The first thing to say is that whilst the vast majority of the material is drawn from the book Jeremiah, there are a few places where the film draws on parts of 2 Kings to fill in the historical gaps.
It's also interesting to note that most of the material taken from Jeremiah, aside from the opening, is taken from chapters 20-30. There's not a single reference from chapters 40-49 (where Jeremiah is mainly cursing the other nations), and only one from 10-19 (Jer 16:1-4). This passage - where Jeremiah is told not to take a wife - and Jer 34:8-11 - where Mattaniah frees the slaves before reversing the decision some time later - are used to insert the film's only real extra-biblical sub-plot where Jeremiah falls in love. This is actually a fairly common device employed by The Bible Collection's films, and in some of the other cases the picture is severely derailed as a result. Here the filmmakers manage to keep it under control so it forms interesting speculation that highlights Jeremiah's sad and introspective character.
Working out this scene guide does give me more of a feel for just how jumbled the book's chronology is. Of course some of this is down to the filmmakers rather than the source material, but material from the siege of Jerusalem, for example, is really spread around in such a way as to make me wonder why. Is there a purpose to this ordering, or was this just not considered important or in any way useful?Overall I think the film does a great job of summarising Jeremiah and putting him in his historical context, and it manages to include most of the book's famous passages. One surprising omission, however, is the story of Jeremiah at the potter's house and the attached sayings (Jer 18:1–23). The film does include the vision of the upturned pot, and perhaps the writers thought that too many pot symbols might be confusing. Even so, I would have thought the potter's house passage would have been the one to be selected.
There are a few things I noticed about the call of Jeremiah. Firstly, the film enhances Jeremiah's call with elements from the call of Isaiah (Is 6). In the book of Jeremiah, there's no mention of a vision, and God touching Jeremiah's lips appears to be more of a metaphor than anything else. We're also not told where this call took place. In the film, however, Jeremiah also sees a vision, twice, and on both occasions it occurs in the temple. It's interesting that the second of these quotes part of Jer 5:14 "I have put my words in your mouth", but cuts off before the use of the word "fire". Instead this element is represented visually as part of Jeremiah's call.
There is actually a further part of Jeremiah's call - the vision of the almond tree, but I noticed that the interpretation of this vision alters some of the details of this vision. The text simply says that the sign means that God is "watching to see that my word is fulfilled". But the film expands this to say "as this tree is in a hurry to sprout, so God is in a hurry to carry out his work".
Lastly, I'm going to make a separate post another day to look at the way that the Jeremiah of this film prefigures Jesus, particularly the Jesus from the later film in the same series.