• 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.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Visual Bible's Matthew:Ch.16-17

    (From a series of posts working through the Visual Bible's Matthew).
    Chapter 16 opens with some discussion with and about the Pharisees and Saducees. Again Bruce Marchiano delivers a good scene, although I still wish he was a little less touchy-feely. That's a personal thing however.

    The most significant part of of this chapter is Peter's declaration. It's a passage that Catholics and Protestants disagree as to how it should be interpreted. Is the "rock" that Jesus is going to build his church on Peter the man (as the Roman Catholics would argue) or the content of his declaration (as Protestants would contend). There's quite a significant cut to Matthew and his two scribes at this point, which comes after Jesus has told Peter that his words came from the Father, but before he says he is Peter and on this rock. Having the cut in this position leans towards Catholic take on hings. The more natural reading it seems to me is that Jesus means Peter rather than his words.

    Incidentally Matthew and his scribes are now by the side of a stream. The scribes are writing on their laps, rather than on the modern-style table they were using earlier. Mark Goodacre would no doubt approve.

    Chapter 17 is fairly uneventful apart from the Transfiguration (pictured above). It's a somewhat rare scene in Jesus films, tending only to be present in those films which are made by Evangelical Christian groups. Jesus appears to be leaning on one of the two men for support, it's not clear which of the two it is.

    The remainder of the chapter seems a demon-possessed boy healed and the strange case of the fish with a four drachma coin in its mouth (although the text never tells us that things panned out as Jesus said). The composition and lighting of this scene is really nice. This chapter in general features lots of close-ups which is particularly noticeable to me having seen Pasolini do the same thing in his version of this gospel. I'll hopefully write up about that tomorrow.

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