The Jesus Film (actually, it's entitled Jesus, but everyone knows it as THE Jesus Film) is now being released as a video podcast. It is optimized for 5G Video iPods, but you can watch it through iTunes. As of today (Feb. 24, 2006), four chapters (usually around a minute each) have been released.It's been available to download, in an dizzying array of languages, for sometime now. I'm going to review the film tomorrow, but just a few general links and points before I do.
If you have iTunes, you can add it by clicking here.
If you do not, the news feed for this is: http://www.inspirationalfilms.com/av/jf/vp00373.xml
Firstly, overall I tend to agree with Mark Goodacre's main question about "That Jesus Film" namely how can it "be so successful as an international tool of evangelism when it is so bad"? (He also comments on it elsewhere). The second question I have is. AS far as I'm aware, there are currently five major analyses of the major Jesus films - "Biblical Epics" by Babington and Evans, "Jesus at the Movies" by Tatum, "Savior on the Silver Screen" by Stern et al, "Imaging the Divine" (Baugh) and Walsh's "Reading the Gospels in the Dark". Of those only Tatum's volume actually discusses the film. There is some discussion of it in the reference works by Kinnard and Davis ("Divine Images"), and Campbell and Pitts ("The Bible on Film"), but in depth analysis is underdone. I'm not sure why this is.
A number of possible reasons suggest themselves. It could be because the film is so badly made. But given the genre this is hardly a reason to exclude it. In fact the question of why such a poorly made film has allegedly become the most seen film in history is interesting in itself. Alternatively it could be because the film wasn't a big box office film. Again, given many of the other films this shouldn't exclude discussion. It was actually the first Jesus film saw at the cinema, and in the intervening 18 years I've only managed that feat with 3 other films. It could be because it only focuses on one gospel. This is certainly what Tatum finds most interesting about it, particularly as really it's more like John (at least in its intent). There are various other potential reasons, but none of which seem unsatisfactory. Perhaps the Christian conspiracy theorists have the most plausible suggestion.
There was also a documentary made about this film which aired a couple of years ago. There's some discussion of that (as well as plenty about the original film) at Arts and Faith. My specific impression about the documentary are in this post. There are also a few other articles at BBC4, The New York Times and the BBC website, which accepts its claim to be "The most watched film in history". There's also a very detailed article about "The making of Jesus" at the Christian Century, and Mike Hernstein covers this over at Flickerings as well
Labels: Jesus (1979)