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Undercover at the movies

I went to see Mel Gibson's Passion tonight. My ticket came from a friend, who bought it through her church, which bought out two screens tonight. So I was the undercover atheist.

There was certainly a degree of proselytizing there, from the pastor's wife, who prayed and promoted her church at both the beginning and the end, to the packets that were handed out to everyone at the entrance.

What I don't understand is how any church-goer could think that this movie would convert anyone to Christianity. Way beyond me.

It's gruesome, deliberately, slowly, cruelly so, to underscore Gibson's sense of the meaning of Jesus' death, that he "died for our sins". There are other interpretations of his death, very different, but I won't go into those here and now. The film is also very black and white, good and bad. Mary good, soldiers bad.

It was more similar to Jesus Christ Superstar than to The Last Temptation of Christ, but I doubt Mel would want to hear that.

In the end, I felt more anger than anything else, had some difficulty figuring it out. I love this story and am normally very moved by it. I was moved this time, too, but more by anger and frustration than love. I kept thinking of good Christians killing Iraqis, for example, and it just didn't come together. What has changed? What has Christianity done for us?? WHat???


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2004 07:29 am (UTC)
I like the critic who wrote it was a 'two-hour, six-minute snuff movie' - The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre.
Feb. 27th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC)
A New Jesus For A New Imperialism
I confess I haven't done a lot of thinking about this film. The reviews I've read have been Christians (especially the Evangelicals) 'Moving, Timely, Authentic' The Free Thinkers and critics all echo your own experience. One thing I think may be getting lost. A strand of Cultural Theory has it that all culture from Pop to High Art expresses it's time and the prevailing cultural pre-occupations of the mainstream. Thus all culture is either supportive of the hegemony or dissident. Could it be that this will come to be known as the 'Post 9/11 Christ'? Good Guys VS Bad Guys = America VS 'Evildoers'. As you say Black VS White.

Note:I liked the Scorcese. I hated JC Superstar.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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