Thursday, April 15, 2004
I finally got round to seeing The Passion today. I think enough ink and print has been wasted talking about whether or not it's anti-semitic - I don't think it is. All the women in it are positive, and all but one of the women (I think) are jews. Of course, perhaps women don't count...
However, what I haven't read much about elsewhere is just how Roman Catholic a vision it is. They didn't miss a single opportunity to picture Mary as the strong women in the face of it all, the wonderful mother and 'lowly handmaiden'. While I imagine the real Mary must have been having as hard a time as anyone - even with the knowledge she had, she didn't have Jesus' knowledge, and even he seemed to be in doubt at times, so her 'strength in the face of it all' seems a little unrealistic.
More noticeable than that, though, were the lingering shots on every possible item which could become a relic. These items were there, they were treasured by some person - they must have been passed down! There's the stained cloths, the nails, the cross itself, and of course the shroud... Every collector's dream. The whole film seemed very much reminiscent of something Medieval, particularly with the constant appearances of the devil in many forms, which I would have thought it would be more sensible to downplay, given the obviously evangelising note. The more modern approach seems to be to downplay the more mystical aspects of religion whenever possible.
This film certainly didn't convert the people with whom I watched it. They had many objections to it, perhaps being a bit too cynical, but the one I most sympathised with was that the film was so obviously trying to convert people. It's hard to relax when you know something has a mission.
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