A.D. The Bible Continues — season one, episode two

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Season 1, Episode 2 — ‘The Body Is Gone’
Matthew 28, Luke 24, John 20-21, Acts 1

Harmonization, redux. It’s pretty much impossible to harmonize the empty-tomb accounts in the four canonical gospels, and A.D. The Bible Continues doesn’t even try. It does, however, blend the various resurrection appearances that took place afterwards, as well as the final words of Jesus in Matthew and Acts.

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What if A.D. The Bible Continues was a silent movie?

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One of the noteworthy things about A.D. The Bible Continues is how it really piles on the visual effects when something really supernatural happens. In fact, the series trades on the sort of images that Bible movies haven’t really gone for since the silent era, when movies of this sort functioned less as documentary-style plays — showing us “what life was really like back then” — and were more like icons in motion.

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A.D. The Bible Continues — season one, episode one

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Note: Between now and mid-June, I will be writing short recaps of each episode of A.D. The Bible Continues for Christianity Today Movies. You can read the first recap here. Time permitting, I will also post extra thoughts at this blog, like so:

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The Leftovers: “The birth of religion in the face of mystery.”

The Leftovers — the HBO series about a community coping with the Rapture-like disappearance of many of its members — premieres this coming weekend, and while I haven’t been scouring the internet for coverage of this series the way I sometimes do for films like Noah etc., a few things have popped up in my regular news feeds, including a new video, a new interview with the show’s creators, and a handful of reviews.

The interview, with novelist Tom Perrotta and series producer Damon Lindelof, is up at The Daily Beast, and it’s a bit of a frustrating read for me, as I find myself nodding along at some points and wanting to argue with the interviewees at others. Here’s a sample:
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Kevin Reynolds to direct latest Resurrection-themed movie

You can’t make a hit film or TV show without inspiring legions of imitators, so it’s no surprise that, when The Bible racked up some record TV ratings earlier this year, a gaggle of filmmakers announced that they were going to make biblical movies of their own.

In one blog post back then, I noted that various producers were developing no less than four separate movies that will deal specifically with the 40 days between the Resurrection of Jesus and his Ascension into heaven — and that’s not counting the big-screen version of The Bible itself (which comes out next year and will reportedly emphasize the Resurrection as well).

Now a sixth film has entered the fray — and it may be a project that was first put in motion during the previous Bible-movie development craze, which followed yet another hugely successful Bible film, i.e. The Passion of the Christ (2004).

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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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