• 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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    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    The Passion - Part 2 Scene Guide

    See all posts on this film.
    Following on from yesterday's post on episode 1, I'll begin my thoughts on part 2 with my scene guide. Again, I'm 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. It's proved quite hard to do as Frank Deasy rephrases familiar passages andMy overall review of this programme is here.
    [EBE - Jesus and Magdalene]
    [EBE - Caiaphas Questions Judas]
    [EBE - Pilate Prepares for Guests]
    [EBE - Pilate Sentences Barabbas]
    Woes Against Pharisees - Matt 23:1-12
    Teaching on Riches - Mark 10:23-25
    Prediction of Fall of Temple - Mark 13:2
    [EBE - Caiaphas Hears of Jesus' comment]
    [EBE - The Syrian Prefect]
    Jesus Predicts His Death - Mark 10:32-34
    lost around 13 mins
    (Is. 53:4-5)
    Teaching on Discipleship - Mark 8:34-36
    [EBE - Pilate and Claudia]
    [EBE - Caiaphas and Wife]
    [EBE - Jesus and Judas]
    Plot to Kill Jesus - Mark 14:1-2
    Jesus Anointed at Bethany - Mark 14:3-9
    Sanhedrin Plots Against Jesus - John 11:45-53
    Preparation for the Passover - Mark 14:12-16
    [EBE - Caiaphas and Judas]

    I'd heard someone say that each episode of The Passion was more gripping than the one before, and this is definitely so far. I'm not sure whether it's because episode 2 is only half an hour (rather than 60 minutes like part 1), but it seemed to fly by and there was definitely that sense of mild disappointment / frustration that we'll have to wait until Friday to see the next episode.

    Whereas episode one sketched out the story's broader historical context, here the show starts to really develop it's major characters. So we see how threatened Pilate is by the the Syrian prefect en route to Rome; a bad report to Caesar is the last thing Pilate needs. Likewise we see Caiaphases predicament weighing on his mind as he constantly turns to his wife for reassurance. In fact both men's wives are given an important role in this production - arguably another plus point for it

    On the downside, I did find Caiaphas's modernish scepticism a little suspect ("What look like miracles yes"). As far as I recall (and someone will no doubt pick me up on this) Caiaphas never really says anything like this. Everyone in the story seems to acknowledge that Jesus is doing some unusual things; those who reject him simply question whether his power comes from God or Satan. However, it's refreshing to hear Caiaphas specifically say that "Jesus isn't a bad man" he's just misguided.

    Again there were some great lines, although the cryptic way which they reference scripture makes tying them down to a particular reference quite hard. So when Jesus says "all of you will be spared, I will be sacrificed", iut's hard to find a passage to link it to even though it evokes various passages. Likewise the line that has been with me all week (and that starts off the trailer) - "You'll witness a miracle, but not the one you expect" - sums up several little snippets even though we have no record of them being said together.

    In yesterday's Times, Andrew Billen noted how The Passion "looks historically real but not historic: no one knows... that this will be the week that changes the West for ever". It's a great little summary and there were a couple of good examples of it yesterday. Not only the very offhand way in which Jesus predicts the fall of Jerusalem, but also the scene where Jesus predicts his death. Omitting the "get behind me Satan" line really allows the scene to open up, and focus on the reactions of the disciples. This is made all the more poignant by the way the scene starts with a wide shot which emphasises the seeming insignificance of this bunch of scruffy Galilleans.

    Doug Chaplin (Metacatholic), Michael Kirwan (Thinking Faith) and Michael Bird (Euangelion) have also posted reviews on last night's episode - all of them beating me off the mark. Mark Goodacre also links to Simon Mayo's discussion of the programme, and is disappointed by viewing figures of 4.1 million for part one - a third of the audience for Dancing on Ice. Whilst it is disappointing that so many people would rather watch yet another celebrity dance programme than a quality historical, not to mention educational, drama I don't think that really reflects on The Passion in particular so much as the general state of audience viewing habits. Sad but true.

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