LENTEN FILM SERIES

with ERIC DAVID
 
Week VII – April 1 & April 4, 2021
WATCH: STARTING  APRIL 1, 2021
7:00 PM
 
MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)
HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!
 

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin). It was also directed by Jones. The film tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Chapman), a young Jewish-Roman man who is born on the same day as—and next door to—Jesus, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

The film was a box office success. It has remained popular, named “greatest comedy film of all time” by several magazines and television networks, and it later received a 95% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

 
NOTE: Alternative Jesus films are listed in the Appendix on Eric’s Google doc (last link below), if you don’t want to watch the more controversial films.
 

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKPmGjVFbrY 

Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/life-of-brian

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Python%27s_Life_of_Brian

 

Bookmark the Google Doc hub page for all links and Eric’s written commentary; we’ll use it all through Lent:

 
WATCH: STARTING  APRIL 4, 2021
7:00 PM
 
 
 

JESUS OF NAZARETH (1977)

HAPPY EASTER SUNDAY!

 

Note: Because of the miniseries’ length, viewers can break the movie into 2 nights, 4 nights of 90 minutes each or just go nuts and binge all at once.

Jesus of Nazareth is a 1977 British-Italian television miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli and co-written by Zeffirelli, Anthony Burgess, and Suso Cecchi d’Amico which dramatises the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It stars Robert Powell as Jesus, and features an all-star cast.

It became a ratings success and received highly positive reviews. Particular praise is often given for Robert Powell’s portrayal of the religious leader. Ian McShane’s portrayal of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was also well received.
 
Watch the trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36ZD1LjxGLo 

Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/jesus-of-nazareth

 

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_of_Nazareth_(miniseries)

Bookmark the Google Doc hub page for all links and Eric’s written commentary; we’ll use it all through Lent:

http://bit.ly/JesusChristMovieStar
 
Week VI – March 25, 2021
WATCH: STARTING  MARCH 25, 2021
 
 
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004)
 
The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 American biblical drama film produced, co-written and directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus of Nazareth. It depicts the Passion of Jesus according to the Gospel. It also draws on pious accounts such as the Friday of Sorrows and other devotional writings, such as the Marian apparitions of Anne Catherine Emmerich. The dialogue is entirely in Hebrew, Latin, and reconstructed Aramaic.
 
The film grossed over $612 million worldwide and is the highest-grossing Christian film of all time. The film received largely polarized reviews, with some critics calling the film a religious classic while others found the extreme violence distracting and excessive, and claimed that the film promoted antisemitism. A sequel about the Resurrection is in pre-production, planned for release next Easter, most likely.
 
NOTE: Alternative Jesus films are listed in the Appendix on Eric’s Google doc (last link below), if you don’t want to watch the more controversial films.
 

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI1dpKfw6X4

 
Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-passion-of-the-christ

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_the_Christ

Bookmark the Google Doc hub page for all links and Eric’s written commentary; we’ll use it all through Lent:
Week V – MARCH 18, 2021
 
WATCH: STARTING  MARCH 18, 2021
 
 
THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988)
 
The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 religious drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Paul Schrader, the film is an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial 1955 novel The Last Temptation of Christ. The film, starring Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey, Andre Gregory, Harry Dean Stanton and David Bowie, was shot entirely in Morocco.
 
Like the novel, the film depicts the life of Jesus Christ and his struggle with various forms of temptation including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust. This results in the book and film depicting Christ being tempted by imagining himself engaged in sexual activities, a notion that has caused outrage from some Christians. The film includes a disclaimer stating “This film is not based on the Gospels, but upon the fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict.” 
 
NOTE: Alternative Jesus films are listed in the Appendix on Eric’s Google doc (last link below), if you don’t want to watch the more controversial films.
 
Watch the trailer on YouTube:
 
Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 
 
Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):
 
Bookmark the Google Doc hub page for all links and Eric’s written commentary; we’ll use it all through Lent:
 
Week IV – MARCH 11, 2021
 
WATCH: STARTING  MARCH 11, 2021
 
 

GODSPELL & JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1973)

We’re looking at two musical treatments of the Jesus story that came out in the same year. Because both films are among the shortest in the series, we’ll be discussing both. Watch either or both! Info below on both films.

Bookmark the Google Doc hub page for all links and Eric’s written commentary; we’ll use it all through Lent:

docs.google.com/…f8_RgeDmbR6ljTTo4E8/edit

Godspell (full title is Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew) is a 1973 musical film. It is a film adaptation of the 1971 Off-Broadway musical Godspell (in turn based on the Gospel of Matthew), created by John-Michael Tebelak with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Directed by David Greene with stars Victor Garber as Jesus and David Haskell as Judas/John the Baptist, the film is set in contemporary New York City. 
 
Watch the trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ9X7OHAMs

Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/godspell

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godspell_(film)

Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1973 American musical drama film directed by Norman Jewison and jointly written for the screen by Jewison and Melvyn Bragg; they based their screenplay on the 1970 rock opera of the same name, the libretto (book and lyrics) of which were written by Tim Rice and whose music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The film, featuring a cast of Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen, Bob Bingham, and Kurt Yaghjian, centers on the conflict between Judas and Jesus during the week before the crucifixion of Jesus. Neeley, Anderson and Elliman were nominated for Golden Globe Awards in 1974 for their portrayals of Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene, respectively.

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edTECo3gCd4

Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/jesus-christ-superstar

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Christ_Superstar_(film)

 

Week III – MARCH 4, 2021

 
 
WATCH: STARTING  MARCH 4, 2021
 
 
 

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO

ST. MATTHEW (Italian: Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo) (1964)
 

The Gospel According to St. Matthew is a 1964 Italian biblical drama, written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is a cinematic rendition of the story of Jesus (portrayed by non-professional actor Enrique Irazoqui) according to the Gospel of Matthew, from the Nativity through the Resurrection. The dialogue is taken directly from the Gospel of Matthew. The film is considered a classic of world cinema and the neorealist genre. After initial release, it won the Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards. In 2015, the Vatican City newspaper L’Osservatore Romano called it the best film on Christ ever made.

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEs4g9A9HGc

Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: 

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-gospel-according-to-st-matthew

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gospel_According_to_St._Matthew_(film)

Join Sunday at 7 pm PST for Eric’s livestream video commentary on YouTube, followed by a group discussion on Zoom (link provided during the livestream):

 

Bookmark the Google Doc hub page for all links and Eric’s written commentary; we’ll use it all through Lent:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C8EBXpVJSkfkZ6p4BrX40ffbf8_RgeDmbR6ljTTo4E8/edit?usp=sharing

 Week II – FEBRUARY 25, 2021

 
WATCH: STARTING  FEBRUARY 25, 2021
 
KING OF KINGS (1961)
We continue the Jesus Christ, Movie Star Lenten film series with another epic film that was made four years before last week’s, yet seems more modern in many ways: KING OF KINGS. Directed by Nicholas Ray, best known for REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, this film stars the handsome Jeffrey Hunter (Star Trek fanatics know him as the original Captain Kirk from the pilot) as Jesus Christ. This film was far more successful than last week’s, while costing far less to make. And Jesus is far more human (and less European!) than last week’s. Pay special attention to the powerful score by Miklós Rózsa.
 
Watch the trailer on YouTube:
 

Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch:

https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/king-of-kings
 

Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):

 
Join Sunday at 7 pm PST for Eric’s commentary on YouTube, then a group discussion on Zoom:
 
 
 

 Week I – FEBRUARY 18, 2021

 
WATCH: STARTING  FEBRUARY 18, 2021
 
 
NOTES FROM ERIC DAVID:
It’s commonplace to give something up for Lent, but here’s an opportunity to add something to your journey this time: a film series on the life of Christ, the reason for the Lenten season. Eric David will be the host, looking at nine out of the dozens of treatments on film of the gospel story.
 
In this series, we’ll be looking at the social, political, cultural and religious milieu in which each Jesus film was made, from the silent era to the most recent versions, but choosing the most representative films for specific focus each week during Lent. We will also look at film technique, reviews from the times, and quote from a dozen scholarly books about Jesus in film. You can use the series as an educational, entertainment and/or devotional aid.
 
As before, some films are longer than will work in person on a weeknight, so are best watched at home when convenient; also, some films will feature more adult themes, so alternatives will be named for those who want to continue the journey, but need something less controversial to watch that week.
 
While you can watch at any time, we’ll announce the films on Thursdays, and Eric will livestream a commentary Sunday nights at 7 pm where you can share your own thoughts (link TBD). Bookmark the Google Doc link below as your hub for the series where all the commentary, resources and links will live. Join us!
 
THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965)

We’ll be watching films slightly out of chronological order. This first week, we underscore the title of this series with the version of the life of Christ that has the most movie stars, from Charlton Heston to John Wayne, with the ethereal Max von Sydow playing Jesus. Directed by George Stevens, it received five Oscar nominations. This film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Fulton Oursler, which itself was an adaptation of a Peabody Award-winning radio series. It illustrates the “harmonization” approach: taking stories from all four gospels.
 
Watch the trailer on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on3M7YWlewo
 
Find the film on a streaming service via the aggregator JustWatch: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/the-greatest-story-ever-told
 
Learn more at the film’s wikipedia page (a link to the IMDb page is at the bottom of the wiki):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/