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Author Topic: A Strong 'Passion' Review  (Read 1327 times) Average Rating: 0
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SamB
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« on: February 06, 2004, 08:19:07 PM »

Contrary opinions by reviewers help to provide a sense of perspective about a film.  But the stark contrast between the verdicts of Ukranian bishop Stefan Soroka*, who went so far to say he would not recommend the film to his friends and that it lacked content to engage his interest, and of Mr. Dean, who like many other reviewers describes dead silence and sobbing at the conclusion of the film, is confusing.  Have these two reviewed the same movie?  That what seems to be, by all appearances and with new, incoming reviews, a profoundly poignant film is critcised sharply and harshly by a bishop raises many concerns and emits a strong chord of unusual dissonance from within the arena of reviewers.  What say you all?

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* http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/reviews/soroka.htm

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/dean-email.html

Nothing Could Have Prepared Me For What I Saw Last Night
Email received from Jody Dean, an Emmy Award-winning anchor/reporter for KTVT-TV (CBS 11) in Dallas

All...

There’ve been a ton of emails and forwards floating around recently from those who’ve had the privilege of seeing Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" prior to its actual release. I thought I’d give you my reaction after seeing it last night.

The screening was on the first night of "Elevate!," a weekend-long seminar for young people at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. There were about 2,000 people there, and the movie was shown after several speakers had taken the podium. It started around 9 and finished around 11...so I reckon the film is about two hours in length. Frankly, I lost complete track of time - so I can’t be sure.

I want you to know that I started in broadcasting when I was 13 years old. I’ve been in the business of writing, performing, production, and broadcasting for a long time. I’ve been a part of movies, radio, television, stage and other productions - so I know how things are done. I know about soundtracks and special effects and make-up and screenplays. I think I’ve seen just about every kind of movie or TV show ever made - from extremely inspirational to extremely gory. I read a lot, too - and have covered stories and scenes that still make me wince. I also have a vivid imagination, and have the ability to picture things as they must have happened - or to anticipate things as they will be portrayed. I’ve also seen an enormous amount of footage from Gibson’s film, so I thought I knew what was coming.

But there is nothing in my existence - nothing I could have read, seen, heard, thought, or known - that could have prepared me for what I saw on screen last night.

This is not a movie that anyone will "like." I don’t think it’s a movie anyone will "love." It certainly doesn’t "entertain." There isn’t even the sense that one has just watched a movie. What it is, is an experience - on a level of primary emotion that is scarcely comprehensible. Every shred of human preconception or predisposition is utterly stripped away. No one will eat popcorn during this film. Some may not eat for days after they’ve seen it. Quite honestly, I wanted to vomit. It hits that hard.

I can see why some people are worried about how the film portrays the Jews. They should be worried. No, it’s not anti-Semitic. What it is, is entirely shattering. There are no "winners." No one comes off looking "good" - except Jesus. Even His own mother hesitates. As depicted, the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day merely do what any of us would have done - and still do. They protected their perceived "place" - their sense of safety and security, and the satisfaction of their own "rightness." But everyone falters. Caiphus judges. Peter denies. Judas betrays. Simon the Cyrene balks. Mark runs away. Pilate equivocates. The crowd mocks. The soldiers laugh. Longinus still stabs with his pilus. The centurion still carries out his orders. And as Jesus fixes them all with a glance, they still turn away. The Jews, the Romans, Jesus’ friends - they all fall. Everyone, except the Principal Figure. Heaven sheds a single, mighty tear - and as blood and water spew from His side, the complacency of all creation is eternally shattered.

The film grabs you in the first five seconds, and never lets go. The brutality, humiliation, and gore is almost inconceivable - and still probably doesn’t go far enough. The scourging alone seems to never end, and you cringe at the sound and splatter of every blow - no matter how steely your nerves. Even those who have known combat or prison will have trouble, no matter their experience - because this Man was not conscripted. He went willingly, laying down His entirety for all. It is one thing for a soldier to die for his countrymen. It’s something else entirely to think of even a common man dying for those who hate and wish to kill him. But this is no common man. This is the King of the Universe. The idea that anyone could or would have gone through such punishment is unthinkable - but this Man was completely innocent, completely holy - and paying the price for others. He screams as He is laid upon the cross, "Father, they don’t know. They don’t know..."

What Gibson has done is to use all of his considerable skill to portray the most dramatic moment of the most dramatic events since the dawn of time. There is no escape. It’s a punch to the gut that puts you on the canvas, and you don’t get up. You are simply confronted by the horror of what was done - what had to be done - and why. Throughout the entire film, I found myself apologizing.

What you’ve heard about how audiences have reacted is true. There was no sound after the film’s conclusion. No noise at all. No one got up. No one moved. The only sound one could hear was sobbing. In all my years of public life, I have never heard anything like that.

I told many of you that Gibson had reportedly re-shot the ending to include more "hope" through the Resurrection? That’s not true. The Resurrection scene is perhaps the shortest in the entire movie - and yet it packs a punch that can’t be quantified. It is perfect. There is no way to negotiate the meaning out of it. It simply asks, "Now, what will you do?"

I’ll leave the details to you, in the hope that you will see the film - but one thing above all stands out, and I have to tell you about it. It comes from the end of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness - where the Bible says Satan left him "until a more opportune time." I imagine Satan never quit tempting Christ, but this film captures beyond words the most opportune time. At every step of the way, Satan is there at Jesus’ side - imploring Him to quit, reasoning with Him to give up, and seducing Him to surrender. For the first time, one gets a heart-stopping idea of the sense of madness that must have enveloped Jesus - a sense of the evil that was at His very elbow. The physical punishment is relentless - but it’s the sense of psychological torture that is most overwhelming. He should have quit. He should have opened His mouth. He should have called 10,000 angels. No one would have blamed Him. What we deserve is obvious. But He couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t do that. He didn’t do that. He doesn’t do that. It was not and is not His character. He was obedient, all the way to the cross - and you feel the real meaning of that phrase in a place the human heart usually doesn’t dare to go. You understand that we are called to that same level of obedience. With Jesus’ humanity so irresistibly on display, you understand that we have no excuse. There is no place to hide.

The truth is this: Is it just a "movie"? In a way, yes. But it goes far beyond that, in a fashion I’ve never felt - in any forum. We may think we "know." We know nothing. We’ve gone 2,000 years - used to the idea of a pleasant story, and a sanitized Christ. We expect the ending, because we’ve heard it so many times. God forgive us. This film tears that all away. It’s as close as any of us will ever get to knowing, until we fully know. Paul understood. "Be urgent, in and out of season."

Luke wrote that Jesus reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread.

Exactly. "The Passion of the Christ" shows that Bread being broken.

Go see this movie.

His, and His alone.
jody


February 7, 2004
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SamB
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2004, 08:20:08 PM »

Administrators, I created this thread in the wrong forum by mistake.  Could it please be moved to 'Reviews'?

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2004, 01:12:04 PM »

Subject:  "The Passion" by Mel Gibson



This is long, but so very good and meaningful..........we have to support this man and his movie and make sure we go see it when it comes out.  As Christians, we have to stand up and be counted!!!



Movie: The Passion - Paul Harvey Comments  



Paul Harvey Comments on "The Passion" by Mel Gibson



The majority of the media are complaining about this movie. Now Paul Harvey tells "The rest of the story" and David Limbaugh praises Gibson. Most people would wait and see a movie before giving the reviews that have been issued by the reporters trying to tell all of us what to believe. Paul Harvey's words: I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled to have been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion," but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin. I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or actions. I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion", held in Washington DC and greeted some familiar faces. The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words. The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened.



>From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the very human and  tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus, through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross, the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.



In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and shakers" in Washington, DC were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there as a dry eye in the place. The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate. We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth. One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the weight of the cross. His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face. Jesus looked at her with intensely probing

and passionately loving eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things new." These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been borne voluntarily for love.



At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be "anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer.



A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and responded "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely presents that the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree. There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way. Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their protestations. This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that it will appeal only to those who identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art. Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to the story and Christians have a right to tell it. After all, we believe that it is the greatest

story ever told and that its message is for all men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth. We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world. The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel Gibson's

filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion."



It should be seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "The Passion." You will be as well. Don't miss it!





****************************************



This is a commentary by DAVID LIMBAUGH about Mel Gibson's very controversial movie regarding Christ's crucifixion. It, too, is well worth reading. MEL GIBSON'S

passion for "THE PASSION" How ironic that when a movie producer takes artistic license with historical events, he is lionized as artistic, creative and brilliant, but  when another takes special care to be true to the real-life story, he is vilified.

Actor-producer Mel Gibson is discovering these truths the hard way as he is having difficulty finding a United States studio or distributor for his upcoming film, "The

Passion," which depicts the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Gibson co-wrote the script and financed, directed and produced the movie. For the script, he and his co-author relied on the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) and Mary of Agreda's "The City of God."

Gibson doesn't want this to be like other sterilized religious epics.  "I'm trying to access the story on a very personal level and trying to be very real about it." So committed to realistically portraying what many would consider the most important half-day in the history of the universe, Gibson even shot the film in the Aramaic language of the period. In response to objections that viewers will not be able to understand that language, Gibson said, "Hopefully, I'll be able to transcend the

language barriers with my visual storytelling; if I fail, I fail, but at least it'll be a monumental failure." To further insure the accuracy of the work, Gibson has enlisted the counsel of pastors and theologians, and has received rave reviews. Don Hodel, president of Focus on the Family, said, "I was very impressed.  The movie is historically and theologically accurate." Ted Haggard, pastor of  New Life Church in

Colorado Springs, Colo., and president of the National  Evangelical Association, glowed: "It conveys, more accurately than any other film, who Jesus was." During the filming, Gibson, a devout Catholic, attended Mass every morning because "we had to be squeaky clean just working on this." From Gibson's perspective, this movie is not

about Mel Gibson. It's bigger than he is. "I'm not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor," he said. "But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize."



Even before the release of the movie, scheduled for March 2004, Gibson is getting his wish. "Everyone who worked on this movie was changed.  There were agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity...[and] people being healed of

diseases." Gibson wants people to understand through the movie, if they don't already, the incalculable influence Christ has had on the world. And he grasps that Christ is controversial precisely because of WHO HE IS - GOD incarnate.

"And that's the point of my film really, to show all that turmoil around him politically and with religious leaders and the people, all because He is Who He is." Gibson is beginning to experience first hand just how controversial Christ is. Critics have not only speciously challenged the movie's authenticity, but have charged that it is disparaging to Jews, which Gibson vehemently denies.  "This is not a Christian vs.

Jewish thing. '[Jesus] came into the world, and it knew him not.'  Looking at Christ's crucifixion, I look first at my own culpability in that." Jesuit Father William J. Fulco, who translated the script into Aramaic and Latin, said he saw no hint of  anti-Semitism in the movie. Fulco added, "I would be aghast at any suggestion that Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic." Nevertheless, certain groups and some in the mainstream

press have been very critical of Gibson's "Passion." The New York Post's Andrea Peyser chided him: "There is still time, Mel, to tell the truth." Boston Globe columnist James Carroll denounced Gibson's literal reading of the biblical accounts. "Even a faithful repetition of the Gospel stories of the death of Jesus can do damage exactly because those sacred texts themselves carry the virus of Jew hatred,"

wrote Carroll. A group of Jewish and Christian academics has issued an 18-page report slamming all aspects of the film, including its undue emphasis on Christ's passion rather than "a broader vision." The report disapproves of the movie's treatment of Christ's passion as historical fact. The moral is that if you want the popular culture to laud your work on Christ, make sure it either depicts Him as a homosexual or as an everyday sinner with no particular redeeming value (literally). In

our anti-Christian culture, the blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ" is celebrated and "The Passion" is condemned. But if this movie continues to affect people the way it is now, no amount of cultural opposition will suppress its force

and its positive impact on lives everywhere. Mel Gibson is a model of faith and courage. Please copy this and send it on to all your friends to let them know about this film so that we'll all go see it when it comes out



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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2004, 07:59:24 PM »

UKRAINIANS THANK MEL GIBSON FOR CHAMPIONING TRUTH

For Immediate Release (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto) - 5 February 2004

    Responding to actor/film maker Mel Gibson's comments about the Holocaust and the Holodomor, as the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine is known, Dr Lubomyr Luciuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Canadian community said:

    " Mel Gibson seems to have been publicly attacked because he insisted on recalling all of the victims of the Holocaust, Jews and non-Jews alike. He has also been condemned for recalling the many millions of Ukrainians starved to death during the Holodomor. This famine was not the result of natural causes. It was man-made. For anyone to suggest that recalling those murdered during this Soviet crime against humanity somehow detracts from the Holocaust is preposterous. And to belittle the many millions so victimized, as was done by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, smacks of genocide-denial, or worse. It is, of course, anyone's right to focus grief on their own community's woes. But to make false comparisons and suggest that  somehow those who died from hunger suffered less than those who died from gas is odious. We hallow the memory of all the murdered millions and we thank Mr Gibson, a good Catholic, for having the courage of his convictions and for championing historical truth."

    During an interview with Peggy Noonan, published in the March issue of Reader's Digest, Mr Gibson not only spoke of  having personal acquaintances who bear the infamous tattoo of Auschwitz concentration camp inmates, but also of the need to remember all of the Holocaust's victims, while not forgetting victims of Communism: "In the Ukraine several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."  For expressing such sentiments he was pilloried by Rabbi Hier of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and by Mr Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. A controversy has been provoked over Mr Gibson's film, The Passion, which will be released on Ash Wednesday, 25 February 2004, in theatres across North America.
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