• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Friday, April 08, 2011

    More Non-Western Jesus Films

    Over the years, my friend Thomas Langkau has been an invaluable source of information to me, hunting out all kinds of obscure Jesus films and sending me the information. So it's him I have to thank for drawing my attention to the following films, all of which originate from non-western countries.

    The first (pictured) is the 1996 Philippine film Kristo. It starred Mat Ranillo III as Jesus and is based on John's Gospel. Ranillo has been starring in passion play / theatre versions of the story since 1977. It's well known enough to have its own pages on Wikipedia page and IMDB, although photos are rather scarce. You can however watch it all (unsubtitled) on YouTube.

    However, this is not the first Philippine Jesus film. It appears that there was also one made in 1952 called Kalbaryo ni Hesus. There are quite a lot of press cuttings (including some photos) on this film at the Pelikula blog. According to IMDb, Jennings Sturgeon played Jesus.

    Lastly there's A Ultima Semana (The Final Week), which is another Passion movie from Brazil. There's not much on this one aside from an IMDb page. It's not even entirely clear who played Jesus. More may come to light on this one however as IMDb claims it was released on video in 2007. There's no evidence of that at Amazon, but perhaps a copy will come to light at some point in the future.


    • At 7:32 pm, April 08, 2011, Anonymous Marcelo Paes said…

      The actor who played Jesus in A Ultima Semana (The Last Week) is Denis Derkian.

      I've watched it a couple of times here in Brazil many years ago. It's a low budget production, but it's very good effort.

      Some time ago you could buy it in VHS copies here in Brazil, but now it's currently unavaible.

      Congratulations for your blog!

    • At 8:24 am, April 09, 2011, Blogger Witlessd said…

      It looks like this is a clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB1v3poyJ3c

      And I've just come across another movie I don't think you've mentioned: El Hijo del Hombre, first shown in December 2009 or January 2010.

      Here's the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT-n-ZBsJs4&feature=related

      More info here: http://www.forumlibertas.com/frontend/forumlibertas/noticia.php?id_noticia=14762
      and here: http://www.estepona.es/actualidad/web/amp_noticia.asp?s=2&id=6583

    • At 4:34 pm, April 12, 2011, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks to you both for your contributions. Good to have the extra info.


    • At 1:25 pm, April 14, 2011, Blogger Patrick said…

      Just a little correction. The title of the film is Kristo.

      I last saw it a year ago (when I went back to the Philippines during Holy Week), and the one element that stood out is how the production attempts to give the story of jesus a local, Philippine color. In fact, the caption at the beginning of the film makes the motive plain (translating freely into English):

      "Suppose that the history of salvation is altered by God the Father...and the life and death of JESUS will occur not in Israel but in a group of islands in Southeast Asia, the home of the Brown Race, near Siam, Cambodia and Indonesia [i.e. the Philippines]...

      ...How will the appearance and culture of the Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible look like?

      I would try to watch it again and let you know of further thoughts.

    • At 4:17 pm, April 15, 2011, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Oops. Thanks Patrick, that's embarrassing. I'll go and change it now. My wife has been thinking about "the Christa" recently so I think that's where I made the slip.


    • At 4:14 am, April 16, 2011, Blogger Patrick said…

      Nope, that's okay.

      I'll forever remember Kristo as the film which desensitized me from Passion violence: the scenes of Jesus' torture, while not too long drawn-out like Mel Gibson's, are surprisingly violent. Jesus is scourged, for example, while being hung upside-down and swung backwards and forwards!

    • At 4:21 am, April 16, 2011, Blogger Patrick said…

      By the way Mr. Matt, I don't know if you already are aware of this, but Roberto Rossellini's Il Messia is also now up on Youtube (unsubtitled, unfortunately): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyTwxrWglJc


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