Newsbites: The Bible movie edition!

Newsbites: The Bible movie edition! January 25, 2010

Further to my previous post, here are some Bible-themed movie news bits that I’ve been meaning to blog for a while, a few of which I discovered via Matt Page’s invaluable Bible Films Blog.

1. It has been at least five years since the folks behind the Visual Bible announced their intention to make a word-for-word adaptation of The Gospel of Mark. Some of us had given it up for dead — but now Mark Goodacre notes that a comment from Philip Saville, director of the Visual Bible’s previous effort The Gospel of John (2003), was recently posted at YouTube, which seems to indicate that the film might still be in development.

2. Spanish filmmaker Emilio Ruiz Barrachina has made, or is in the middle of making, a feature-length film that depicts Jesus as a political zealot who leads an armed revolt against the Temple in Jerusalem, among other things. The website for the film gives its English title as The Disciple: Jesus, the Undisclosed Story and says the film is still currently in production, but Matt Page says the film already premiered at the Malaga Film Festival way back in April. The producers of this film are also working on a documentary called Jesus 2.0 which will argue that the New Testament has it all wrong and the true meaning of Jesus’ teaching was preserved by a group called “the knowledgeables”, which I’m guessing is a translation of “the Gnostics”.

3. The Maltese Times reported a couple years ago that a “wholly Maltese” movie about the life of Jesus had been shown on the big screen there with the blessing of the local Catholic bishop. Anno Domini XXXIII was originally going to be a 17-part TV series, but the producers decided to re-write it for the big screen — though it would seem, based on the trailer at YouTube, that the “film” was shot on video and still has a certain made-for-TV quality.

4. Carman, a Christian pop star whose efforts to make Christianity macho and “relevant” have been mocked even by his fellow Christian musicians, is now starring as Boaz in the straight-to-DVD effort The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith, which is described on the movie’s website, somewhat ludicrously, as “a Biblical Cinderella story from the archives of the royal Jewish bloodline”. Where to begin? For one thing, Ruth was not some virginal maiden waiting to be swept off her feet by Prince Charming; she was a widow whose method for finding a second husband may have been somewhat sexually aggressive, depending on what you make of the original Hebrew version of this story. For another, while the Book of Ruth does say that one of her great-grandsons turned out to be King David, there was nothing “royal” about Ruth or her family during her lifetime; indeed, the Israelites didn’t even have a king at that time. The basic point of the story is not that a woman found true love, or whatever, but that foreign women and their offspring were not necessarily harmful to the people of Israel despite what some of Israel’s leaders, such as Moses and Nehemiah, tended to claim. It will be interesting to see if the film gets into that on any level, but I’m not holding my breath.

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