The Young Messiah, which came out on DVD yesterday, isn’t the first movie to spend more than a scene or two on Jesus when he was a boy. It isn’t even the second. A few months ago I reviewed A Child Called Jesus, a 1987 film that has some striking parallels to The Young Messiah. Now I’d like to take a brief look at The Holy Family, a two-part TV-movie that has fewer parallels but is still interesting in its own way.
The Young Messiah: a scene guide (w/ clips and references to the scriptures, the apocryphal texts, and the novel)
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.
Note: Last year I posted episode-by-episode notes on the sources and themes of A.D. The Bible Continues. I intend to do something similar for Of Kings and Prophets. Be warned: there will be spoilers here. And lots of appreciative nit-picking.
Season 1, Episode 1 — ‘Offerings of Blood’
I Samuel 13-17
Editing Samuel. The series skips past the stories about Samuel’s early life (I Samuel 1-7) and the role he played in making Saul king (I Samuel 8-12). It then cherry-picks bits and pieces from I Samuel 13-17 and rearranges the chronology somewhat.
It’s hard to beat the story of Saul and David for biblical sex and violence, and the first shots in Of Kings and Prophets — premiering tonight at 10pm on ABC — waste no time getting to the “violence” part of that equation. (The sex comes later.)
Most Jesus films tell a coherent story, or at least they try to: either they are based on a single gospel, or they try to “harmonize” the gospels by including certain story elements while omitting others. One film, however, makes a point of underlining the differences and even contradictions between the four canonical gospels.