The death of Herod, and Antipas’s response, in two films

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One of the fun things about watching Jesus films is noting the parallels between them, and wondering if the older films inspired the newer films in any way.

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Exclusive: My interview with Killing Jesus star Haaz Sleiman, plus a mini-review of the film

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of Killing Jesus at the Sun Valley Film Festival and speaking to Haaz Sleiman, the actor who plays Jesus. We had met before when I visited the set last year, but back then he still had certain crucial scenes to film, including the crucifixion, whereas when I spoke to him in Sun Valley, he and I had both just seen the completed film for the first time.

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Joanna gets a speaking role in Killing Jesus and A.D.

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Quick question: Who discovered the empty tomb, two days after the crucifixion?

Most people, I suspect, would say it was found by Mary Magdalene, and possibly by other women as well. But if they were asked to name those women, they might draw a blank (or they might say, incorrectly, that Jesus’ mother was one of them).

Most Jesus films haven’t been very helpful here, as they tend to focus on Mary Magdalene to the exclusion of his other female followers. Multiple male disciples? No problem. But the women tend to get a single token representative.

That’s why I’m happy to say that there are two films premiering in the next few weeks that will pay more attention to one of those other women, namely Joanna.

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Visiting the cast and crew of Killing Jesus in Morocco

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It’s a hot Tuesday morning in late October on the outskirts of Ouarzazate, a city in the heart of Morocco, and Jesus is having trouble getting birds to fly.

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The chronological Noah: an illustrated integration of the three origin stories in Darren Aronofsky’s film

There are two Creation stories in Genesis, and the details don’t always mesh. Likewise, there are three origin stories in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah — the opening prologue, the story of the Watchers told by Og, and the story of Creation and the Fall told by Noah — and the details there don’t always fit together all that comfortably, either.

Films, children’s books and other retellings of the Creation story sometimes integrate the two Genesis stories by omitting some details and rearranging the rest, so that, for example, Adam names the animals and Eve is taken from Adam’s rib (a la Genesis 2) before God tells the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply (a la Genesis 1).

Similarly, I thought it might be fun to take the three origin stories in Noah and weave them together into a single narrative that shows the creation and fall of the Watchers and early humans together. The screencaps below are only a sampling of the images from these sequences, but I have kept every word that accompanied them.

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The Magnificat, and the politics thereof, in film

vlcsnap-2014-12-25-18h31m18s119Christ is born! Glorify him!

Fred Clark posted a really interesting item this morning, noting that “the true meaning of Christmas” can be found in a poem spoken by Mary not long after she learned that she was pregnant with the Son of God — and he notes that the poem in question has a significant political edge, in which the powerful are brought down from their thrones while the humble are lifted up, and the rich are sent away hungry while the poor are filled.

This got me curious as to how many films have actually reflected the edgier aspects of this poem, which is known as the Magnificat. And the answer is: not many. In fact, there are very few films that incorporate the Magnificat at all, and those that do usually cut out the more politically-charged stuff. Usually, but not always.

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