• 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


    Friday, September 21, 2007

    VIFF07 - 100 Nails - Ermanno Olmi

    Having two good friends, (both of whom are also great writers) both living in Vancouver means that I'm probably more aware of what happens at the VIFF than any other film festival you care to mention. Peter Chattaway tends to hold his comments back until it's all over, but Ron Reed has been busy compiling information on several of the films that are showing, (and has recently started writing about some of those he's seen).

    Amongst those Ron has highlighted is One Hundred Nails directed by Ermanno Olmi. Olmi has previously directed two of the most interesting Bible films in the genre - Cammina, Cammina and Genesis: Creation and Flood. I'm always interested in the work of any director who has two films based on the Bible under their belt; looking at the subject twice over tends to mean that Biblical themes bubble under the surface of the rest of their work as well. It seems Olmi is no exception. Here's the plot for One Hundred Nails:
    One hundred ancient volumes from the library's storied collection have been laid to waste, nailed to the floor and torn into pieces. All signs lead to an odd culprit--a young, well established university professor, lecturer of philosophy, who has vanished into thin air, leaving people to believe he has committed suicide after his crime. Actually, he has taken refuge in an old ruin on the banks of the Po river, where he enters into contact with the inhabitants of a nearby town, and is greeted as a sort of reincarnation of Christ...
    Given how much I value the two films mentioned above, my 'director of two Bible films' rule, this description, and the fact Olmi's said this will be his last film, it's fair to say I'll be keeping an eye on its progress. It sounds like it will fit into that strange sub-sub genres of 'films about people mistaken for Christ' alongside Whistle Down the Wind and The Ruling Class.

    Ron ends his pre-view piece on this film with a wonderful quote from Olmi, and I can do no better than end this post with it as well.
    "Every story must have a leading character who becomes an ideal example for us: man or woman, in love's passion or caught up in hatred… So, WHOM should I talk about? WHOM have I got to know, amongst the throng of historical Greats who have made their mark on my life?…Is it too predictable to say Christ?"


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