• 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


    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    More on "The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury"

    I've been searching keenly for a bit more information on Saturday's Channel 4 programme The Passion: Films, Faith and Fury, which I feature in briefly (at least that's what I've been told). When I discussed it last month there was only a small amount of information available. It was also unclear whether Christopher Eccleston or Robert Beckford would be fronting the programme.

    Anyway information is gradually seeping out, and although I've not seen it myself, it apparently has been advertised on TV. It seems clear now that it will be Beckford and not Ecclestone, as I suspected all along. I'm really not sure where the Eccleston association came from, and I suppose it's still possible that he might feature (although I suspect that would be included in the publicity).

    The biggest slice of information available so far (away from this site) is now on Channel 4 Sales' Programming and Schedules site

    With the success of films such as The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia , and the imminent release of the movie version of The Da Vinci Code , the century-old relationship between Hollywood and the church is being thrust back into the spotlight. In a special two-hour Easter documentary Dr. Robert Beckford examines the complex connections between the two very different worlds and interviews some of the key players who have found themselves at the centre of controversy, including Martin Scorsese, Willem Dafoe, Terry Gilliam and Robert Powell. The documentary charts the rise of cinema and its uneasy relationship with the church, from the early filmed passion plays of the 1890s to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia , via The Ten Commandments and The Exorcist , and by way of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Life of Brian .

    It is a complex courtship that has moved from control through animosity to a new realisation by studios that there is a huge, and previously untapped, audience to be catered for. The film also includes interviews with leading theologians and Christian figures and asks who really controls the imagery of the bible: the church or the entertainment industry? Prod/ Dir: Rory Wheeler; Exec Prods: Danny Fenton, Jes Wilkins; Prod Co: Zig Zag
    Sadly the programme is up against the latest instalment of Doctor Who?, which also won't be starring Eccleston, and starts quarter of an hour later at 7:15. That said, I suspect my bit will probably be towards the start, so you never know your luck!

    One thing I am glad about though is that the interviews were recorded months ago, rather than this week. I'm currently sporting 8 stitches in a gash across my forehead from a rugby match on Saturday.

    The Passion: Films, Faith and Fury, will be airing from 7 to 9pm on 15th April on Channel 4.

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