Thursday, May 12, 2016

By the Gods!

H.B. Warner, as Jesus, in KING OF KINGS (1927)

The past weekend was the ascension of Jesus. After he was resurrected, Jesus remained 40 days with the apostles before going to heaven for good. This part of the story has rarely or never been filmed (I haven't seen JESUS OF NAZARETH in a long time so I don't know if the Zefferelli mini-series showed this). I think the post-resurection moments in the bible are as interesting as the ones beforehand. There are so many moments rarely shown, including the apostles spreading the Holy spirit around the world, Jesus going to hell, etc, that the whole picture in pop culture is incomplete. 

As for the Cecil B DeMille film. It's well mounted and at times spectacular but it also has its fair share of quirks. For example, Joseph is nowhere to be seen in it. The silent film uses actually bible scriptures for inter titles. Part of the film was shot in early version of Technicolor, which is fascinating. When Jesus is crucified, the film becomes a disaster film with earthquakes, destructive lightning bolts and hurricane strength winds. Almost all other versions of the story of Jesus skipped this part. The film ends with an image of Jesus looking over a then modern day city. The film has been uploaded on Youtube (not by me). If you haven't seen it check it out.

2 comments:

Richard Svensson said...

For some reason Christian proponents, whether they be filmmakers or clergymen, seem to shy away from showing (in art) or discussing the part about Jesus going to hell, and even the resurrection, which is such a fundemental part of the religion, is quickly rushed over. Why is that? I've talked to quite a few men and women of the cloth in the church of Sweden, which is protestant, and they all gloss over certain parts, which to a modern human being seems utterly fantastic; the whole Adam and Eve business, and Noah's ark are probably the best examples of ice cold discussion topics. But also in this batch I find Jesus talking to Satan in the desert and other fantastical elements of the gospels. Is it because they all feel it's so important in films and sermons to depict the story of Jesus as utterly realistic in order to "sell" it? Then the whole matter of faith seems pointless.

PEPLUM Cinema said...

Yes, good point.

There is something old fashioned about the idea of hell and satan but those things can be viewed metaphorically, not necessarily literally. But it's true that they're trying to shy away from the supernatural elements of Jesus and when you think about it, as you wrote, it makes everything sorta pointless, aside from the miracles and bringing up Lazarus from the dead. God (or other Gods and deities) is a supernatural being. There's no going around that point really.