• 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


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    Monday, January 08, 2007

    "Jesus Beyond his Genre" - Excerpts up at Image Facts

    Back in April, I mentioned my friend Mike Leary’s paper to be delivered at the (then) up and coming SBL conference in November. Not being a member of the SBL I didn’t make the conference itself, but I was pleased to read on his Ekthesis blog that not only does he plan to have it in print sometime soon, but also that he’s posted a few excerpts three of the films he covered at his Image Facts blog.

    The first film is Gus Van Sant’s Last Days (2005). I watched this fairly recently and I have to say I was disappointed. I've read a few of the things Mike has to say about this film, but I just didn't see them personally. The visuals, it has to be said, are incredibly beautiful, but it just didn't engage me as a whole, despite loving one of Van Sant's other recent films Elephant.

    Mike also discusses La Vie de Jesus (1997) by Bruno Dumont. I've never actually seen this, but Mike's comments are fascinating, and have certainly made me want to catch it sometime. Essentially he (and Dumont) argue that the title of the film invites viewers to comment on the absence of Jesus throughout it.

    Last of all we come to Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar (1966). Bresson austere style gets some getting used to, but once one puts in the time and effort it is well worth it. Au Hasard Balthazar is possibly his most often discussed film - at least in discussions about faith and film - for it's donkey-as-Christ-figure motif. One notable commentary is in Lloyd Baugh's Imaging the Divine where he calls the film "an exceptional Christ-Figure".

    When I find out publication details about this paper I'll post them here, either in the comments on this post, or in a new one. Mike is only one of a number of bibliobloggers who have posted their thoughts on this year’s SBL. Worth reading are the considerable number of posts by Mark Goodacre, (who I will never think of in quite the same light after seeing this photo which he posted on his blog last week).


    • At 12:59 pm, January 08, 2007, Blogger M. Leary said…

      Thanks for the link, Matt. Be careful with the Dumont film. I don't recommend it to anyone but the most sorely interested in this issue as it is marked by Dumont's predilection for very graphic imagery. This film caused quite a scandal in the way it pushed even France's rating system.


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