Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Perhaps the best thing about the site, however, is that it gives you the (full?) script in both English and German. I'm not sure how widely known this film is, and will probably drop Thomas Langkau a line to find out if he knows about it. I'll try and find out more on this one and report back later if I discover anything more.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I must admit though that I'm a little flummoxed by just how much hatred there appears to be against Christians at the moment, particularly when given the chance to comment on web articles as they are here. I agree that Wright is too hyperbolic with his phrase "militant atheists", and I'm certainly not denying that the church has done some horrendous things in the past, nor that it still has it's faults at present. But there seems to be an increasing amount of vitriol against Christians on the web at the moment, and it does genuinely make me wonder why so many people want to spend so much of their time knocking us in such a full-on manner. Have we really hurt so many people?
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Moreover, there's the BBC Shop which currently just returns the message "This product is not available to view" on an otherwise blank page. Yet, according to Google cache, there was a whole page on the DVD at one point. So I've no idea what's going on, but it doesn't look like this DVD will be coming out tomorrow, (although you never can tell).
In other news, Mark Goodacre has linked to another set of Q&A which this time deal with issues raised by the show's portrayal of the death and resurrection scenes. There are some interesting answers there, not least getting some clarification over the portrayal of various parts of the story.
Finally, the latest issue of the C of E's Reader Magazine has just been published including a brief piece I wrote about The Passion. I think I tagged this on to a previous post after its initial publication, so some of you may have missed it.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
15 months later and it seems the book is almost ready for publication, although initially it's only going to be available in the director's native Dutch. Hollywood Reporter are saying that Verhoeven's 'Jezus van Nazareth: Een realistisch portret' (Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait) will be published by Meulenhoff in September, and a quick search on their website uncovered the above cover art and a brief description (still unintelligible even after using Google Translation). Fortunately, Fox News have picked out the main headlines.
In his upcoming biography of Jesus, "Basic Instinct" director Paul Verhoeven will make the shocking claim that Christ probably was the son of Mary and a Roman soldier who raped her during the Jewish uprising in Galilee.Fox has wheeled in Catholic League President Bill Donohue to fulfill the role of outraged Christian, but, really, Verhoeven is saying nothing that hasn't been said a hundred times before. In fact similar claims are even made in another Jesus film - Jesus of Montreal - so it's hard to believe that Donohue is really that shocked. That said, his suggestion that the Basic Instinct director "should go back to Sharon Stone's legs" seems very odd indeed. Is Donohue really suggesting Verhoeven make more soft porn?
The book... also states that Christ was not betrayed by Judas Iscariot.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Unfortunately I decided to delay posting more until Sins of Jezebel, and, sadly, it didn't arrive until yesterday. Furthermore, having had a quick scan it appears it's very much based on Elijah and 1 Kings rather than the second part of the book. So I probably should have posted this a month or two ago, but better late than never I suppose.
The first film is a five part mini-series from Brazil called O Desafio de Elias (The Challenge of Elijah) by Rede Record and VMT Produções. It was directed by Luiz Antônio Piá based on Yves Dumont's screenplay. It aired on 5 consecutive nights on Brazilian TV back in 1997 (22-26 December). Guilherme Linhares played Elijah, Adriana Lessa (pictured above) as Ninra, Othon Bastos as Ahab and Sônia Lima as Jezebel (pictured below). WitlessD also sent me a description which I've had translated.
The struggle of the prophet Elijah for the word of the God of Israel. It's around the year 850 BC and Elijah antagonizes King Ahab. Ahab is married to the flirtatious Jezabel, and influenced by the queen's construction of a temple to the false god BaalA year later Lima and the same producers, director and writer created a 10 part Esther mini-series A História de Ester.
Then there have been two versions of Racine's 1691 play 'Athalie' (based on the story of the idolatrous Athaliah from 2 Kings 8&11 / 2 Chronicles 22&23). The first version, Athaliah, Queen of Judah, was filmed by Pathé Frères in 1910 and a couple of reviews of it remain to this day. Firstly an issue of The Bioscope dated 25 August 1910 (p.29):
Athaliah, Queen of Judah, has gained the throne by the destruction of all the royal princes. Unknown to her, a tiny babe has been saved by Jehoiada, the priest, and brought up by him in the Temple of Jerusalem. Seven years pass and the people, weary of the tyranny of their cruel Queen, plead to God for a miracle in the form of the coming of a son of David.The other review was written by Georges Fagot for the 8th October 1910 edition of Ciné-Joumal, (No 111). Again this is a translation:
Athahiah has become a worshipper of Baal, and two of the priests of Baal are seen endeavoring to persuade her to destroy the Sacred Temple. But Athaliah dismisses her advisers and falls a prey to remorse and visions in which Joash, the new child king, appears to her. Athaliah resolves to satisfy herself as to the truth of the rumors of the existence of a royal prince. She goes to the Temple and finds herself within its sacred walls at the moment a sacrifice is to be made. Jehoiada drives her out, and the Queen decides to question Joash. Joash is unable to answer her questions, but his features convince Athaliah, and she decides that she must regain her power by arms.
In the next scene we see he leading her warriors to the assault of the great Temple. She demands admittance, and the High Priest, allows her to enter alone. He has a curtain drawn aside and Athaliah sees before her the new King, seated on a throne, and surrounded by his adherents. She springs forward, but at the cry of the priest, hidden soldiers rush forward and force her backwards out of the Temple. Outside the people have gathered to acclaim the new ruler promised them, and Athaliah cries out for their allegiance. Their only reply is silence, which changes into cries of joy as Joash appears before the Temple, and as the queen rushes forward a thrust from a spear ends her life.
The film is well staged, and carefully treated, and the numerous sub-titles clearly explain the story.
We have just seen the most perfect film that has, so far, been presented by cinematography, Athalie, directed and adapted by Mr. Michel Carré one of the most famous authors of the SCAGL ... An ingenious adapter and clever director Mr. Michel Carré was well qualified to be the chef-d’ceuvre-Racine, as illustrated by this film version from La Série d’Art Pathé Frères (original name for Pathé FrèresShooting began on 11 May 1910 and the film was released in Paris on 7th October 1910. The film was 410m/1352ft [361color].
The second, Atalia, was an Italian TV version transmitted on RAI 2 in 1964. The cast included Lilla Brignone (Athaliah) and Roberto Chevalier (Jehoash). It was directed by Mario Ferrero, and aired on RAI2 on the 13th May 1964 (my birthday). Whilst it looks lie a few copies of the 1910 film remain the 1964 version was apparently wiped just a year after its release.Finally, Will Smith is due to star in The Last Pharaoh - which is actually going to be about Taharqa the last Pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty rather than Cleopatra (because that would be really strange). And, as Peter Chattaway points out, that might feature an appearance from Hezekiah and the events of 2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 37
There is an interesting connection between Taharqa and the biblical history of this period. Scholars, it seems, have said that Taharqa may be the same person who is referred to in II Kings 19 and Isaiah 37 as "Tirhakah, the Cushite king of Egypt" -- a figure who is mentioned simply because he was "marching out to fight" against the Assyrian king Sennacherib while Sennacherib was laying siege to Jerusalem in 701 BC.Peter also lists some problems with that theory and wonders how the film may treat the different accounts in the Greek / biblical history (if it includes the incident at all).
This post has taken me so long I've now not got enough time to sit and watch Sins of Jezebel. Oh well...
Monday, April 21, 2008
So it will be interesting to see if King of Kings features in next year's Ray biopic Interrupted. There's precious little information about it at the moment. It's based on Ray's posthumously published auto-biography 'I was Interrupted', and is being produced by City Lights Pictures (The Ten). Philip Kaufman (Quills, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) is lined up as director and City Lights claim that there's "A-list talent slated to star". Variety has a brief piece on this, as do a few other outlets, but there's not much to go on so far (and the Variety piece is from Jan. 2006).
In any case, I suspect King of Kings won't figure too highly: it is mentioned on only 5 pages in the index for 'I Was Interrupted', as opposed to 24 in Eisenschitz's index (although Eisenschitz's is book is more than twice as many pages) . But it would be interesting if it were included. No doubt it could make an interesting double bill with the sort of DeMille biopic Sands of Oblivion.
1 - Bernard Eisenschitz, "Nicholas Ray: An American Journey", Faber and Faber (London), ch.34, but especially p.371-375
2 - Bernard Eisenschitz, "Nicholas Ray: An American Journey", Faber and Faber (London), p.379
Labels: King of Kings
Friday, April 18, 2008
Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Thursday, April 17, 2008, at 22:20
Sandow and Elyse will attend.
Margate Rocks 08
Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 6pm
Great Small Works,
8th International Toy Theater Festival
dumbo, Brooklyn, NY
Thursday, May 29th at 10pm
REDCAT Theater at Disney Hall
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Members of the team may attend
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Santa Monica, CA
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Sean, Sandow, and Elyse will attend.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
1) on stage, during a play's rehearsal; 2) as one of those films of the 1910s and 1920s, in which people moved at an accelerated pace; 3) with a chromatically-charged photography and dialogues of a sense of the absurd only equalled by the likes of Beckett or Ionesco ; 4) in a dusky setting, serving as a metaphor to our civilization's current state of affairs, the BOOK OF JOB is recited by biblical characters.It seems the film may be doing the rounds at the moment, perhaps in celebration of de Oliveira's 100th birthday year, (and apparently he's still alive and making films!) So Doug C of the new Another Film Board saw it in a double bill with the director's passion play documentary O Acto de Primavera (The Rite of Spring), and it will be screening at the Torino Film Festival on the 21st and 29th November this year.
I've not managed to find a great deal more out about this one. It seems fairly clear that "Job" only appears in the final segment, but that Job-like themes run throughout the picture, and it's based on plays by José Régio and Beckett. There are some interesting details here, and a couple of Portuguese pages about the film (which I've passed through Google translation) here and here.
I can't recall any other films about Job, although the IMDb details a 1936 production which it describes as a "Televised Ballet based on Blake's vision of the Book of Job".
Monday, April 14, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
There's a little bit on this new series at Broadcast Now. Apparently it will be produced by Anna Cox with Michael Mosley and Jean-Claude Bragard acting as executive producers. Cox and Bragard worked together on the 2006 documentary series The Miracles of Jesus (pictured), and Bragard has been involved in other religious documentaries for the BBC since at least 2001 when he produced / directed Son of God.
There's also a press release from the BBC which mainly seems to focus on the Beeb's partnership with Greek broadcaster SKAI Television, but it does have this to say:
Religious co-production Bible will be a six part series featuring the most important and iconic Bible stories. Each episode will use drama and CGI to bring the stories to life – emphasising their humanity, the miraculous experiences and the epic encounters.Various sources have stressed that The Bible will be a big budget production, though figures are a little sketchy. I also seem to recall hearing that this was a 13 episode series whereas these pages say it will be six hour long episodes. I'll post more news as it comes along.
It will be an accessible, entertaining, informative and intelligent guide to important passages in the Bible.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Personally I find the timing of this annoucement somewhat distasteful - an unnerving keenness to prize the horse whip from Heston's cold dead hands, but in fairness, producer David Wyler has dedicated the film to both Heston and his father. Wyler's father is, as you may have guessed, the great William Wyler who both directed the 1959 version and worked on the 1925 production.
Wyler also states that the new film will feature a younger Ben Hur, and that he wants the film to "look at the spirituality within the piece rather than directly relating it to a specific religion". At the same time he intends that the series will be more in line with Lew Wallace's original novel than its predecessors.
There's a bit more on this over at FilmChat including some footage from the 1907 version.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Released in 1989 the controversy came hot on the heels of debates about Last Temptation of Christ and the Salman Rushdie novel 'The Satanic Verses'. The 19 minute film depicts a scene in which a "sexualised figure of St Teresa of Avila caresses the body of Christ on the cross".1 The ruling eventually ended up in the European Court of Human Rights in 1996, where the BBFC's decision was upheld.
This June, however, sees the repeal of the blasphemy law, which might pave the way for the ban to be lifted. And, according to The Observer, board member Craig Lapper has invited director Nigel Wingrove to resubmit the film for classification.
Searching the web for a bit more information on this film I also came across a 2006 Mark Kermode article from The Observer which discusses the film ahead of the (then) proposed 'Racial and Religious Hatred Act'. He describes the film as
an innocuous (if rather silly) short film depicting 'the ecstatic and erotic visions of St Teresa of Avila'...St Teresa is first seduced by her own sexual psyche (played, conveniently, by a photegenic 'babe'), and then mounts and caresses the crucified body of Christ. Technical shortcomings notwithstanding (hands which seem to move freely despite apparently being nailed down) the film raised a problem for the BBFC, which is forbidden from classifying material which may infringe the laws of the land.His overall point is, I think, that whilst he thinks such material is distasteful, we shouldn't maintain a law which "privileges the sensitivities of Christians over those of others". Wingrove himself apparently has some reservations about resubmitting the film after all this time. "If I did release it, I would need to put it into context"2.
1 - "Visions of Ecstasy", Students' British Board of Film Classification - http://www.sbbfc.co.uk/case_study_visionsofe.asp
2 - "Rethink over Christ 'porn' film ban", The Observer, 6th April 2008 - http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2271373,00.html
Monday, April 07, 2008
It was undoubtedly DeMille who made Heston a star, giving him his big break in The Greatest Show on Earth and making him a household name with The Ten Commandments. Today Heston's performance seems a little dated in places, but overall it's still as monumental as it was 50 years ago. As with the film in general, it always seems to play better than I remember it.
Three years later Heston won an Oscar for his role in another Bible Film, of sorts, Ben Hur pictured in this blog's header image). The film won a record number of Oscars, but it was Heston's performance, along with the chariot race scene that really captured the attention. Heston's portrayal captured the inner battle between Ben Hur's heroism and his bitterness.Then in 1965 he turned in a brief role in The Greatest Story Ever Told. The standard complaint about this film was its parade of A-list stars making cameos, not least John Wayne's climatic moment as a centurion. In fairness Heston's performance was no better. It was the only feature film to star both actors.
Heston made numerous other historical films, El Cid, Big Country, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra and The Three Musketeers to name just a few. He often joked that his face belonged to another century, but in reality it was as much his charisma and nobility. Michel Mourlet first noted his "eagle's profile" with his "imperious arch of eyebrows", and in that way he embodied America1.
He had plenty of choice roles in the modern era as well. In 1958 he was cast as a Mexican detective in A Touch of Evil and he became one of the few actors to get to choose their director. Chuck chose well, and Orson Welles got to make what is perhaps his second greatest film.
In later life he also ended up fronting a series of documentaries - "Charlton Heston Presents - The Bible" and voicing an animated version of Ben Hur, as well as turning in a handful of smaller roles. Reading stories and obituaries from various news outlets reminded me of one that I had temporarily forgotten - his hilarious cameo in Wayne's World 2.Predictably there are also mentions of his work as head of the NRA. Whilst I disagree with his politics I'm deeply saddened by the vitriol of some of the comments on the BBC website. They seem to forget / are unaware that not only do the majority of Americans favour the right to own a gun, but they also live in a household that actually does.
For Heston, however, this was simply part of his life long fight for civil rights as embodied in his presence at civil rights protests in the early sixties. It's rare for someone cross party agendas in such an extreme way. Rarer still for it to be done in a way that seems to exhibit such logic. As I said disagree, but, it has to be said most respectfully.
It was Heston's role with the NRA that gained him his last memorable screen role - as the bad guy in Bowling for Coumbine (2002). Director Michael Moore put in a lot of hours in the editing room, and Heston came out of it looking pretty bad. Shortly afterwards, however, he announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer's and his apparent discombobulation during Moore's interview suddenly made sense.Following his announcement he retired from public life and it seemed increasingly likely that the next news story about him would be the announcement of his death that came yesterday. Even before he reached 84 he had boasted that he had lived enough for two lives, and one wouldn't be surprised if his arrival at the pearly gates leads one or two of the inmates to exclaim "it's Moses!"
There are a few other pieces on Heston at the BBC, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent.
1 - Michel Mourlet, "In Defence of Violence" in "Stardom: Industry of Desire" Gledhill (ed). (1991)
Friday, April 04, 2008
However, the big news is that CNN have a report showing some footage from the film interspersed with some comments from director Nader Talebzadeh. According to that the film will be released over the web shortly. I should warn you, however, that the report contains a major spoiler. I've been trying to get hold of Talebzadeh to get more information, but, as you might imagine, it's not that easy.
The next Biblical Studies Carnival will be held at Jim West's blog.
Labels: Biblical Studies Carnivals
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
There were a couple of others that caught my eye. Pride of place goes to Chris Weimer's spoof Biblical Studies Carnival. Having actually nominated some posts this month, the opening line had me wondering...
Other April Fools' Day jokes include Stephen Carlson using Equidistant Letter Sequences to identify Brian as the author of the first gospel and Brian Flemming (host of The God Who Wasn't There) who posted a video to YouTube suggesting he had re-converted. Tyler Williams took a different angle, looking at Fools in the Book of Proverbs.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Marvin Jones has released a controversial detail about his new pic Shepherd to King. Telling the biblical story of David the pic's star, who is not being named at this stage, will film the middle and latter parts of David's life first before going under the knife in order to film the early episodes in the great king's story. Jones has been keen to downplay the controversy.Even so, it sounds pretty odd, and I'm not really sure it will work. Whilst David wasn't what we'd call a boy, he was still younger than I can imagine than plastic surgery can make you look. Mind you maybe he's just got someone really really good. I'll keep an eye on this one.
"For ages I've been trying to work out a way to film David in his whole life. The other films tend to use different actors or very unconvincing make-up. Then the actor concerned happened to mention that they were planning on having surgery and I wondered if that might be a novel solution. It's not like he's doing it specially..."