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The Passion - DVD Talk's Review Discussion

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The Passion - DVD Talk's Review Discussion

Old 02-28-04, 09:23 AM
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Re: Re: Re: Problematic review

Originally posted by ResIpsa
Quotes from the DVD Talk review:

"Gibson's selective translation are only a part of the much bigger issues of the film. Gibson seems to want to go the extra mile to make it unmistakable his feelings about "Nostra Aetate" 3 and at many turns points his directorial finger at the Jews."

and

"[the film's] deplorable arcane view of Jews"

and

"[the film's]strong negativity towards Jews"

I think these comments basically qualify as saying the film is anti-Jew, albeit in a somewhat indirect manner. The reviewer does go on to state "Claims that The Passion has the ability to fuel renewed waves of anti-semitism are not unfounded," which is kind of a backhanded comment to say the least. I suppose I could just as validly say "Claims that the DVD Talk review characterizes the film as anti-semitic are not unfounded." To quote the reviewer, that would be "Cute huh!??"
Actually thesequotes only lend support to what I originally said. I still think there is a big difference...and I don't see his comment as backhanded at all. I see it as a pretty direct and clearly stated response to the claim that this film will fuel anti-semitism.
Old 02-28-04, 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by Kerborus
Hmm... since it is Jesus Christ, I am pretty sure there needs to be no set up in this country (USA) since our country is founded on Judeo-Christian theology and Christ is interwoven into the fabric of the American mindset.
At least that's the way one would think it would be. However, our society as a whole has become so secularized that even many persons who's background is Christian, unless they are active Christians, are quite ignorant to the real meaning of Jesus' coming and dying. In 'the old days' it was family and church that tought the people their values, now it is mostly the popular culture and entertainment media that are doing the jobs. These days Christians that believe and try to live the life that Jesus' taught and exmplified seem to be a minority.

Ironically, the film industry has played a large part in the "dummying down" of the average movie goer with a glut of films consisting of car chases and T&A and worse.
Old 02-28-04, 09:43 AM
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Still, despite this very common criticsm of "no context" - I think all the context is plainly right there in the film, both about who Jesus was and why the political situation(and spiritual situation) led to him being crucified.

I think if this film wasn't affected by "the fog of Jesus", and it was about somebody else, people would not only get all that context but they'd also be applauding the film for the subtlety and patience with which the mystery of the beginning of the film(who is this guy and why do people want him dead?) was laid out for the viewer.
Old 02-28-04, 10:35 AM
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I saw it last night and all I can say is "WOW!!!" This is the depiction of Jesus crucifixion that I, and many others, have waited for for a very long time.

The Bible states that Christ was "unrecognizable as a man." With that understood, the movie was not at all too violent. In fact I take care of about 40 kids (ages 5-12) every day. These kids come in talking about how the saw Freddy Krueger last night or how so and so got their head ripped off in a certain other movie. Kids nowadays see horrible stuff. It would not bother me to take the older kids (maybe 9-12), as long as they understood what was happening. To see someone dying and going through that kind of torture for them would be a life changing experience, not a life torturing experience.

The anti-Jewish sentiment doesn't even need to be discussed, it's so ridiculous.

I would like to know the take from those that understand scripture . . . at the end, Satan is screaming. Is that where the Saints have been freed?

In scripture, after Jesus died, he went down to hell, took the keys of death from Satan and freed the saints that had died beforehand (Thus, the entire reason for dying . . . that way he had conquered death). Jesus now holds the keys to death. He is the high priest and the sacrifice. In Genesis, it tells of how Jesus would bruise Satan's head and Satan would bruise his heel (many take this as Satan being under Jesus feet as He is rising back out of Hell to rise again. There's so much more to the story after Christ dies on the cross. I'm just wondering if anyone saw that in that certain scene. It was so quick, but it would be extremely cool if you could see a bruise on Satan's head.
Old 02-28-04, 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by natesfortune
HATE MONGERING??? What in that film does that at all? Do you realize how serious a charge that is? Can you point to ANYTHING in the film that actually supports "a willing desire and provacative strategy to stir up hate"?
This film is aimed squarely and unequivocally to the converted, i.e. backward, fundamentalist, American "Christians". It supplies them with the kind of "hate fix" which no other media can legally supply in a modern, civilized society. It justifies their hatred towards any non-Christian, "alien" entity, be they atheists, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, liberated women, Democrats, or, in your case, the French.

And it's really very edifying to see you endlessly debating what a good, juicy, authentic crucifixion should look like and which filmscore provides the ultimate gory thrill.

Last edited by baracine; 02-28-04 at 02:49 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 11:05 AM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Problematic review

This film is aimed squarely and unequivocally to the converted, i.e. backwards, fundamentalist, American "Christians". It supplies them with the kind of "hate fix" which no other media can legally supply in a modern, civilized society. It justifies their hatred towards any non-Christian, "alien" entity, be they atheists, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, liberated women, Democrats, or, in your case, the French.
It is sad to see this type of thinking in the 21st Century. It's a shame actually.

Last edited by Scot1458; 02-28-04 at 11:08 AM.
Old 02-28-04, 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by baracine
This film is aimed squarely and unequivocally to the converted, i.e. backwards, fundamentalist, American "Christians". It supplies them with the kind of "hate fix" which no other media can legally supply in a modern, civilized society. It justifies their hatred towards any non-Christian, "alien" entity, be they atheists, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, liberated women, Democrats, or, in your case, the French.

And it's really very edifying to see you endlessly debating what a good, juicy, authentic crucifixion should look like and which filmscore provides the ultimate gory thrill.
You failed to answer a single one of my questions.

For instance, what specifically about THE FILM do you find that inspires hate in any way? Can you provide specifics? Or merely paranoid, generalistic ravings?

And I'm somehow doubting you've actually seen the film, if you can think this. The message of Jesus in the movie is quite clear - he says to Love everyone, and treat everyone as your neighbor, even if they are persecuting you. Hardly a message of "hate", and it is something that is explicitly stated and seen by example throughout the film.

So please, specifics.

The only "hate" to come out of this entire affair has not come from the movie or the movie's proponents - again, I challenge you to provide examples if you disagree - but it has clearly come from the critics of Gibson and the film. Your post typifies this in the most illustrative why possible. You simply dismiss the entire exercise with hyperbole and hate-speech("it's for stupid people!") and yet do not provide any specific complaints about the content of the film to back up your claims.

Considering nobody on the other side has done anything like this, and there's certainly nothing in the film in that vein, how can a person who is calling everybody else "backward" and "stupid Americans" during an attack on A MOVIE stand there with a straight face and accuse OTHERS of "hate"?

You are so hypocritical you're almost a parody.

Last edited by natesfortune; 02-28-04 at 11:25 AM.
Old 02-28-04, 11:58 AM
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Thanks, next time perhaps he can try to review the FILM.
It was an editorial, not a review. Op-ed pieces are under no obligation to hold to a particular review format.
Old 02-28-04, 12:06 PM
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Ironically, the film industry has played a large part in the "dummying down" of the average movie goer with a glut of films consisting of car chases and T&A and worse.
I won't argue with the point that the film industry panders to a pretty low denominator (though it's hardly a common denominator; they don't give the public enough credit), I'm unclear how an unfamiliarity with Christian stories is a symptom of dummying down? Intelligence surely is not quantified by the texts to which one is incidentally exposed?

Last edited by TanTan; 02-28-04 at 12:37 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by natesfortune

The French are some of the most intolerant people on the planet in many ways - they have NATIONAL LAWS banning the wearing of Muslim head-scarves, for instance - something you'd never find in the United States. They've also thrown authors IN JAIL for having passages in FICTION BOOKS that were deemed "negative toward Islam". The French are also very fond of thinking(as an incredibly stupid high percentage in their country do) that George Bush "staged" 9/11 for political gain, and we're only going into Iraq "for oil", even though there's not a single shred of evidence to support that conspiracy theory and THEY were the ones illegally profiting off the "oil for food" program in support of Sadaam and at the expense of the Iraqi people to the tune of BILLIONS - those billions being the real reason they did not support the war.

It seems the real people guilty of "trying to stir up irrational hate" are the ones that are saying/posting/shouting the ridiculous, unsupported tripe that you are here.
Well I don't agree with baracine's post but I hope you realize that I could just as easily depict Americans as moronic whackos by selectively picking examples to support my point. After all, there is no shortage of stupid laws, idiots, conspiracy theorists, and the like, in the US. Not to mention that your biased views on Iraq which you keep trying to perpetuate as "facts" remain entirely your own. And putting words in CAPS doesn't really do anything to support your arguments.

It seems to me that you are guilty of the same thing you are accusing baracine of.
Old 02-28-04, 12:45 PM
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Originally posted by eXcentris
Well I don't agree with baracine's post but I hope you realize that I could just as easily depict Americans as moronic whackos by selectively picking examples to support my point
As could anybody about any culture or country.

Baracine won't criticize the film as a film. He won't offer any specific examples to support his tirades. That's what I'm calling him on.

Not to mention that your biased views on Iraq which you keep trying to perpetuate as "facts" remain entirely your own
What I said about the French and Iraq here is entirely true(oil for food money, billions, etc.) The only "editorial" part is me saying that that is the reason they didn't support the war, not what they said. I think that's a logical conclusion given those facts and the context. If you disagree, that's fine. It's still irrelevant to both Baracine's AND my posts in general.

And putting words in CAPS doesn't really do anything to support your arguments.
You have your methods of emphasising things - and I have mine. I tend to write like I talk in venues such as this - for instance, in the last sentence in my last written paragraph here, I emphasized the "and" because that's the word I would've hit with emphasis in conversation. It's not an attempt to "support" my arguments. My arguments are designed to support my arguments.

It seems to me that you are guilty of the same thing you are accusing baracine of.
Which is?
Old 02-28-04, 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by baracine
This film is aimed squarely and unequivocally to the converted, i.e. backwards, fundamentalist, American "Christians". It supplies them with the kind of "hate fix" which no other media can legally supply in a modern, civilized society. It justifies their hatred towards any non-Christian, "alien" entity, be they atheists, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, liberated women, Democrats, or, in your case, the French.

And it's really very edifying to see you endlessly debating what a good, juicy, authentic crucifixion should look like and which filmscore provides the ultimate gory thrill.
What would be your opinion if the film's global dollars outgrossed the American money(my thinking is that it will, but time will tell)? Will it be the International "Backward Christians" being the only ones supporting the film?

Will you accept the testimony of any that say this film was a factor in a conversion of some sort?

And once again, what did you find ON SCREEN to which you could find to be:

1. Antisemetic?
2. Hate Mongering?

This is really not a film worth putting your reputation on to rant sight unseen, because much of the public at large seems to be taking something different from this than the average critic has.
Old 02-28-04, 01:09 PM
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what parts were not subtitled? I've heard several times about specific scene's not being subtitled, but from what i saw from last night, all of the movie was in subtitles.
Old 02-28-04, 01:23 PM
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Nature Boy-

I wouldn't really be too worried about baracine's rants. Check out his classic conspiracy about Star Wars being a ripoff of a Japanese TV show, his refusal to watch Lost in Translation but continue to bash it, etc.

Quite funny actually.
Old 02-28-04, 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
what parts were not subtitled? I've heard several times about specific scene's not being subtitled, but from what i saw from last night, all of the movie was in subtitles.
The reviewer obviously does not watch many films with subtitles - it was subtitled just like any other movie really - often times things don't get translated - you just get the gist of what you need out of subtitles.
Old 02-28-04, 01:30 PM
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Hello? The specific part people referring too as not tranlated is the part where it says the "guilt will be on their children" referring to the Jews. There was controversy about the line because it is often used to justify anti-semitism. There were various versions of the film shown prior to release that had the line transalated, the final version did not

Here is another article that I though was a good read on the movie

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/28/ar...wanted=1&8hpib

he Passion of the Christ" is not just another movie. No one in America is saying, "What do you want to see this weekend, `The Passion of the Christ' or `50 First Dates'? " None of us can see it innocently. If audiences were juries, there is no possible viewer of this film who would not be rejected by either the defense or the prosecution.

Whether or not we like the 21st century, it is where we live, and we can view this film only as citizens of our time and place. That means me, too. I can look at "The Passion of the Christ" only as a woman who defines herself as Catholic, who also defines herself as someone for whom the creation of story has been a crucial locus of self-understanding, and as someone for whom the Gospels have been crucial texts. So I respond to it as a person formed by my history, as Mel Gibson has been formed by his.

I'm older than Mel, but not by much, and we were both brought up by Catholics who would define themselves as conservative. And yet our visions of both the nature of history, the role of story and the experience of Jesus are miles apart.

So, no, I didn't like the movie. But I didn't like Mr. Gibson's "Braveheart," either. I don't do spectacle. I don't do graphic violence. I didn't lose any sleep, though, about not liking "Braveheart." I didn't care about "Braveheart"; I didn't care who liked it because nothing important was at stake. I didn't imagine that "Braveheart" could do any damage in the larger world. The story of "Braveheart" wasn't precious to me. But "The Passion" has been, for me, a cause of deep distress.

My distress has two sources. The first is my anxiety that it will have the effect of fanning the flames of a growing worldwide anti-Semitism. I accept Mr. Gibson's assertion that he didn't mean to make an anti-Semitic film, but he has to be aware of the Passion story's role in the history of the persecution of the Jews, a story whose very power to move the human spirit has been a vehicle for both transcendence and murder. To be a Christian is to face the responsibility for one's own most treasured sacred texts being used to justify the deaths of innocents.

What, then, is one to do with that knowledge? I believe that one bears witness to it, in one's life and in one's work. Certainly one does not take the risk that one's life or work might contribute to the continuation of a horror.

Can this be read as political correctness with a theological twist? As a writer, I am certainly sensitive to the specter of censorship. But as one who has made a life's work of studying narrative, I wonder why Mel Gibson's vision of the Passion its importance to him, he says, is that it shows exactly what Jesus did for us must depend on a portrayal of Jews as a bloodthirsty mob headed by a sadistic and politically manipulative leadership?

Mr. Gibson's defense is that he tells it like it is. Or like it was. But that is not precisely the case: the film's screenwriter, Benedict Fitzgerald, has added extra-Scriptural details: the character of Claudia, Pilate's wife, is much amplified from the Gospel hint; Pilate is given a sympathetic psychological complexity that is nowhere found in the Gospels; details of Jesus' childhood have been invented for dramatic purposes. Caiphas, the high priest, is a cipher in the Scripture; in the film he is, compared with Pilate, a one-dimensional monster, a shrewd rabble-rouser who rejoices in the shedding of his enemy's blood.

It is true that the Roman flagellators are portrayed as viciously sadistic, but there are two good Romans, Pilate and Claudia, to add a counterweight to our understanding of Romanness. There is no counterweight to the portrayal of the Jews. And arguably a writer who is concerned about the effects of a work that will have enormous popularity might be more worried about a negative portrayal of Jews than of Romans. No one has tried to set fire to the Pantheon; Hadrian's Villa has not been ransacked.

The second cause of my distress is that Mr. Gibson's portrayal of the Passion story seems to me a perversion of the meaning of the event and its context. When I spoke to Mr. Fitzgerald, he told me that for him and for Mr. Gibson, the Passion was the most important part of the Gospel and that that was why they had focused on the last hours of Jesus' life, giving short shrift to his ministry and his ideas. But if, as Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Gibson have done, you take the Passion out of its context, you are left with a Jesus who is much more body than spirit; you are presented not with the author of the Beatitudes or the man who healed the sick but with a carcass to be flayed.

A great deal of screen time is taken up with the flagellation of Jesus. What does this accomplish in an understanding of the meaning of Jesus' life and death? How is Jesus different from any other victim of torture? How is "The Passion of the Christ" different, then, from "The Silence of the Lambs"? Jesus as a person with mind and spirit is not very present in this film. This may partly be because Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus, is not an actor of great psychological subtlety. In the scenes when he is ministering rather than being bloodied, he is merely bland. These scenes have a perfunctory, tacked on quality, and Mr. Caviezel's face, which is pleasant but vacuous at the Last Supper, for example, does nothing to add to their power.

When I asked Mr. Fitzgerald why they had made the film so violent, he said that in an age of great violence, you had to use violence to make your point. He told me a story that had been dear to both his mother, who was the editor of Flannery O'Connor's letters and a great friend, and to O'Connor herself. The story goes like this: A man buys a mule from another man, who tells him that the mule will do anything if he is treated with loving kindness. So the man gives the mule the best feed, then some sugar, but he still won't work. So he brings it back to the seller, saying he's been duped. The seller hits the mule on the head with a two-by-four. The buyer says, "But you said he needed to be treated with loving kindness." The seller says, "Yes, but you have to get his attention first."

My problem with "The Passion of the Christ" is that I felt as if I were being continually hit over the head with a two-by-four, but I never tasted the sugar and I wasn't even given my portion of healthy feed. Once my attention was grabbed, what was it I was supposed to hear? That Jesus suffered greatly for my sins, more greatly, perhaps than I should imagine. But who is this Jesus and what is the meaning of his suffering?

Theologically, the meaning of Jesus' death comes with the triumph of the Resurrection, arguably the weakest scene in the film, in which Mr. Caviezel looks not victorious but stoned. Yet St. Paul says, "If Christ has not risen, then vain is your faith." Psychologically, the power of the Passion is that it acknowledges the place of suffering, particularly unjust suffering, in human life. It is a vessel for our grief. If you listen to Bach's "St. Matthew Passion," there is very little violence in the music; the overwhelming tone is one of mournfulness and a kind of crushed sorrow. In the film, to be sure, there are shots of women weeping along the Via Dolorosa, but the dominant tone in the film is one of rage-inducing voyeurism.

I understand that people of good faith might be moved by the film. I was in Boston the day of the premiere, Ash Wednesday. A woman interviewed on local television said that she thought the movie was not about violence but about love, that when she saw Jesus' struggle with his cross, she saw her own. A minute later, though, a woman with ashes on her forehead looked into the camera and said, "At least we know who really killed Jesus, and I don't have to say who."

I would venture to say that neither of these women's vision of the world was changed by the film. They brought their own Jesus into the movie with them, their own religious history and their understanding of the history of the world. As, of course, did I. And so if Mr. Gibson's goal was to change hearts and minds, I can't believe he'll be successful. In his goal of being true to his vision, he may in fact have succeeded.

But how does his vision tie in with the vision of the Gospels as a whole? In the Beatitudes, Jesus blesses those who hunger and thirst after justice. I can't imagine that Mr. Gibson's vision or his film will add to the balance of this world's justice. But as he has told us, that's not the part of the Gospel that interests him.

Last edited by chanster; 02-28-04 at 01:33 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 01:31 PM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
what parts were not subtitled? I've heard several times about specific scene's not being subtitled, but from what i saw from last night, all of the movie was in subtitles.
The subtitle "His blood be upon us and on our children" (the "blood libel" line from Matthew) was removed (but the dialogue wasn't).

Edit: Edged out by chanster.

Last edited by movielib; 02-28-04 at 01:37 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by movielib
The subtitle "His blood be upon us and on our children" (the "blood libel" line from Matthew) was removed.
but from what i did here from many interviews and such, that there were many scene's with out subtitles. and was that line right before Jesus first started getting whipped?
Old 02-28-04, 01:34 PM
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but from what i did here from many interviews and such, that there were many scene's with out subtitles. and was that line right before Jesus first started getting whipped?
There were various versions of the film shown prior to release that had the line transalated, the final version did not. I am not exactly sure where the line was
Old 02-28-04, 01:42 PM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
but from what i did here from many interviews and such, that there were many scene's with out subtitles. and was that line right before Jesus first started getting whipped?
It comes after Pilate washes his hands, I believe.

I definitely noticed much more unsubtitled dialogue than I usually see in a foreign language film. My impression, anyway.

Last edited by movielib; 02-28-04 at 02:53 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 02:34 PM
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I know about that line, and that they took out the subtitle - aside from that, the subtitles were about the same as you'd see in any foreign film, save with the exception of the Romans gearing up to scourge Christ, which wasn't subtitled. Just about everything else in the movie was translated as normal, I thought.
Old 02-28-04, 02:40 PM
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I wholeheartedly agree with the article chanster posted - even if he might not approve of me: The viewers of this film bring to it their own baggage and in this case this baggage is often biggotry and intolerance.

When one deals with a touchy subject, one needs to use tact. I'm very much afraid that as a theologian and even as a diplomat, Mel Gibson has been weighed and found wanting. The Gospels are respected by non-believers for their narrative and by believers and non-believers alike for the quality of compassion that is expressed in them. Gibson fails on both those counts.

Please compare to Nicholas Ray's King of Kings, which is an articulate debate of the respective merits of violent action and love, or Ben-Hur, which tells the story from the point of view of a victimized Jew, or The Greatest Story Ever Told (George Stevens' version) which cast Sidney Poitier as Simon of Cyrene and you will see what I mean. Mel Gibson did absolutely nothing to insure that his "message", presumably the message of the Gospels, was not misunderstood.

Last edited by baracine; 02-28-04 at 08:03 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 04:43 PM
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Baracine,

I am very willing to listen to your point of view on this, and enter into a more meaningful discussion of the film, provided you list the reasons for your assertions.

You say things like "The viewers of this film bring to it their own baggage and in this case this baggage is often biggotry and intolerance". Who are you talking about here? Christians coming to the film, or non-Christians who may be "intolerant" of Christians in general, but want to see what it's all about. That point is unclear. And with either group - what makes you think that they are bringing that kind of baggage in? What groundwork are you working from?

Also, when you say:

When one deals with a touchy subject. one needs to use tact. I'm very much afraid that as a theologian and even as a diplomat, Mel Gibson has been weighed and found wanting. The Gospels are respected by non-believers for their narrative and by believers and non-believers alike for the quality of compassion that is expressed in them. Gibson fails on both those counts.
That's fine if you think so - but WHY do you think so? You've still yet to site a single specific example from the film or offer any of your own commentary on the film itself.

I can't think of a greater compassion than is expressed in this film, than a guy getting excrusciatingly tortured yet continually praying for his tormentors. When getting nailed to the cross, he says "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." Others in the film get this message as they are affected by Jesus - there are even a couple of Roman soldiers that are taking him to the cross that go from cruel to helpful - two of them are even bent over Jesus when Mary is cradling his body. Most of these things are very subtle, some of them aren't(especially Jesus' message of Loving everybody, even those who hurt you).

How on earth is that not a message of compassion in your book? Is there any greater expression of compassion than that?
Old 02-28-04, 05:28 PM
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It's strange, It's almost as if people who were not moved by the film have to rationalize why they didn't connect with it.

As far as it being anti-semetic. I didn't see it (although I am not Jewish). There were good people and bad. Plus, if you are Christian and you hate Jews then you are not really following Jesus' teachings are you?

In my mind the biggest evil influence in the film was Satan. Always there in the background.

It's funny how fired up this movie gets people, especially from some Jewish reviewers. I get that this is just a fictional tale for the non-believer, but just because there are some negative portrayals does not mean it's Nazi propaganda.

How many Hollywood films are/have been offensive to Christians?

Maybe one or two, huh.

Last edited by aroney; 02-28-04 at 06:01 PM.
Old 02-28-04, 05:29 PM
  #225  
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Originally posted by baracine
When one deals with a touchy subject. one needs to use tact. I'm very much afraid that as a theologian and even as a diplomat, Mel Gibson has been weighed and found wanting. The Gospels are respected by non-believers for their narrative and by believers and non-believers alike for the quality of compassion that is expressed in them. Gibson fails on both those counts.
Did you actually watch this movie? No compassion? You did not feel compassion for a man being tortured and executed yet still preaching forgiveness for not only the men doing it (simple grunts) but the men who had orchestrated it as well? If not, then I doubt you'd feel compassion in any case, so talking about it is relatively moot.

Originally posted by aroney
How many Hollywood films are/have been offensive to Christians?

Maybe one or two, huh.
Excellent point, I hadn't even thought of that.

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