• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    The Passion - Part 1 Scene Guide

    See all posts on this film.
    Having already written my review of this programme, I'm going to try and track each episode as it goes, giving biblical references in my usual scene guide format (citation guide). Passages in square brackets are extra-biblical episodes, those in normal brackets are where the characters themselves are citing other biblical passages, and I've used quotation marks for direct quotations from the script.
    Disciples Find a Colt - Mark 11:1-6
    [EBE - Murder in the Lower City]
    (Zech. 9:9)
    (Isaiah 43:2-4)
    Follow me - Mark 1:15-17
    [EBE - Pilate arrives in Jerusalem]
    [EBE - A Dead Body in the Lower City]
    Anything Good From Nazareth - John 1:46
    "You'll Know God Like Never Before" - Matt 13:35
    Triumphal Entry - Mark 11:7-10
    [EBE - Caiaphas hears of Jesus]
    Don't Worry About Tomorrow - Matt 6:31-34
    Trust like a child - Mark 10:14-15
    Jesus Visits the Temple - Mark 11:11
    [EBE - Pilate and Claudia]
    [EBE - Jesus and the Prostitutes]
    [EBE - Jesus by the Pool]
    Kingdom of God in our Hearts - Luke 17:21
    [EBE - Pilate and Caiaphas]
    The Law - Matt 5:17
    Barabbas Murders - Mark 15:7
    Clearing the Temple - Mark 11:15-18
    [EBE - Caiaphas Hears of Jesus' Actions]
    [EBE - Romans Go After Barabbas]
    Question About Taxes - Mark 12:13-18
    [EBE - Barabbas Arrested]
    Good Shepherd - Matt 18:10-14
    Question on Authority - Mark 11:27-28
    Joy in Heaven Over Repentance - Luke 15:7,10
    Not Come to Overthrow the Law - Matt 5:17
    Greatest Commandment - Mark 12:28-34
    Not to Judge but to Save - John 12:47
    Children's Undestanding - Matt 11:25
    Parable of the Wicked Tenants - Mark 12:1-12
    [EBE - Caiaphas Told of Barabbas' Arrest]
    Greatest Disciples - Mark 10:35-45, John 13:34-35
    [EBE - Caiaphas and Joseph discuss Jesus]
    Mary Questions Jesus - Mark 3:21
    [EBE - Caiaphas Weighs his Options]
    [EBE - Pilate Told of Barabbas' Arrest]
    [EBE - The Two Marys]
    [EBE - Jesus and Judas]
    The thing that is immediately obvious from looking at the above, is just how much of the script is establishing the back story, even events such as Barabbas committing murder extrapolates a whole story from just a single remark. Much of this happens in order to fill in the blanks that would have been well known to the people at the time, but most viewers won't be aware of (including those in churches).

    This film really is keen to improve Caiaphas's reputation. So the first time we see him he is being affectionate with his wife and children. Caiaphas is first and foremost a family man, whose closest confidant turns out to be his wife.It's also interesting how there are no miracles as of yet. In fact, in one added scene we see Jesus visit a pool in Jerusalem surrounded by the sick and dying. It suggest the pool that Jesus visits in John 5 to heal a lame man (Bethesda), but despite the multitude of people who Jesus could heal he opts to alleviate their suffering by way of reassurance, moping their brows and instructing the disciples to do likewise. The show's primary concern is to look at the story from an historical angle, so it's neither surprising nor controversial that there are no healings. However, the way that this scene evokes Bethesda is interesting. Jesus seems to only heal one person in John's account (despite the presence of many), here, instead of an impressive, yet isolated, healing we see a more widespread demonstration of compassion, but one that is seemingly not as powerful (for want of a better word).

    Finally, the scene that caused most discussion at the première was from the scene between Jesus and his mother. Riazat Butt noted this when she covered the première for The Guardian. It was the line where Mary says to Jesus "You were in my belly before I knew it" that proved controversial, as it seems to suggest Mary didn't have a choice when in fact she did. At the time I was stunned by the criticism: it was a dramatic line, uttered amidst a tense confrontation not a carefully thought out statement about the incarnation. Having seen it twice since, I still don't really get it and, like those who answered the question, would not have thought of the line in those terms before it was raised by one of the audience members.Just wanted to add one unrelated point on The Passion that does contain something of a spoiler, so some of you might want to look away. Yesterday's Sunday Telegraph ran a piece of how this show will show Jesus crucified in an different pose from the traditional position. This is nothing new for Jesus films of course. Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Jesus of Montreal (1989) both showed Jesus crucified in a foetal position (and naked to boot. Mawle has discussed wearing a loin cloth so I suspect this might not be the case in this film), and The Gospel of John (2003), showed Jesus with his legs nailed either side of the cross with his body hanging low. Jesus of Montreal (1989) even included some discussion and sketches on the issue. However, it does explain my earlier observation that there don't appear to be any photos of the crucifixion. The Telegraph's writer, Jonathan Wynne-Jones, did attempt to contact me on Friday, but after 6 phone calls and various emails we somehow failed to hook up. He did, however, speak to Mark Goodacre, who, it turns out was not hugely impressed with Wynne-Jones's final article. Now the Daily Mail has also run a piece on the story, although it seems to largely be a rehash of the Telegraph one.

    The Telegraph does offer a positive review, however, along with The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Herald, Thinking Faith and The Scotsman.

    Mark has also offered a quick round up of various bloggers including Michael Bird in Euangelion and Doug Chaplin from Metacatholic.

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