• 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, March 28, 2007

    Nativity News Vol. 20

    I realised I missed trick on Monday by only including news about the special edition DVD release of The Nativity Story in passing, and not really commenting on the Mark Moring's latest article on the film for Christianity Today.

    The news about the 2nd DVD is not really surprising. I'm amazed by the number of barebones DVDs people buy new even when it's obvious that a special edition will arrive in the not-too-distant future. I'm never sure whether dual release strategies like this are down to cynical industry marketing, or simply the fact that it takes a while to get a decent collection of extras together, and some people want the DVD as soon as possible. That said the official website store only has the single disc edition advertised at the moment.

    Moring's article is primarily about the release strategy for the film. There are comments from both director Catherine Hardwicke and producer Wyck Godfrey. Elsewhere, Christianity Today has been fielding reader's comments on why it performed poorly at the box office. (Thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet for that one).

    Anyway, the story that made me haul out another edition of Nativity News is that Peter Chattaway has produced an audio commentary for the film along with his priest Fr. Justin Hewlett. Chattaway and Hewlett figured that since the current DVD has no audio commentary, and since it's another 6+ months until the special edition will be released, they may as well do their own. It's now available to download (although be aware it's 96MB!). The idea for doing this comes from the great Roger Ebert who way back in 2002 advocated the idea of "Do-it-yourself movie commentary tracks". It's something I'd like to do myself someday, hopefully once I've got used to doing my podcast I can make the transition.

    Finally, back in October, the news broke that the star of The Nativity Story, Keisha Castle-Hughes, was pregnant. Two strange things happened shortly afterwards. Firstly, as the readers comments linked to above verify, a number of Christians decided not to see the film as a result. Secondly, someone commented on my blog that they were a friend of Castle-Hughes, and that she wasn't in fact pregnant.

    Whilst it would have been great to have such a scoop on this blog, it seems fairly certain that the comment was a red herring. As the baby should be due any time now I've done a bit of searching for news, and Celebrity Baby Blog had a picture of her from before Christmas with a very visible bump.

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    • At 7:39 pm, March 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Regarding Castle-Hughes pregnancy, and the subsequent refusal on the part of some Christians to see the film, I can't help but to note what a silly attitude that is. As someone who's been an avid fan of 'Bible Films' since childhood, and seen the best (and more frequently) worst that 'Christian Cinema' has to offer, I've always been annoyed at how some Christians value (or oftentimes prefer) percieved personal morality, or piety, over artistic quality; when approaching any work of art, I am concerned soley with the presence of the latter. Of course, as in the case of Gibson or Stevens, faith and an exceptional ability to craft celluoid into something powerful, to intersect, and combine to produce a work of brilliance; but this is a relatively rare occurance. Passolini's atheism didn't vitiate his his production of "Matthew," anymore than Bruce Marciano's evangelical faith could turn his interpretation of Christ into something watchable. Even 'Jesus of Nazareth,' which I hold as the best film of its kind, was the creative product of a bisexual director, and a screenwriter who had lapsed in his faith. Keisha is a fine young actress, and when assesing the value of her work, that alone is of any importance.


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