At last, I have acquired a copy of the American Blu-Ray of The Young Messiah! While it doesn’t have all that many bonus features, it does have a few of them, which is more than I can say for the Canadian disc, which has none. (The American Blu-Ray also comes with a DVD copy of the film, which the Canadian Blu-Ray does not.)
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.
There have been many movies about Jesus, and even a few that have spent some time on his childhood, but there have been none, to my knowledge, that dwell on what it would have been like for Jesus to grow up with brothers and sisters his own age. Indeed, there are very few films that acknowledge the presence of brothers and sisters in Jesus’ adult life, even though the gospels mention his siblings on several occasions. Thus, one of the best things about The Young Messiah — Cyrus Nowrasteh’s long-awaited adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt — is the way it focuses on Jesus’ relatives right from its opening scene.
The young Jesus bringing birds to life: three films that have depicted this tale from one of the apocryphal gospels
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas — an apocryphal gospel that probably dates to the 2nd century AD — tells a story in which Jesus, at the age of five, makes twelve sparrows out of clay and then claps his hands and tells them to fly away. Although this story appears nowhere in the New Testament, some variation on it has appeared in at least three different films about Jesus, one of which is coming out later this week.