Synopsis. The sons of Jacob prepare to go to Egypt. Jacob dictates a letter to the Egyptian governor, who unbeknownst to him is his son Joseph. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Akhenaten visits Joseph’s house and decrees that Zuleikha must marry Joseph. Joseph speaks to a crowd — many of whom have become technically enslaved to the Pharaoh in exchange for wheat — and declares that everyone in Egypt is free now, except for those who owned slaves and exploited the poor before the famine. Joseph’s brothers arrive and ask him to let Benjamin go back to Canaan. Joseph produces the bill of sale that they signed when they sold him into slavery, and reads it aloud.
Synopsis. Zuleikha has let go of all her guards and most of her servants, so some of the remaining ones begin to steal her jewelry and her dishes. Zuleikha decides that she can be as generous as Joseph, so she goes to the servants’ quarters and announces to the remaining staff that she will give them land and freedom. Meanwhile, the priests of Amon discover that their grain has gone bad and is riddled with pests. They try to dump the wheat in the river at night, when no one can see them, but they are spotted by the guards and exposed by the palace staff. The Pharaoh summons Joseph, who is currently overseeing grain silos in Memphis, back to Thebes. A crowd greets Joseph when he arrives, and Joseph doesn’t notice that Zuleikha herself is in the crowd.
Synopsis. Joseph continues to encourage his fellow inmates. One day, while they are all on a food break at the quarry, Joseph sees a Canaanite chasing a runaway camel, and Joseph, without revealing who he is, asks the man for news of his family and gives him a cryptic message to take back to Jacob. Apopis is woken by a bad dream and learns that Inarus, too, has had a dream. They ask Joseph to interpret the dreams, and Joseph, to prove his words are trustworthy, makes a prophecy that comes true within minutes, as a meal of luxurious food arrives unexpectedly from Zuleikha. Joseph tells the inmates he is a “messenger” from God, and he leads them all in a profession of faith. Then he interprets the dreams: in three days, Inarus will be free but Apopis will be dead. Joseph consoles Apopis and tells him he will find peace in heaven.
Synopsis. Jacob has a nightmare in which ten wolves chase Joseph to his death. He describes the dream to Leah, who passes it on to their family, and soon everyone assumes that the wolves are a metaphor for Joseph’s ten older brothers. Satan himself appears to the brothers, claiming to be a resident of one of the nearby villages, and describes a dream of his own that stokes their jealousy even more. A Canaanite accuses the older brothers of mistreating him, and Jacob admonishes his sons to live in harmony with the “Palestinians” who were living in Canaan before they were. Joseph dreams that the sun, moon and eleven stars will one day bow down to him, and Jacob tells him to keep this dream to himself. But Bilhah overhears them and tells Joseph’s brothers about the dream, and they agree that they should kill Joseph.
There are plenty of movies that depict the origins of Judaism and Christianity. But there are also a few movies that touch on the origins of Islam. One such film is playing in Iran right now, and another will premiere in Qatar a few weeks from now.
Christians aren’t the only ones who hold Jesus in high esteem. Muslims do too, though they have radically different beliefs about him — and at least one movie has actually tried to dramatize those beliefs the same way other Bible movies have dramatized their own filmmakers’ beliefs.
But wait… is it right to call Jesus, the Spirit of God, an Iranian film produced in 2007, a “Bible movie”? Is not much of the film based on the Koran and other post-biblical sources, such as the late-medieval document known as the Gospel of Barnabas, rather than on the Bible itself?
Well, yes, the film is based on those other documents, but I’d still say it counts as a “Bible movie” on some level, inasmuch as many of its narrative elements can be traced back through those sources to the Bible itself. If we can accept Ben-Hur, which was based on a novel, or The Passion of the Christ, which was based on the visions of a 19th-century nun, as “Bible movies” because they contain elements that go back to the scriptures, then we can certainly put this film under the same broad umbrella.