Zeffirelli is not out to depict the dirtiness, unpleasantness or even the violence of the ancient world. Rather, he wants to provide an 'authentic' background for the story he's telling which serves that story - it is violent or unpleasant where necessary, but for the most part, he wishes simply to show people getting on with their lives within their historical context. This is, of course, partly determined by his subject matter, since adding sex and violence to the story of the Gospels would make a rather different series and not give it the reverent air it has. But it is also, fundamentally, a different, perhaps an older, approach to the depiction of the ancient world, in which the director is more interested in showing the similarities between us and the ancients than the (sexy, violent) imagined differences.
Labels: Jesus of Nazareth