• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    One More Film About Ruth

    On Tuesday I looked at the meagre selection of films about Ruth. There is one extra "film" that I didn't cover then since it is only 15 minutes long, but given the poor selection I thought it would be worth covering. The film is called Ruth, a Faithful Woman, and it is part of the Living Bible series of films. (I reviewed Gideon, the Liberator last month. It was created by the same team that made Gideon and the rest of this Hebrew Bible series - written by Betty Luerssen and directed by Edward Dew.

    The film like most in the series doesn't really attempt to offer much interpretation to the events that it depicts. There is the odd explanatory note by the narrator, such as when Boaz and his close relative sit down to discuss their field, but these films otherwise play the stories with a fairly straight bat. Obviously every film version of a written text offers some interpretation, nevertheless some do this more than others. (For what it's worth the most unusual aspect of this scene where the closer kinsman gives Boaz his sandal is pictured below). The intended audience of these films was probably Sunday School children who had little or no knowledge of these stories, and by that standard they are fairly effective.

    That would also explain the only glaring omission from the story - the episode where Ruth "sleeps at the feet" of Boaz. Many scholars consider this to be a euphemism, and I suppose that even taken literally it is hardly the kind of thing a Sunday School teacher wants to encourage her class to do. It's a shame though that of only four films about Ruth, half of them are for children, and one is so old that the emotional/relational/sexual implications of this scene are unexplored. Underneath the thick layers of cultural practice there is an interesting story, but few biblical stories are so encased in their times that they remain so impenetrable to all but the most scholarly.

    Anyway, here is the scene guide:
    Intro - the Women leave Moab (Ruth 1:1-5)
    Orpah returns, Ruth stays (Ruth 1:18)
    Naomi arrives in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:19-22)
    Ruth Meets Boaz - (Ruth 2:1-18)
    Ruth tells Naomi about Boaz - (Ruth 2:19-23)
    Ruth and Boaz meet at night - (Ruth 3:9-12,15)
    Ruth reports back to Naomi - (Ruth 3:16-18)
    Boaz and the Kinsman Redeemer - (Ruth 4:1-12)
    Ruth's Ancestors - (Ruth 4:13-22)

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