131 — 10.4%
The Forbidden Kingdom — CDN $5,210,000 — N.AM $50,368,985 — 10.3%
10,000 B.C. — CDN $9,220,000 — N.AM $89,323,000 — 10.3%
The Bank Job — CDN $2,740,000 — N.AM $26,732,000 — 10.2%
Pineapple Express — CDN $8,290,000 — N.AM $84,013,748 — 9.9%
Smart People — CDN $673,485 — N.AM $6,818,000 — 9.9%
Superhero Movie — CDN $2,090,000 — N.AM $21,202,000 — 9.9%
Definitely, Maybe — CDN $2,590,000 — N.AM $26,519,000 — 9.8%
Juno — CDN $13,420,000 — N.AM $137,969,000 — 9.7%
High School Musical 3: Senior Year — CDN $8,460,000 — N.AM $86,864,082 — 9.7%
What Happens in Vegas — CDN $7,350,000 — N.AM $75,755,145 — 9.7%
Forgetting Sarah Marshall — CDN $5,880,000 — N.AM $60,471,000 — 9.7%
Made of Honor — CDN $4,330,000 — N.AM $44,660,000 — 9.7%
Eagle Eye — CDN $9,470,000 — N.AM $98,813,000 — 9.6%
The Dark Knight — CDN $49,770,000 — N.AM $524,465,000 — 9.5%
Role Models — CDN $6,010,000 — N.AM $64,133,465 — 9.4%
Max Payne — CDN $3,350,000 — N.AM $35,550,000 — 9.4%
Punisher: War Zone — CDN $376,131 — N.AM $4,000,000 — 9.4%
Deception — CDN $206,776 — N.AM $2,225,000 — 9.3%
No Country for Old Men — CDN $6,480,000 — N.AM $69,570,000 — 9.3%
Atonement — CDN $3,520,000 — N.AM $37,908,000 — 9.3%
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — CDN $4,110,000 — N.AM $44,053,400 — 9.3%
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — CDN $15,810,000 — N.AM $172,392,069 — 9.2%
Twilight — CDN $15,380,000 — N.AM $167,325,198 — 9.2%
Untraceable — CDN $2,240,000 — N.AM $24,320,956 — 9.2%
The Women — CDN $2,220,000 — N.AM $24,079,000 — 9.2%
Righteous Kill — CDN $3,140,000 — N.AM $34,805,000 — 9.0%
The Ruins — CDN $1,210,000 — N.AM $13,413,000 — 9.0%
The X-Files: I Want to Believe — CDN $1,510,000 — N.AM $17,060,000 — 8.9%
Street Kings — CDN $1,750,000 — N.AM $19,879,000 — 8.8%
Jumper — CDN $6,400,000 — N.AM $72,537,000 — 8.8%
Wanted — CDN $11,250,000 — N.AM $128,616,000 — 8.7%
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor — CDN $8,180,000 — N.AM $93,812,000 — 8.7%
Hellboy II: The Golden Army — CDN $6,210,000 — N.AM $71,273,000 — 8.7%

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — CDN $26,910,000 — N.AM $310,487,614 — 8.7%
College Road Trip — CDN $2,780,000 — N.AM $32,005,000 — 8.7%
The Spiderwick Chronicles — CDN $5,360,000 — N.AM $61,721,000 — 8.7%
Fool’s Gold — CDN $5,120,000 — N.AM $59,073,000 — 8.7%
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep — CDN $2,680,000 — N.AM $30,893,000 — 8.7%
Get Smart — CDN $10,740,000 — N.AM $124,214,000 — 8.6%
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan — CDN $7,210,000 — N.AM $84,055,000 — 8.6%
Babylon A.D. — CDN $1,500,000 — N.AM $17,378,536 — 8.6%
Doomsday — CDN $767,978 — N.AM $8,907,000 — 8.6%
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian — CDN $11,570,000 — N.AM $135,467,000 — 8.5%
The Bucket List — CDN $6,890,000 — N.AM $81,085,000 — 8.5%
Vantage Point — CDN $5,490,000 — N.AM $65,300,000 — 8.4%
Iron Man — CDN $25,280,000 — N.AM $304,788,000 — 8.3%
Cloverfield — CDN $6,330,000 — N.AM $76,040,905 — 8.3%
Star Wars: The Clone Wars — CDN $2,470,000 — N.AM $29,608,000 — 8.3%
Transporter 3 — CDN $2,440,000 — N.AM $29,377,088 — 8.3%
Quarantine — CDN $2,020,000 — N.AM $24,471,512 — 8.3%
Hancock — CDN $18,000,000 — N.AM $221,726,791 — 8.1%
Australia — CDN $3,350,000 — N.AM $41,796,525 — 8.0%
Stop-Loss — CDN $658,769 — N.AM $8,213,000 — 8.0%
Charlie Wilson’s War — CDN $4,760,000 — N.AM $59,353,790 — 8.0%
I Am Legend — CDN $19,510,000 — N.AM $247,447,000 — 7.9%
The Haunting of Molly Hartley — CDN $808,221 — N.AM $10,235,000 — 7.9%
Kung Fu Panda — CDN $16,130,000 — N.AM $206,506,000 — 7.8%
Nights in Rodanthe — CDN $2,510,000 — N.AM $32,297,101 — 7.8%
Drillbit Taylor — CDN $1,600,000 — N.AM $20,487,226 — 7.8%
Meet the Spartans — CDN $2,640,000 — N.AM $33,950,850 — 7.8%
Saw V — CDN $4,240,000 — N.AM $55,403,000 — 7.7%
Shutter — CDN $1,460,000 — N.AM $18,998,604 — 7.7%
Igor — CDN $1,110,000 — N.AM $14,339,000 — 7.7%
Pride and Glory — CDN $488,370 — N.AM $6,325,000 — 7.7%
WALL·E — CDN $16,040,000 — N.AM $210,206,582 — 7.6%
Nim’s Island — CDN $3,310,000 — N.AM $44,257,000 — 7.5%
The Happening — CDN $4,360,000 — N.AM $59,063,000 — 7.4%
Yes Man — CDN $3,690,000 — N.AM $49,798,560 — 7.4%
Lakeview Terrace — CDN $2,690,000 — N.AM $36,201,729 — 7.4%
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! — CDN $10,710,000 — N.AM $147,883,000 — 7.2%
Four Christmases — CDN $7,180,000 — N.AM $100,110,827 — 7.2%
Seven Pounds — CDN $2,810,000 — N.AM $38,762,647 — 7.2%
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — CDN $2,780,000 — N.AM $38,725,647 — 7.2%
The Day the Earth Stood Still — CDN $4,490,000 — N.AM $63,480,184 — 7.1%
City of Ember — CDN $222,193 — N.AM $3,129,473 — 7.1%
The Incredible Hulk — CDN $8,080,000 — N.AM $115,508,000 — 7.0%
Mirrors — CDN $1,400,000 — N.AM $20,075,000 — 7.0%
Bolt — CDN $6,450,000 — N.AM $94,900,059 — 6.8%
There Will Be Blood — CDN $2,100,000 — N.AM $31,000,000 — 6.8%
Prom Night — CDN $2,570,000 — N.AM $38,115,000 — 6.7%
The Tale of Despereaux — CDN $1,840,000 — N.AM $27,448,085 — 6.7%
National Treasure: Book of Secrets — CDN $13,840,000 — N.AM $205,421,000 — 6.7%
Milk — CDN $491,881 — N.AM $7,590,976 — 6.5%
W. — CDN $1,220,000 — N.AM $18,749,000 — 6.5%
One Missed Call — CDN $1,340,000 — N.AM $20,493,337 — 6.5%
The Strangers — CDN $2,880,000 — N.AM $45,287,220 — 6.4%
Valkyrie — CDN $1,850,000 — N.AM $29,520,979 — 6.3%
Mad Money — CDN $477,385 — N.AM $7,600,000 — 6.3%
The Eye — CDN $1,330,000 — N.AM $21,418,982 — 6.2%
Disaster Movie — CDN $659,630 — N.AM $10,602,140 — 6.2%
The Spirit — CDN $637,413 — N.AM $10,305,501 — 6.2%
Bedtime Stories — CDN $2,260,000 — N.AM $38,029,113 — 5.9%
Beverly Hills Chihuahua — CDN $4,880,000 — N.AM $84,061,000 — 5.8%
Fly Me to the Moon — CDN $563,916 — N.AM $9,854,000 — 5.7%
Appaloosa — CDN $312,277 — N.AM $5,570,000 — 5.6%
Leatherheads — CDN $1,500,000 — N.AM $26,578,000 — 5.6%
Alvin and the Chipmunks — CDN $11,340,000 — N.AM $204,159,000 — 5.6%
Baby Mama — CDN $2,810,000 — N.AM $52,131,000 — 5.4%
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas — CDN $136,614 — N.AM $2,628,053 — 5.2%
Marley & Me — CDN $2,540,000 — N.AM $50,738,566 — 5.0%
Speed Racer — CDN $2,040,000 — N.AM $40,558,000 — 5.0%
Meet Dave — CDN $252,412 — N.AM $5,251,918 — 4.8%
Traitor — CDN $801,427 — N.AM $17,265,872 — 4.6%
Space Chimps — CDN $322,876 — N.AM $7,350,000 — 4.4%
Swing Vote — CDN $232,071 — N.AM $6,300,000 — 3.7%
Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour — CDN $1,900,000 — N.AM $64,156,981 — 3.0%
The Secret Life of Bees — CDN $245,598 — N.AM $10,527,799 — 2.3%

Canadian box-office stats — January 13

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

P.S. I Love You — CDN $5,230,000 — N.AM $46,830,324 — 11.2%
Atonement — CDN $2,420,000 — N.AM $25,130,656 — 9.6%
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — CDN $4,110,000 — N.AM $44,053,400 — 9.3%

Charlie Wilson’s War — CDN $4,760,000 — N.AM $59,353,790 — 8.0%
I Am Legend — CDN $18,740,000 — N.AM $240,283,451 — 7.8%
The Bucket List — CDN $1,610,000 — N.AM $20,816,129 — 7.7%
Juno — CDN $5,320,000 — N.AM $70,862,478 — 7.5%
One Missed Call — CDN $1,340,000 — N.AM $20,493,337 — 6.5%
National Treasure: Book of Secrets — CDN $12,160,000 — N.AM $187,114,947 — 6.5%
Alvin and the Chipmunks — CDN $10,150,000 — N.AM $187,943,374 — 5.4%

A couple of discrepancies: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Charlie Wilson’s War were #8 and #9 on the Canadian chart, respectively (they were #12 and #11 in North America as a whole), while First Sunday and The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything were #2 and #9 on the North American chart, respectively.

What I was doing with my Sunday night.


Nicholas Chattaway — the middle name is yet to be determined — was born at 12:49am on January 14, and he weighed 10 lbs 10 oz at the time of his birth. That’s more than the twins weighed at their birth combined; then again, they were born at least six weeks premature. It’s also less than the 12 lbs 11 oz that I weighed at my birth; then again, I was born at least two weeks late, I believe.

Jaden Smith and the alien, an update.

Last Thursday, I reported that Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett, had been cast as one of the three main characters in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Tonight the Hollywood Reporter confirmed that news, and added a few more details.


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