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    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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    Monday, August 23, 2010

    The Mark of God: Is Visual Bible's Gospel of Mark Film in Production?

    EDIT: Sadly it appears that I have been too hasty with this post. I've subsequently heard from François Perrier that the production was never finished, and Clayton Slaughter has heard the same from Kevin Sage. So it looks like this was a red herring. Apologies.
    Ever since the 2003 release of Gospel of John there have been rumours about a word for word adaptation of Mark's Gospel. These surfaced most recently (to my ears) back in January when an email purportedly from Philip Saville (director of Gospel of John) was posted on YouTube with the throw-away comment "Maybe next year?"

    But today Clayton Slaughter emailed me linking to the website of François Perrier, a "director of photography and steadicam operator". The production credits for his CV list the following entry:
    Visual Bible
    Feature Film
    Dir : Jakob de Boer
    Visual Bible
    A Cam/Steadicam
    DoP: Pierre Gill Csc
    Now if you go to his images gallery you come across the picture above which is accompanied by this:
    This was an amazing day, because we had 1000 people (extras) around us. This is the scene where Jesus (Kevin Sage) fed all the people with only 3 fishes and 3 breads.
    There's also another image of F. Murray Abraham sat in a reconstruction of the Roman senate. Now it's possible that there are many actors named Kevin Sage, but this one lists a principal role as Jesus, made for "Visual Entertainment" on his CV in a film called The Mark of God. And if you look at some of his photos it includes a number of pictures from The Mark of God with Sage playing Jesus, including ones with him next to F. Murray Abraham, showing the holes in his wrists (note wrists -his palms aren't visible), at the last supper and preparing to wash the disciples feet. The photos note that these were shot in Morocco (where else? I really need to get a contact at Atlas Studios).

    Having said all that, it appears however that Saville is no longer on the ticket. If François Perrier is correct, then the director of this film is Jakob de Boer, and what does a Google search on him turn up but this article from Peter Chattaway:
    ...The IMDB doesn't seem to have the names "Jakob de Boer" and "Bess Fotopoulus" in its archives, at least not with those spellings, but after snooping around a bit, I discovered that these people seem to have been involved in one of the various incarnations of The Visual Bible. In September 2000, Variety reported:
    John Hamilton, CEO of Visual Bible, said the director Jakob Deboeris now in Morocco scouting locations for the next three films: "Mark," "Luke" and "John," which he will film simultaneously...
    It seems to me, then, that there are two possibilities here. One is that The Mark of God is the long awaited adaptation of Mark's Gospel. The title is a little ambiguous though because whilst it does include "Mark" in the title, it doesn't explicitly call itself Mark or The Gospel of Mark.

    The other possibility is that de Boer has found a new title for the film mentioned at the start of Peter Chattaway's article The Sword of Peter. According to a 2007 Variety article:
    The Sword of Peter tells the story of the Galilean fisherman who founded the Christian church in Rome. The film explores the early days of Christianity under the reign of Emperor Nero and the burning of Rome in 64 A.D.
    That would explain what F. Murray Abraham is doing in the senate, and presumably the use of Mark's name is just a nod to the ancient tradition that he was Peter's translator. But then what about the repeated mention of the Visual Bible name? Hopefully more will become apparent in the near future.



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