• 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, May 17, 2010

    Further Thoughts on Son of Man

    My film night group watched Jezile (Son of Man) last night. For most of them it was their first viewing and they seemed to really enjoy it, particularly the ending which has apparently put many others off a little. It was also the first time I have watched it in a few years, and I think the first time I've seen it on a big screen (and in widescreen).

    I was a little disappointed that there wasn't much I noticed for the first time, although that's perhaps not surprising given how much I talked about the film when I first saw it in 2006. One thing that did stand out this time however was Mary's halo depicted in the shot above. It's interesting that Mary gets a 'halo' shot whereas, as far as I recall, Jesus does not. This ties in with one of the observations of one of my friends that Jesus almost isn't the main character. Whilst there's about half an hour in the middle where Mary is absent, overall this is as much a film about her as it is about Jesus, something that is reflected in the film's DVD cover which has a big close up of Mary across the top, but only a rear mid-shot of Jesus on the bottom.

    I also noticed that healing which Jesus performs when someone is lowered through the roof is not a paralytic man lowered by his friends (as in Mark 2 and parallels) but an apparently dead child handed down by (presumably) his mother. Whilst this change is obviously more emotionally powerful, it also means that out of only three miracles there two cases of someone being raised from the dead (the other being Lazarus). This counter-balances the lack of a resurrection for Jesus, and also puts an emphasis on Jesus' miracles as being acts of liberation from oppression. There are none of the nature miracles here, and it's significant that the only miracle we are shown which is not bringing someone back to life is the exorcism of a tormented girl.

    Lastly, I also noted the very secular take on the woman caught in adultery. Firstly the woman is not so much brought to Jesus, he just 'happens' to be in the right place at the right time. Secondly the crowd is not dispelled by an apparent conviction of their own sin, but by some soldiers, and then lastly there's no mention of her sin, or her need to "sin no more". This is an interesting development, not because it justifies the woman's actions, but because it emphasises that violence, particularly mob violence, is wrong in itself. It's not wrong because it is hypocritical (for we are all sinners), it's just wrong.



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