• 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


    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Young Avraham Movie to Première at Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

    Over the years, I've become somewhat jaded about the seemingly endless flow of people telling us they are making new Bible-related films: all too often they are never heard of again. So I'm a bit surprised that of all of them, one that actually has gone the distance is Young Avraham.

    As its title suggests, Young Avraham is a story of the early life of the biblical patriarch, from his childhood to the point where he appears in the Book of Genesis. It's based on Midrashic tales but with an eye firmly on 21st century sensibilities.

    Anyway, whilst the film has been available on DVD for sometime now, it's having it's North American première on Sunday night (3rd April) as part of the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival.

    I'm hoping my favourite Vancouverite Peter Chattaway, who had a good bit to say about this film when news broke in 2008, will make it to the screening as I'd like to hear what he has to say about it. Whilst I find the idea interesting, the medium doesn't really appeal. As I noted earlier in the week, 3D CGI dates pretty quickly, and is easy to do badly. Two of the four clips on the film's official website have been available on YouTube since August 2007 and, to be honest, don't look great. That said, I've seen worse and they do make me think that the film will be interesting. In the first we see Abraham's father being told to kill the boy by his king, echoing the request that God makes about Isaac many years later. The second contains a scene of a magus pointing out the presence of a new star coinciding with the boy's birth, echoing the star that accompanied the birth of Jesus. The latter certainly gets me wondering if this is a modern flourish, or something that's found in the account in the Midrash. Either way it's interesting. The former suggests this decidedly Jewish film riffing on the birth of Jesus. The latter would be highlighting the way Matthew is riffing on the birth of Abraham. The former seems unlikely, whereas I'm sure that I would have heard of this detail were it to be the latter. Time to do some research...

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    • At 10:45 am, April 03, 2011, Blogger Unknown said…

      I was The Rabbi who did the research for the movie. My main role was to ensure that the finished product remained true to what was written by the Jewish Sages of old. I also worked on the story and script with the director. I can confirm for you that the idea of the stars foretelling of Avrahams birth was taken from Midrashic teachings.

      Yitzchak Botton

    • At 3:27 pm, April 03, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      please check article: the living christ series - intro

    • At 12:30 pm, April 05, 2011, Blogger Matt Page said…


      Many thanks for getting in touch and confirming the origin of the star sequence. I've had a Christian tell me that it's a bit unclear whether these traditions are from before or after the writing of Matthew's Gospel. What would your take be?

      Thanks again


    • At 12:51 pm, April 06, 2011, Blogger Unknown said…

      your welcome Matt, happy to help

      The writings of the Sages cover a large span of time. In this case the details of Avrahams birth were known and told over from when they happened, which is much before the time you asked about. It was later recorded in writing when it was ruled permissable to write down the oral teachings.


    • At 12:20 pm, April 07, 2011, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks for clarifying that. Much appreciated.



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