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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From The Song to the Left Behind reboot: are Christian films becoming more comfortable with sexuality?

song-duetI got an e-mail today from the folks behind The Song. Like most Monday-morning e-mails of this sort, it asks its readers to support a newly-released independent film by voting with their dollars as soon as possible, etc.

The e-mail also does something I don’t believe I have ever seen in an ad or message promoting a “faith-based” film before: it draws special attention to secular critics who have praised the film for the “sexual chemistry” between its lead actors.

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Who killed Goliath, anyway? And how tall was he?

This is too amusing not to pass along.

Apparently a guy named Tim Chey is preparing to direct a $50 million movie called David and Goliath, and he gave an interview to The Christian Post in which he said his movie will be “biblically correct in every way.” (Well, at least he didn’t say “biblically accurate”.)

Fred Clark notes that this might be “a tall order, as it were,” because the Bible actually has two versions of the death of Goliath: one in which he is killed by David of Bethlehem, the young man who goes on to become king of Israel, and another in which he is killed by Elhanan of Bethlehem, about whom nothing else is known.

Clark doesn’t mention it, but the unlikely similarity between the two passages (they both identify the hero as coming from Bethlehem, they both say that Goliath was from Gath and that his spear had a shaft “like a weaver’s rod”, etc.) evidently bothered the author/editor of Chronicles, who revised the Elhanan passage so that Elhanan “the Bethlehemite [bët hallahmï]” now kills “Lahmi the brother” of Goliath.

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Will The Leftovers steal some of Left Behind’s thunder?

Fred Clark makes an interesting argument that hadn’t occurred to me before: If the secular Rapture drama The Leftovers premieres on HBO in June — just a little more than three months before the Christian Rapture reboot Left Behind comes to theatres in October — then the secular TV show could make it even more difficult than it already is for some people to take the Christian movie seriously.

Specifically, Clark zeroes in on the fact that The Leftovers is designed to get people asking the sorts of empathetic what-if questions that the Left Behind books and films have shown very little interest in. As Clark puts it: [Read more...]


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