Review: The Song (dir. Richard Ramsey, 2014)

songIf you went to The Song knowing nothing but the title and the fact that it’s loosely based on the life of King Solomon, then you might think that this film, about a country-music star and his struggles with fidelity, is based on the Song of Songs, also known as the Song of Solomon. And there is, indeed, a bit of that in there. But of all the texts ascribed to Solomon, the one that dominates this film, by far, is Ecclesiastes, easily the most existentialist book in the entire Bible. And that makes this film a little different from your typical “faith-based” movie.

[Read more...]

Listen: Four tracks from Solomon-themed The Song

song2014-albumThe Identical, a music-driven, Nashville-lensed, “faith-based” film inspired by the life of Elvis Presley, didn’t do too well at the box office when it opened a couple weeks ago. But that isn’t stopping the makers of The Song, a music-driven, Nashville-lensed, “faith-based” film inspired by the life of King Solomon, from releasing their own film next week.

The film opens September 26, and the full soundtrack — featuring songs by Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris and others — comes out four days later. Among other things, the album will include a new version of ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’, a Pete Seeger song that was based on a Bible passage that has traditionally been ascribed to Solomon. This new version will be performed by Roger McGuinn — who, as lead singer of The Byrds, famously covered this song in 1965 — along with Harris and Skaggs.

[Read more...]

Are Exodus: Gods and Kings — and other Moses movies — picking on Ramses II unfairly?

Donna Dickens has an amusing post up at Hitfix in which she begs Hollywood to “please stop character assassinating Ramses II”.

The Bible, you see, never says precisely who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, but most big-screen versions of the story — from The Ten Commandments to The Prince of Egypt to Ridley Scott’s upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings — have assumed it was Ramses II, one of the most powerful Pharaohs who ever lived.

There are reasons for this, which I’ll get to in a moment, but Dickens proposes an alternative theory. Instead of dating the Exodus to the time of Ramses, who lived in the 13th century BC, she proposes dating it to the time of Thutmose III, an accomplished Pharaoh in his own right who ruled in the 15th century BC.

Why so much earlier? Partly because I Kings 6:1 tells us that Solomon began building the Temple 480 years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, and that he did this during the fourth year of his own reign. So Solomon began his reign 476 years after the Exodus, and if you date the beginning of Solomon’s reign to about 970 BC, as Dickens apparently does, then all you have to do is add 476 years and — voila! — the Exodus took place in 1446 BC, right in the middle of Thutmose’s reign.

I used to subscribe to this theory, or at least a version of it, myself.

[Read more...]

King Solomon reimagined as a modern country-music star

“Even the wisest of men was a fool for love.”

So goes the tagline for The Song, an upcoming film that takes the story of the biblical Solomon and reimagines it as a story about a singer-songwriter dealing with fame and temptation in present-day America.

The biblical Solomon isn’t exactly known for his singing and songwriting — not like his father David, at any rate — but the Bible does say that “his songs numbered a thousand and five”. Two of the Psalms are attributed to him, and so, of course, is the Song of Songs. So it seems that this film is taking that as a jumping-off point.

The film will also make use of Ecclesiastes, a book of subversive wisdom that is also commonly attributed to Solomon.

[Read more...]

Movies that flip their source material on its head

My friend and colleague Steven D. Greydanus tweeted the other day that the new Lone Ranger movie is not just one of those films that doesn’t “get” its source material but, rather, it is made by “people who do understand the source material—and dislike it.” He has since noted that this point is also made by New York Times critic A.O. Scott, who wrote that the film is “an ambitious movie disguised as a popcorn throwaway, nothing less than an attempt to revise, reinvigorate and make fun of not just its source but also nearly every other western ever made.”

This got me wondering about other films that have knowingly inverted their source material, rather than adapted it, per se — i.e., films that have explicitly challenged the themes of their source material. Two examples came to mind immediately.

[Read more...]

Solomon, his two lovers, and the demons they battle

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the Jerusalem Film Fund, which supports films and TV shows that take place within Israel’s capital city, has given some money to an animated film called Being Solomon, which is described as “a Hungarian-British-Israeli production that imagines the biblical King Solomon joining forces with the Queen of Sheba and an Arab queen, Na’ama, to fight the king of demons, who is seeking to take over their kingdoms.”

[Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X