Prophet Joseph — episodes three and four

prophetjoseph-03-04

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

prophetjoseph-01-02

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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Our first look at the Genesis-themed The Red Tent

redtent-ew-aThe Red Tent — the adaptation of the Anita Diamant novel that tells the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph from the perspective of Jacob’s wives and daughter Dinah — now has an airdate. Entertainment Weekly reports that the two-part miniseries will be shown on the Lifetime network December 7 and 8.

That’s right in the thick of the Exodus: Gods and Kings rollout (it opens overseas the week before that, and it opens in North America the week after that). And, as it happens, both films will feature Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass as a royal figure of some sort. In Exodus, she plays Bithiah, the Egyptian princess who adopts Moses, while in The Red Tent, she plays Re-Nefer, the queen of Shechem.

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The Red Tent will look at Genesis from a female perspective

The new thing in Bible movies and similar productions? Telling familiar stories from a female point of view.

First CBS announced that it was going to produce an adaptation of The Dovekeepers, a book that looks at the Roman siege of Masada from the perspective of four Jewish women trapped inside that fortress.

Now comes word that the Lifetime network is going to produce The Red Tent, a two-part mini-series based on a novel by Anita Diamant that looks at the stories of Jacob and his son Joseph from the perspective of Jacob’s daughter and Joseph’s half-sister Dinah.

What’s more, it appears the mini-series will pay special attention to the relationship between Dinah and the four women who raised her: her mother Leah, her aunt Rachel, and her father’s concubines Bilhah and Zilpah.

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Review: The Bible Collection (dir. various, 1993-1995)

Abraham, Warner Alliance, 1993, dir. Joseph Sargent.
Jacob, Warner Alliance, 1994, dir. Peter Hall.
Joseph, Warner Alliance, 1995, dir. Roger Young.

BIBLE MOVIES refer so often to “the God of our fathers” it’s surprising at first to discover just how little attention films have paid to the patriarchs.

There are several reasons for this. Most biblical life stories are made up of disconnected episodes that do not easily conform to the structure of a two- or three-hour film. Attempts to be “historically accurate” with Genesis falter since no one knows when these stories occurred; scholars have dated Abraham to anywhere between the 23rd and 14th centuries BC.

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