Exodus: Gods and Kings — the scholars speak!

vlcsnap-2014-10-01-12h41m11s250Yesterday it was reported that Egypt had banned Exodus: Gods and Kings because of the film’s “historical inaccuracies”.

Chief among these was the film’s suggestion that the pyramids were built by the ancient Hebrews, which Gaber Asfour, the Egyptian minister of culture, said was not only anachronistic but was also evidence of the film’s “Zionist” agenda.

But what do actual historians make of the film?

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Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in some Muslim countries

exodus-scott-baleNoah was banned from some Muslim countries earlier this year because it dramatized the life of one of the prophets. Now Exodus: Gods and Kings may be meeting a similar fate.

Various news sites are reporting that Morocco and Egypt have banned the film. This apparently came as a surprise in Morocco, as the authorities in question had previously been okay with the film. The Egyptian ban was reportedly prompted in part by the film’s anachronistic suggestion that Jews built the pyramids.

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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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Exodus: Gods and Kings video round-up: several TV spots and an eleven-hour (!) video of the burning bush

exodus-moses-redseaIt’s been a while since I posted any videos for Exodus: Gods and Kings, but the studio has released several new TV spots, most of which feature new footage of Moses’ family, Mount Sinai, Moses tossing his sword into the Red Sea, and so on. The studio has also released what I can only assume is one of the more bizarre promotional videos ever, in the form of an eleven-hour shot of the burning bush displaying the entire Book of Exodus. Check ’em out below the jump.

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Sound editors give Aronofsky a special award + interview round-up with the sound editors and designers of Noah

NOAHSound plays a key role in Darren Aronofsky’s films, and Noah is no exception. From the sudden silences (one of which highlights Ila’s sobbing after Noah announces his plans for her child) to the unexpected sound effects (such as a giant breath shutting the door to the Ark after Noah stumbles inside), Noah relies on its sound design as much as it does on its strong visuals and its edgy, provocative script.

So it makes sense that the Motion Picture Sound Editors announced today that they will be giving Aronofsky a special award at the Golden Reel Awards on February 15.

This does not necessarily mean that Noah is a shoo-in for any of the more competitive awards, either at the Golden Reel Awards or at the Oscars. Recall how Exodus: Gods and Kings was left off the Academy’s shortlist for the visual-effects award even though the Visual Effects Society is giving director Ridley Scott a lifetime achievement award at its next awards ceremony on February 4. But it’s a nice nod just the same.

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Star Trek and Abraham director Joseph Sargent dies at 89

josephsargent-aJoseph Sargent, an Emmy-winning director who worked on many TV shows and occasional films such as Colossus: The Forbin Project and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, passed away today at the age of 89.

Sargent played a key role in two of the genres that I follow on a regular basis.

First, in 1966, he directed an episode of the original Star Trek series called ‘The Corbomite Maneuver’. It was the first regular episode of that series, following the two pilots, and it was also the episode that introduced the world to Dr McCoy, Lt Uhura and Yeoman Rand.

Then, in 1993, he directed Abraham, one of the first TV-movies produced as part of ‘The Bible Collection’. It starred Richard Harris and Barbara Hershey as Abraham and Sarah (this was only five years after Hershey played Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ), and while it meanders a bit — just like the biblical Abraham did — it’s a fairly decent adaptation of the biblical story.

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