• 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


    Saturday, June 29, 2019

    2015's French Jesus Film - Histoire de Judas

    I know I will have heard the name of this film - Histoire de Judas - but I'm only just wising up to its existence. Shot in 2015 it's a French production, but apparently filmed in one of the Berber parts of Algeria. As I say, I've not really heard much about this, let alone seen it, and there's not a great deal about it on IMDb. I do know, however, that long-time Jesus films scholar Reinhold Zwick is preparing something on it, though we will have to wait a couple of years to get to read it.
    There is however, a nice write up of the film and director Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche's work in general by Dan Sallitt. Sallitt introduced the film when it played in New York in 2016. Ameur-Zaïmeche was born in Algeria and most of the cast and crew seem to have similar origins. There are a couple of other reviews of it at MUBI, as well as one from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat who I've crossed paths with before. MUBI also reveal that it was the winner of the Ecumenical Jury prize at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.

    In addition, various sites have a short trailer which provides a number of shots. The most interesting of these is what looks to be a triumphal entry scene, only one where Jesus is carrying a donkey foal, rather than the other way round. A major element of the story is the redemption of the Judas character and there seems to be an element of the Judas as a buddy element of Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ.

    Sallitt's review provides the most interesting details however
    One interesting addition that can perhaps be mentioned without spoiling the film is the important character of the madman who impersonates Jesus and functions in the film as his double, and who eventually is the focus of a emotional scene on the site of the crucifixion.
    This sounds a little like Philip Pullman's book "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ" though not having read it or seen the film I'm hardly in a place to comment. I'll try and dig this one out and report back.

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