Watch: Trailers for five recent Bible series made in Brazil

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Christian Bale isn’t the only actor to play Moses in the last few months.

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Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt to star Sean Bean and more

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It has been two months since I last wrote about Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel about Jesus’ childhood. At that time, the studio behind the film had announced a release date but no cast members. Today, however, a colleague tipped me off to the fact that the film’s IMDb page now lists 20 actors, and at least one of them is fairly well-known: Lord of the Rings co-star Sean Bean.

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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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Joseph and the amazing Technicolor animated film

I’ve seen a lot of Bible movies, and I have even seen or listened to a few Bible-themed plays and cast recordings and whatnot, but there’s one production that I have never experienced in any way, shape or form, and it’s a biggie: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice first composed in the 1960s, a few years before they wrote Jesus Christ Superstar.

I should probably familiarize myself with it fairly soon, though. In addition to some research I’m doing on Genesis movies right now, it was also announced today that Elton John, who has experience producing family films based on classic pop hits, is collaborating with Webber and Rice on an animated adaptation of the musical, which is apparently the most-produced musical in history and especially popular with schoolchildren.

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The naked Christ in film: birth, death and resurrection

“The Word became flesh,” according to John 1:14, but that flesh has been hidden, for the most part, in movie portrayals of Jesus. At certain key points in his life, history and even tradition would dictate that Jesus ought to be depicted nude — and there are good theological reasons for doing so. But films have tended to shy away from nudity in their own portrayals of those parts of the Jesus story.

There are some obvious reasons for this reticence, of course, starting with the fact that film, for much of its history, has been forced to skirt around images of nudity in general, and images of male nudity in particular. Plus, when a film does show someone’s nudity, it does not merely show us the character’s nudity; it shows us the actor’s nudity as well, and the knowledge that we are seeing an actor’s naked body can sometimes distract us from the character he is playing. This is especially true when the character is meant to be an embodiment of divinity like Jesus.

There have been at least three significant exceptions, though — three films that each depict the nudity of Jesus at a different key point in his story.

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