• 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


    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Marie Palese and Mary Magdalene in Mary

    Spoilers Throughout

    I've been thinking about what to make of the role played by Juliette Binoche in Abel Ferrara's Mary, particularly at the end of the film where she begins to appear in biblical-style dress. Initially I'd just assumed that this was her fully buying into a religious community, but having seen most scenes from the film a number of times now I'm not sure. For example, who is the similarly attired man who pushes their boat out to sea?

    The scene that really got me thinking in this regard is the one between Ted Younger and Gretchen where she stresses how she went to a really deep place in this movie. I also noted how earlier on in the film Marie Palese is seen in 20th century dress, but by the end we no longer see her and hear her at the same time. The last time we see her in modern clothes is as she walks down a dark lane prior to the clip being shown as part of (?) the Ted Younger scene. After this point we either only hear her voice (as in the live TV interview) or we see images of Binoche dressed like she lives in the first century.

    So I've been wondering whether these closing scenes meant to be of the real Mary Magdalene. Is there some implication that Marie Palese is somehow either related to her, or, say, a reincarnation of her, or possessed by her spirit or something along similar lines? Certainly it's something I'll be looking out for next time I watch the film.


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