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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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    Friday, July 24, 2015

    Su Re (2012; The King): A New(ish), Italian(ish), Jesus Film

    For a little while now, I've been meaning to post about a Jesus film, released back in 2012, by Sardinian director Giovanni Columbu

    Su Re (The King) debuted at the Turin Film Festival, but made a bit more of a splash when it was released at the Rotterdam Film Festival a few months later. There's a short write up of it on the festival's website. The festival also prompted an intriguing review from The Hollywood Reporter. It makes the obvious comparison with Pasolini's Il vangelo secondo Matteo and also with Albert Serra (whose Magi film Birdsong I greatly admire). Having seen a little of it, that's a comparison I can agree with. Here's one of the more intriguing parts of the review:
    We see no miracles, no supernatural trappings, no resurrection, no divine signs apart from some heavy rumbles of thunder and a medium-sized earth-tremor...

    Columbu's script, co-written with his brother Michele, consists of mainly short scenes taken from the four gospels, some of which diverge from or even contradict each other, but whose basic details are roughly similar.
    That chides with the Rotterdam's write up's comment that Columbu "takes his inspiration from the way in which the four Gospels provide different angles on the story". That comment is echoed in this brief summary from CPH PIX: "Referring to all four gospels, 'The King' highlights the differences between them...". There's also a reference there to Kurosawa's Rashomon, a film which I am yet to see (though, coincidentally, Kurosawa's The Idiot was the last film I finished watching) which has been echoed elsewhere as well.

    That site also contains some footage, and there are a few other bits and pieces on YouTube, four clips here and some "backstage" footage.

    In terms of getting your hands on it, it can be imported via Amazon, but the audio is only in Sardinian and the subtitles are only in Italian. That said, most of the footage appears to be from Jesus' last 24-48 hours so it's not hard to figure out what's going on and, as I'm learning Italian at the moment, I'm enjoying the challenge. Hopefully, I'll post my review shortly.

    HT Peter Chattaway.



    • At 4:07 pm, July 24, 2015, Anonymous Justin Lewis-Anthony said…

      Really interested to read your review Matt. I was made aware of Su Re by Lloyd Baugh (yes, that Lloyd Baugh) when he gave a lecture on it at AAR/SBL in San Diego last November. I incorporated it in a Bible and Film course I co-taught at VTS in the spring. It is very interesting observing people's reactions to a) a completely foreign language film, b) an ugly Jesus, c) the complete lack of extra-diegetic music or sound.

      It is, in effect, the most Third World / Third Cinema version of the Jesus story I have yet come across.

      As I say, looking forward to reading more from you…

    • At 9:49 pm, July 28, 2015, Blogger Peter T Chattaway said…

      For what it's worth, I first became aware of the film myself a few weeks ago when I read about a forthcoming article on the film by Lloyd Baugh, too.

    • At 10:46 am, August 03, 2015, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thank you both for your comments.

      Justin, I showed about an hour of Pasolini's film to a bunch of students earlier in the year and was disappointed enough in their reaction. Mind yuo, some of the things they didn't like about that film might not be an issue in this one.

      Peter, is that Lloyd Baugh article available yet?



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