• 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


    Monday, June 30, 2008

    ReJesus Prince Caspian Review

    My review of the latest entry in the Chronicles of Narnia series, Prince Caspian, is up at ReJesus. For those of you in North America wondering why it's taken me so long, Caspian only came out in the UK this weekend.

    I've been surprised, though, at just how well other people rate this film. I'm not surprised at publications such as Christianity fawning over it ("a cinematic triumph"), but I'm a little surprised that idea's Rich Cline also giving it the thumbs up. Moreover, Empire gave a generally positive 3-star review, as does The Guardian (although elsewhere reviewer Peter Bradshaw is disturbed by it's innovation in the field of "sneaky subliminal corporate branding"). So perhaps it's just me that found the acting so dire that it spoilt the whole film.

    Incidentally, my interview with co-producer / Telmarine Crier Douglas Gresham is still up at Ship of Fools.


    Son of Morning
    Comedy About a Man Mistaken for Jesus

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a reader query about a film where a man was mistaken for Jesus, and mentioned the 1961 British film Whistle Down the Wind which starred Alan Bates. I've no idea whether that was the title the person who asked the question had in mind, but now it seems like there will be another variation on that theme.

    According to Empire, Son of Morning is a comedy about an "ad copywriter who returns home after his parents divorce, only to find that, following a series of environmental disasters, he’s mistaken for Jesus". A number of cast members have already been named including Joseph Cross, Jesse Bradford, Steven Weber, Bob Odenkirk, Bernard Herrman, Heather Graham, Barbara Hershey, Tim Curry, Lorraine Bracco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Stephen Root. Cross will also produce with Yaniv Raz directing his own script.

    There's also been an interesting change in the title. Originally this film was due to be called Son of Mourning which has connotations of "Man of Sorrows", but now it seems that the title has changed to Son of Morning - a possible reference to Isaiah 14:12 which many interpret as being about Satan. I'm curious to see how greater shift in the filmmakers' thinking this represents.

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    New Scripture Index for 'Jesus, the Gospels, and Cinematic Imagination'

    I reviewed Staley and Walsh's 'Jesus, the Gospels, and Cinematic Imagination' last year and have found it invaluable ever since. So I was pleased to hear that Jeff Staley has made another resource for the book available on line - a scripture index. I can imagine that this will prove very useful.

    There's also a list of humourous Jesus shorts which I've don't recall seeing before.


    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Coogan as aTeacher as Jesus
    Hamlet 2

    The last ten years have seen an increasing number of films using Jesus, or our culture's image of Jesus, as a source of humour. So, Will Ferrell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Justin Theroux, have all starred as a character who, in some way represented Jesus, and he was also portrayed in various South Park episodes and, obviously, a glut of amateur films on YouTube.

    Of course the film most people think of when discussing Jesus as a figure of fun is Monty Python's Life of Brian, even though the figure of Jesus is the one thing that the movie treats with some respect; the pre- and post-credit sequences both make it clear that the film is not about Jesus and keep him at arms length. There are of course earlier films which are more directly scathing about Jesus such as The Milky Way (1969) and 1972's Greaser's Palace (although, I should add, I've never seen it), but these films are more obscure and less likely to be an influence on this more recent movement than the Pythons.

    What's interesting is the way that these films have grown bolder in their depictions. In Superstar (1999) Ferrell's 'Jesus' is clear he's not the real thing, but a product of the heroine's subconscious. Jesus's appearances in South Park are a little more complex, but ultimately this was about mocking the kitsch Christ of (the Christian) faith rather than the Jesus of history who started it.

    The envelope was pushed a little further in last year's The Ten where Justin Theroux plays a modern day character called Jesus who has long hair and a beard and the power to walk across water. He also has the gift of seduction and deflowers a librarian. Is this meant to be the real Jesus? In honesty the film is so surreal and absurd that even the question doesn't make sense.

    So Steve Coogan's performance as a drama teacher playing Jesus in the forthcoming Hamlet 2 (official site) is part of a long tradition. Yet if anything it's less daring than it's predecessors, even despite the annoyingly catchy song 'Rock me Sexy Jesus'. The Jesus angle has been played up by articles such as the one at Cinematical, but the trailer suggest this aspect is only a fairly small part of the final film. The movie's main story appears to be about the attempts of Coogan's struggling drama teacher to produce a show that can save his department. His solution is 'Hamlet 2' which uses a time machine to get around the problem of all the leading characters dying in the original, and introduces a host of new characters into the mix including Einstein, Jesus, Satan, and Hillary Clinton.In many ways it sounds like it's more similar to Seymour-Hoffman's role in Along Came Polly. There Hoffman plays an ego-maniacal producer who is playing both Jesus and Judas in a production of Godspell. Given that it was released in 2004 I can't help but wonder if this facet was added while speculation was rife that Mel Gibson might be playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. In any case the film's target is self-obsessed actor-directors rather than Jesus himself.

    It's fairly obvious there is to be a similar dynamic here. It's not Jesus that is being mocked, but his use as a cultural and political football, and his portrayal by our culture. Jesus Christ, Superstar seems very much at the fore here. Aside from the way the original film portrays Jesus as cool and attractive to women, there is also a visual similarity between Coogan's Jesus (pictured above) and Glen Carter's portrayal in the more recent filmed version of the show, where numerous characters wear similarly tight white vests. It's interesting to see how one generation's attempt to present a fresh image of Jesus becomes the next generations satirised cliché.

    Others have made the link between the song 'Rock me Sexy Jesus' and Little Shop of Horrors and there's a certain thematic similarity between this film and The Tall Man which also climaxes in a wonderfully naff and pretentious musical (in that film the musical is about The Elephant Man).

    There are some other clips of Hamlet 2 available to those in the US, but unfortunately I've not had the chance to see them. The film played at Sundance and so has already been reviewed by Variety and Hollywood Reporter is due for wider release on August 22, 2008. All five reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are positive so far, although it has only got 5.5 at IMdb at present.

    Labels: ,

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Reflections on Ratzinger Conference

    Last month I mentioned a conference on the Pope's book 'Jesus of Nazareth', and it took place at the end of last week. I had to work on the Thursday so I missed the opening session, but I did get to go for whole day on the Friday. It was the first real academic Biblical Studies conference I've been to, so I thought I'd discuss some of my thoughts about the day. I should add that as I also moved house this weekend, I hadn't had sufficient time to finish reading the book.

    As I believe is reasonably standard, most of the sessions followed the same format with two or three speakers reading a paper, followed by some time for questions, clarification and further discussion. Although there were 3 panel discussions in the afternoon (where we had to choose which of three we would attend) they effectively functioned in the same manner only with smaller audiences and marginally shorter papers.

    In the run up to the conference the person I had been most excited about hearing was Geza Vermes. Sadly he had to cancel and his presence was missed in more ways than one. Nevertheless there were a number of other speakers I had heard of including Marcus Bockmuehl who featured in the day's opening session with his paper 'Lessons learned from Reading Scripture with Pope Benedict'. But it was the other two papers in that session that had the greater resonances with the paper from Durham's Walter Moberly provoking the most immediate discussion. Moberly was primarily tackling Benedict's use of Exodus and Deuteronomy in the opening chapter. The Pope links the occurrences of the word "like" in Deut 18:15 and 34:10 and treats it as a specifically messianic prediction about Jesus. Moberly was suggesting that it was more likely that the word "like" had slightly different meanings in each context. This was one of the things I had disagreed with when I'd read the book, so I was surprised to see that many there, including John Millbank, strongly disagreeing with Moberly. Someone remarked that this perhaps highlighted the difference between the Theology types and those from Biblical Studies, an observation that I heard at least once more during the day. Olivier-Thomas Venard gave the session's final paper, and whilst there was little immediate discussion of it, it was referenced a few times throughout the day.

    The second session featured papers from Simon Oliver, co-organiser Angus Paddison and Henri-Jérôme Gagey. Oliver and Paddison's papers were very much from the systemmatic theology side of things, and so didn't hugely appeal to me. Gagey's paper took a closer look at Ratzinger's attempt to stand in the gap between faith and historical criticism. Gagey was broadly supportive of the Pope's position, and I was surprised (again) that no-one really seemed to challenge it. Whilst Ratzinger is, in my view, broadly correct that it's a mistake to act solely from either extreme, his approach does seem to be very much more towards the faith end of the spectrum. At the time I had thought that one of the later speakers would perhaps offer a robust challenge to this position, and I imagine that this is very much the role that Vermes would have fulfilled had he been in attendance. Unfortunately no really did. Speaking in the afternoon James Crossley admitted that he had a number of quibbles with it, but deferred us to Gerd Ludemann. All this left things feeling somewhat unbalanced. Prior to the conference I had imagined that many of the papers would criticise Ratzinger on precisely this point. For me, it seems Ratzinger wants to have his cake and eat it. I was reminded of Marcus Borg's question to Tom Wright in 'The Meaning of Jesus' along the lines of "which parts of the gospels would you say were invented by the early church"? In a similar vein, it's difficult to see where he considers the results of historical criticism to challenge the orthodox "faith" position. He's fully entitled to take a literal position on the Transfiguration, but surely he should at least acknowledge, or even refute those who question its historicity.

    The afternoon featured the aforementioned panel discussions, and I'd been looking forward to the one featuring James Crossley. I've not read much by Crossley, but know of him from his blog (which had also discussed the conference in advance), his dialogue with Tom Wright and his appearance in Channel 4's Secrets of the 12 Disciples at Easter. His main focus was on the way that Ratzinger, like many of the lives of Jesus since Vermes's 'Jesus the Jew' have presented a Jesus who is "Jewish, but not that Jewish". Unfortunately there was almost no time for questions, and those that were raised largely seemed to have misunderstood what was being said. Crossley gave an abrupt response, but then it was time to rush off. Jane Heath's paper in this session was also interesting. (Edit - Incidentally, Crossley has posted his own review of the day).

    Once that session had overrun, we had to creep into the back of Roland Deines's paper 'Can the "Real" Jesus be Identified with the Historical Jesus?' This may have covered more of the material I felt was lacking overall, but we missed the start of it, and then spent the next minutes trying to work out where he was on his notes, and by that time it was largely over. Deines was followed by Mona Siddiqui who discussed the book from an Islamic position. I had hoped to ask her whether she felt its historical criticism / faith position could work as an approach to the Qu'ran, but there were too many questions. That left a final coffee break (with some delicious cake) before Fergus Kerr wrapped things up with a final paper on 'Reckoning with the Originality of Jesus: Where Did Christology Come from?'

    Unfortunately, it then took me three and a half hours to get home for what is normally a 15 minute train ride. On the bright side it did mean that I got to spend over an hour chatting it all over with my friend Stu who is doing his PhD at Nottingham.

    Overall, I very much enjoyed the occasion, but was surprised at how conservative the discussion was in general. Perhaps this is inevitable for a conference based on a book; generally very few people are prepared to invest the time and/or fork out the money to discuss something they hate. That said, it would have been good if one or two such people had turned up just to spice things up a bit.


    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    A Couple of Pieces Elsewhere

    I have a couple of articles out elsewhere at the moment. Firstly, I've just finished a piece for the rejesus blog on the anime Jesus film. It mainly covers material from my earlier post here.

    Secondly, my review of Juno has been printed in the current issue of The Reader magazine. I also note from their website that the two previous issues that I had pieces in are now available to download - Jesus at the Cinema (Winter 2007 - p.16) and The Passion (Spring 2008 - p.13).

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Al-Mohager (The Emigrant)

    For some reason the story of Joseph has never really appealed to me. Perhaps it's just that it's never really clear what, if anything, Joseph learns along the way; or that the story seems to skip by the interesting parts of the story early on, but spends an age over the film's protracted conclusion. So my hopes for Youssef Chahine's Al-Mohager (The Emigrant) were not particularly high, even though the synopsis on the back of the DVD promised to tell the story from the Egyptian perspective, rather than the Hebrew.

    The film was released amid a storm of protest in Chahine's native Egypt for depicting an Islamic prophet, despite it changing the name of all its characters. So Joseph becomes Ram, Jacob is known as Adam, Potiphar is called Amihar, and his hitherto unnamed wife, Simihit. Initially this is a little confusing particularly as the film also takes a very unconventional approach to it's source material. Whilst the film doesn't really come from an "Egyptian perspective", it does strip the story of its supernatural and mythical elements, suggest different motives for its characters' actions, and fill in the gaps in the biblical narrative - all of which is a little disorientating. Yet these alterations actually become the film's biggest strength. Shorn of his miraculous ability to receive and interpret dreams, the film is able to focus on the person of Joseph far more than other such productions. And ditching Joseph / Ram's famous coat of many colours distances Mohager from the campy excesses of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat. Good - the idea of the coat being multicoloured was all down to mistranslation anyway.The end result is that Chahine and Khaled El Nabaoui, his leading man, craft a Joseph figure that we can really care about. He still has something of a superiority complex, but his desire to improve on his life, rather than simply settling for his family's hand-to-mouth existence, becomes his driving force. He decides that he wants to discover how to farm the land rather than wander from place to place and it's the start of Joseph's interest in agriculture. The Bible's never really clear how Joseph became such a brilliant agricultural strategist, but this idea is perhaps this film's biggest concern.

    Once sold into slavery in Egypt, Ram's audacity and confidence gain the attention of his otherwise unreachable master. Having repeatedly expressed his desire to learn how to farm he is eventually given a strip of desert to experiment on. Good coaching, hard work, luck and Ram's cleverness make the endeavour a tremendous success.Having succeeded, however, he is drawn back towards the city and Simihit, his master's wife. Simihit also happens to be the high priestess of the local cult and, as her husband is a eunuch, she looks to Ram for fulfilment. As in the biblical version of the story she makes a pass at Joseph and quickly tries to cover her tracks by claiming he was forcing himself on her, but here she relents shortly afterwards, meaning that Joseph's time in jail is significantly shorter than we are used to. Having regained his freedom he now has the requisite experience to be able to advise on national agricultural policy. It's still a bit of a leap, but it seems much more understandable given his love for, and understanding of, farming.

    Much of the film's success is due to Khaled El Nabaoui strong performance as a cocky yet likeable Ram. Whilst some of the other performances are a little weak, El Nabaoui expertly combines youthful exuberance, drive, fearless confidence, with boundless energy. There's a twinkle in his eyes that remains even as he matures which, again, suggests an explanation for why he treats his brothers the way he does when they turn up at his door asking for food. The story is, mercifully, abbreviated at this point and Ram limits the games he plays with his brothers before revealing his identity.Aside from El Nabaoui's performance and the innovative handling of the original text, the film also owes a lot to Chahine's eye for a good image and his ability to evoke so strongly nomadic and civil life in the Egyptian region almost four thousand years ago. There's much that's alien about the world that Chahine takes us to, yet much that is also familiar. It's also good to see the story acted out by characters who are racially similar to the original characters.


    Derek Elley, author of 'The Epic Film' has also written a review of this film for Variety.

    Labels: , ,

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    New Films to be Based on Enoch
    The Battle For Eternity

    I've just received word of a "quintology" of films that are "in the very beginning stages of pre-pre production" and aiming to "visually display... the unseen spiritual realms". The Battle For Eternity series will start with two films based on the Book of Enoch, before covering material from Revelation in the final three movies. (Technically, I suppose, the Enoch entries in the series won't actually be Bible films, unless, that is, you're part of the Ethiopian Orthodox church).

    Reading between the lines of the press release I was sent it appears that there's very little to this project at this stage - just a group of people with some odd ideas trying to cobble together a screenplay or five. So I'm not hugely excited by this project. Still, I suppose you never know. It may defy all the odds and be half decent movie one day. And if so, it would be the first film / series of films to be based on 1 Enoch which is, at least, worth noting I guess.

    There is, already, an official website, but there's not a great deal on it at this stage other than an annoying futuristic voice over and the uninspiring image above.


    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    El Cant Dels Ocells (Birdsong)

    Amongst the things I missed whilst on holiday last week (was it only last week?) was news of a new film about the magi. Birdsong (El Cant Dels Ocells) is Albert Serra's take on the story which showed at Cannes this year. Justin Chang from Variety describes it as:
    Hushed, contemplative, but often quite droll, experiment offers beautifully sculpted images on a black-and-white canvas across its sometimes hypnotic, sometimes tedious runtime... Three robed men (all played by thesps with the first name Lluis) tread very, very slowly across a craggy landscape, bickering comically over how they should proceed in their search for the Christ Child. Grounded in desert dunes and rocky ruins, pic reps a profound attempt to locate the spiritual within the material. There's no disputing Serra's remarkable eye (some brief underwater footage is especially mesmerizing), though most shots, such as one that reduces the men to specks on the horizon, are sustained well past the endurance point. Absent any unnatural light, much less a guiding star, nighttime shots are impenetrable.
    It sounds very similar to Ermanno Olmi's Cammina, Cammina which I reviewed last year (although perhaps the images are a little more refined). That's an observation shared by Peter Chattaway who's not yet managed to see Olmi's film. Doug Cummings is considerably more positive, however. "Serra has found an even more exalted and stunning sky-and-earth atmosphere (the rocky, volcanic heights of the Canary Islands substituting for the Mid-East desert) than he did for Honor de cavalleria". There's also a good length review from l'Humanité which notes Serra's indebtedness to Pasolini and concludes that with "its use of a wide screen, of static shots (with very few exceptions), this contemplative, sensitive film takes us on a quest for the essence of cinema, even as its characters are questing for the essence of something else."

    There's not a great deal of further information on this film, even in the more Cannes-friendly section of the press. It's in Catalan and Hebrew and at 96 minutes is considerably shorter than Cammina Cammina.

    Labels: , ,

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    The Jesus Film in Anime

    I first heard about this a couple of months ago but was asked to keep it to myself. However, the two excerpts I was sent on DVD have now been posted on YouTube for comments from the general public, and as it's already being discussed at Arts and Faith, I think it's probably fair game. If I shouldn't be blogging this yet then please someone let me know!

    The idea is this: Jesus was made back in 1979 and, as even they are admitting now, it has become somewhat dated visually. However, they already have language tracks for the film in hundreds of languages so some bright spark came up with the idea of re-working the visuals to give them something that's more up to date visually and can quickly and easily become available to people all over the world.

    I believe the excerpts featured on YouTube are only 'concept videos', and so the finished product will look a little different. The DVD I received also featured some colour stills of what the final images might look like including one that had been rotoscoped and one that had been made to resemble King of Kings (1961). Even so I'm fairly impressed with what I've seen thus far. I really like these two short clips and the opening to the Demoniac scene is, in particular, very striking. It actually took me a while to work out that it was still using Brian Deacon's voice.On reflection, I think that it would be worth them recording a new English language version of the audio track. It's not only visuals that have changed since 1979 and for the relatively low cost I think it would be a worthwhile investment. It might even be worth them recording two English language versions; one with American accents and another with British. I know that both cultures find it distracting when Jesus speaks with the accent of the other.

    I'm looking forward to finding out more on this project. I know that Barry Cook (who co-directed Mulan) is on board which certainly bodes well. There's already a webpage for the visual translation project which leads to another opportunity to see the clips and give your feedback. There's also an article on this project from Mission Network News.

    Labels: , ,

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Reader Query

    I had the following question from a reader who,unfortunately, didn't leave their email address. As I'm also not 100% sure of the answer I thought I'd post it here.
    Message From: Dael

    Hello Matt, What is the name of the film, set in the modern times where a boy encounters an empty cross (in a small church) and eventually meets a man who may or may not have been Jesus. The encounter changes his life as well as those around the boy. I only caught a few glimpses of it when I was a child (may 5-6 years old) but the premise was unique and I wanted to watch the film again --- if ever it existed at all. Thank you.
    My guess, based on the above, is that it's the 1961 British film Whistle Down the Wind starring Alan Bates, Hayley Mills and Alan Barnes (pictured). And the good news that this is available on DVD. FilmFanatic.org has nice summary page, featuring a review and some good photos as well, and there's also a review at Christianity Today.

    That said, I'm not sure how widely known this film is outside of the UK (and even then it's largely unknown), and as Dael is not a classically British name (and as I don't know how old he is) he may be thinking of another film entirely. So if anyone has any ideas, feel free to add them using the comments feature below.

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    Color of the Cross 2: The Resurrection - Now out on DVD

    A few years ago it seemed like there was a host of potential films being made about the resurrection. At that time there was, of course, a good deal of speculation as to whether Mel Gibson would make a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, but other projects were being discussed such as Risen: The Story of the First Easter, and Tim LaHaye's The Resurrection. So I'm a little embarrassed that the first such film to be completed since then flew in under my radar.

    Color of the Cross 2: The Resurrection is, as you'd expect, the sequel to 2006's Color of the Cross produced by and starring Jean Claude LaMarre. And it seems that it was released in March - seemingly straight to DVD. The DVD has been released by Lightyear, and whilst there's isn't much in the way of information at their site, they do offer the following synopsis:
    From director Jean Claude LaMarre (Color of the Cross) comes another epic film about the ministry of Jesus Christ. This daring film portrays the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ministry after his death. After the crucifixion of Jesus the disciples go into hiding believing their lives are in danger. They had lost all hope that Jesus would come back to them as He had prophesied. Three days after his death Mary Magdalene Mary the mother of Jesus and other women go up to the tomb to put spices on Christ's body. They are shocked to find the tomb completely empty. Jesus' body is gone. The now frightened women go running out of the tomb when two angels stop them. They declare to the women that Christ has risen! The women still bewildered go and spread the news to the disciples. Created with the same enthusiasm and astonishing interpretations as Color of the Cross The Resurrection brings a new perspective of the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
    The DVD is available from Amazon who are also amongst a number of companies offering it for direct download.It seems unlikely to be a classic. The original was below average, and at present the IMDb is giving the sequel is a mere 1.1 (out of ten!).

    Reviews are pretty thin on the ground. The best I came across was from a reviewer on Amazon who calls the film "an 85 minute misery". It appears the film uses some footage from the first film, but that the cast has changed leaving poorly re-dubbed dialogue. It's also criticised for "poor make-up and constuming (sic.)" and "bad acting".

    One interesting point the reviewer does raise is that, like the BBC's The Passion this film also attempts a creative solution as to why Jesus wasn't instantly recognised. It's clear from the image above (captured from the trailer) that the resurrected Jesus is now bald and clean shaven. This is an interesting solution, but seems a little odd given that the original film's main premise was largely based on a specific interpretation of Rev 1:14's description of the resurrected Jesus's hair as "like wool". Whereas most (white) commentators would consider this metaphor's point of similarity to be about the color of wool/Jesus's hair, the filmmakers took it as a suggestion that Jesus had African-type "wooly" hair. But if the resurrected Jesus is bald then that raises a few questions. Perhaps it grows back?

    That said, this reviewer also adds that Jesus initially appears as an old man as well, so perhaps the color of Jesus's hair comes into play as well which would give the simile a greater degree of correspondence than is normally taken. Either way the transition to a bald and shaved Jesus seems to work better for LaMarre than it would have for most of the other actors to have played Jesus, and also has echoes of Woody Strode's Black Jesus. Whilst the trailer is up at YouTube, there's not much other information available. I've struggled in vain to find an official site for the film, and even the site for the original film has now been taken down. There are a few photos out there, however, courtesy of David Novak who plays Caiaphas.

    Labels: ,

    Friday, June 06, 2008

    CT Reviews Magdalena

    I've just got back from a week's holiday in North Wales hence the lack of posts over the last 7 days. There are various stories I'd like to catch up on over the next week or so, starting with Christianity Today's review of Magdalena: Released from Shame. Overall, CT's Carolyn Arends seems to agree with most of what I wrote in my own review which, coincidentally enough was written after I saw the film on my last holiday.

    I'm planning to revisit this film shortly, as I want to look at how it functions as a gospel dependent on another, already established, gospel. Meanwhile Peter Chattaway (who blogged this first) wonders whether Mary is "played by two different women in the new film". The answer, I think, is no. Mary's presence in Luke's gospel, and the subsequent film, is fairly minimal anyway - just the mention in 8:2 about her exorcism and her support for Jesus's ministry, and the empty tomb scene. I'm fairly sure the first scene is re-filmed and significantly expanded. The second I'm less certain on, but if the original actress appears at all, it's only the back of her head that's shown. But on top of all that, this version of the story is a harmonisation rather than one based on just one gospel (Luke), and so it incorporates a whole load of material, including (again IIRC) Mary meeting Jesus outside the tomb. I'll try and confirm this and report back at the end of this post.

    Labels: ,