Prophet Joseph — episodes three and four

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Synopsis. Jacob and his son Joseph are sitting outside the tent where Rachel has died giving birth to Benjamin, and they are mourning the death of their wife and mother when Jacob’s sister Faegheh arrives. After burying Rachel, the clan proceeds to the town where Abraham and Isaac are buried, and Jacob pays a visit to his ancestors’ graves. Joseph’s brothers — and Jacob’s surviving wife and concubines — begin to murmur jealously that Jacob favours Joseph above all the other children, so Faegheh, who is childless, offers to raise Joseph herself. But then one day Joseph goes missing while he and the other children are playing a game of hide-and-seek.

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Prophet Joseph — episodes one and two

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Last year I wrote an essay on films about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph — the patriarchs of Genesis — for an upcoming book called The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (current release date: July 15). As research for that essay, I watched a lot of movies based on Genesis, but I only had so much time at my disposal, and I couldn’t watch everything that came my way.

This was especially true of Yousuf e Payambar, a.k.a. Prophet Joseph, a 45-episode series about the life of Joseph produced for Iranian television about eight or nine years ago. I was intrigued by the series, especially when I found multiple versions of it floating around YouTube and other websites, but I couldn’t justify watching roughly 35 hours of footage just to beef up one or two paragraphs in my essay.

I have a little more time now, though, and since I have done weekly episode recaps of series like A.D. The Bible Continues and Of Kings and Prophets, I thought it might be interesting to take a similar look at Prophet Joseph — but since there are so many episodes, I plan to look at two each week, instead of just one. I don’t mind doing this over the course of five or six months, but almost a year? That’s a little much.

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Bible movie of the week: The Last Days of Pompeii (dir. Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1935)

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Bible movies were big in the silent era, which came to an end in the late 1920s, and they were big again in the 1950s, when pious spectacle was all the rage — but very few were produced during the two decades between those eras.1 Hollywood, in particular, seemed to lose interest in the genre entirely during this period. Nevertheless, a few films did at least touch on the genre, even if they did not commit to it fully.

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The Young Messiah: a scene guide (w/ clips and references to the scriptures, the apocryphal texts, and the novel)

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Last month I wrote up a scene guide for Risen, noting which scriptures different parts of the movie were based on. Now it’s The Young Messiah’s turn — and this time, matters are complicated by the fact that the film is based not directly on the Bible, but on Anne Rice’s novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, which in turn makes use of Old and New Testament apocrypha in addition to the scriptures.

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Of Kings and Prophets — season one, episode two

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Season 1, Episode 2 — ‘Let the Wicked Be Ashamed’
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Editing Samuel. The chronology has been rearranged a tad, but the episode begins and ends with Samuel going to anoint David (I Samuel 16:1-13), and it includes scenes of David playing the harp for Saul and growing closer to him (I Samuel 16:14-23).

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Box office: The Young Messiah has a smaller opening than expected, and Zootopia keeps tracking ahead of Frozen

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For the first time in recent memory — and possibly the first time ever since weekly box office reports became a thing — there are two Bible movies in the weekly top ten.

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