• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Visual Bible's Matthew:Ch.10-11

    (From a series of posts working through the Visual Bible's Matthew).
    Chapter 10 of Matthew's Gospel opens with the calling of the twelve disciples. Jesus is particularly touchy feely here, even kissing Judas's hand as he names him. There's a chance that this more accurate than the more stoic calling we usually see in films about Jesus. I know, for example, from my own time in Morocco that men will happily walk down the road holding hands, and Judas's sign in Gethsemane (a kiss) cannot have seemed too out of the ordinary. The scene does feel a bit strange in some ways however because it's narrated, and only the twelve appear to be present. It doesn't feel like we are witnessing an occasion when their status is being confirmed just Jesus working his way around the group.

    The twelve were, of course, called for the purpose of mission, not just as a status symbol, and so Jesus embarks on his second major teaching block in this gospel, telling them how they (and presumably Matthew's audience) should carry out their mission. This was my favourite section of these two chapters. Jesus does the voiceover to images of the disciples going around in pairs preaching the gospel. Sometimes they are welcomed into homes, sometimes they are chased out of the city. It's a nicely put together sequence, and not something I'm aware that another film does.

    The mission completed we see Jesus encountering John's disciples who travel an awfully long way for a very short conversation. Somewhere along the line we also see Matthew having to wake his scribes up again. It's played for gentle comedy, but it seems a bit silly. The gospel isn't that long, and why does Matthew so often narrate late into the night? I'm hoping that this will link up with the disciples sleeping in Gethsemane somehow. We'll see.

    Lastly we end with a few more disconnected sections of teaching, shot in a marketplace. Some of these feel quite authentic with piles of vividly coloured spices and more middle eastern looking faces. Different blocks of teaching are shot in different settings, again reflecting the composite nature of some of these teaching blocks. It's a good scene.

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