Two “Pythonesque” French comedies with a biblical hook


Two completely unrelated yet strikingly similar-sounding movies — both French, both comedies, both set partly in biblical times — came to my attention recently.

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Life of Brian and the Jesus film were distributed by the same company to the same theatres at the same time.


Last year, I commented on the fact that there were two movies playing in theatres at the same time — Son of God and Noah — that both began with images of Eve plucking the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden: a moviegoer could see one film in the multiplex, then walk down the hall and catch the other film in the same theatre.

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Jesus movies and, um, rude bodily noises

Warning: This post includes a few irreverent images from irreverent films.


Years ago, I used to say that if I ever made a movie about Jesus, I would include a scene in which he excuses himself to use the facilities (whatever they might have been in the first century), just to show that his humanity extended even to his “lower” bodily functions. I was reminded of that the other day when Bilge Ebiri, one of the critics who caught the Last Days in the Desert premiere at Sundance this week, wondered on Twitter if this was the first Jesus movie to have a “fart joke”.

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Christian Bale on the “very mercurial” God of the Bible and how Monty Python inspired his take on Moses

exodus-facebook-140930-2Tonight — the night before 20th Century Fox releases its second trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings — the studio hosted a screening of roughly half-an-hour of footage from the film, followed by a Q&A with the movie’s star, Christian Bale.

The Wrap is the only outlet I’ve seen so far that has any details from the event, and they mention some interesting things, both about the content of the footage and the comments Bale made about his approach to the character — and the movies he turned to for inspiration.

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The Vancouver Sun posts its list of the best Jesus movies

Douglas Todd, the religion and ethics reporter for The Vancouver Sun, has an article in today’s paper looking at the top five films about Jesus, the top five films with a “metaphorical Christ”, and the top five films “with Christian themes.” I was one of four people he consulted — the others include my friends Ron Reed and Darrel Manson, as well as theologian Marjorie Suchocki, who I have never met — and Todd quotes two of the blurbs I’ve written on Jesus films, including this one on Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) and this one on The Miracle Maker (2000). You can read the print edition of Doug’s article here, and the blog version here.

The Arts & Faith Top 25 Divine Comedies

The Arts & Faith community, which I have been part of for over a decade now, released its fourth Top 25 list today — and the theme this time is “Divine Comedies”. Before the vote, there was some debate as to what this term even means, and after the vote, there was some debate about the results and whether they were diverse enough, etc. But you can get a sense of what the list is all about by reading this introductory essay by my friend Steven D. Greydanus. As before, with our list on films about marriage, I wrote two of the blurbs: one on my second-favorite film of all time, The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), from which the picture above comes; and another on one of my favorite Jesus movies, Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979).

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