• 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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    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Ebert on Last Temptation of Christ

    Earlier this month, the great Roger Ebert published his book on Martin Scorsese, simply titled "Scorsese". In it he includes a new piece on Last Temptation of Christ updating his 1998 article he wrote at the time of the film's release. Ebert is perhaps my favourite film critic, and he's been in the business a long time, so it's nice to read his thoughts on this, particularly as views on the film have altered over the last ten years. The new review opens by explaining why his earlier review had focussed on the theological controversy around the film, before looking at the film as a film. I particularly liked this section:
    A key shot is when Michael Ballhaus' camera pushes past Jesus into the sepulcher of the dead Lazarus. It is black inside, contrasted with the blinding sun, and then blacker and blacker until the whole screen is filled with blackness, and held for a few seconds. I take this as an emblem of Jesus' experience of his miracles, during which he is reaching into an unknowable and frightening void.
    Despite the fact that Ebert has published many books, he has always been good at making his work more widely available. True to form, a shortened version of this chapter is now available at his website.

    Ebert also makes mention of my friend Steven D. Greydanus's article on the film. Steven and I disagree about the film, but I always come away from debates with him with plenty to think about. So it's not surprising that even Roger Ebert revised his thoughts on this film as a result of reading Steven's article.

    (Hat Tip to Jeffrey Overstreet)



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