Kevin's comments on THE PASSION

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Posted by Mrs. Isis Fabulous at on August 22, 2003 at 10:36:36:

I'd do this in talkbacks at News Askew but the talkbacks suck so I'm doin' it here. Deal. This is from some article by Some Guy.

: According to, the movie is about the final hours of Jesus Christ and parts of the story line have been taken from Smith's religious comedy, "Dogma."

???? Surely he jests. But down to the nitty-gritty Smitty bit. Tee.

: "I must say that the notion of boycotting a film in advance over a religious argument is ridiculous. We took it on the chin for "Dogma" and then it came out and people realised it was reverent," he says.

Well, *some* people did.

: "Mel has said he's sticking close to the Bible to make an accurate depiction of Christ's crucifixion, so perhaps the problem is not Mel.

Oh, Mel SAYS, okay then. I have only one problem with this comment, and that is -- who's to say the Bible describes an accurate depiction of Christ's crucifixion?

After all, even if we take really early texts of the various gospels, those only appeared hundreds of years after Christ's death, and were transmitted orally (no STD jokes please) prior to that. No direct written evidence by anyone who witnessed the event exists.

Therefore Mel's attempt at "accuracy" is, at best, a personal interpretation of a translation of a legend.

To believe that the King James Bible is historical fact is, to put it kindly, an act of faith and not reason. That's no insult to Bible-readers, or the wisdom contained therein -- but "accuracy" is a term that doesn't really apply. The movie can be consistent with Mel's vision of the Biblical story, but that doesn't make it "accurate".

: Maybe it's a Bible that throws around a term like 'Jew'. Perhaps it's time to clean up that book," he continues.

Right on! See if you can cull out some of that shit about women walking three feet behind their husbands, while you're at it. And the seafood thing. Because seafood rocks.

: "As for Mel, the best thing he can do it find a distributor like Harvey and Bob Weinstein, which will really commit to the picture," adds the director.

This IS sarcasm, right?

Anyway -- I've not much opinion on the movie although numerous interviews with Gibson and his father lead me to believe that they are nuts. Clearly I can see they're nuts, and they keep showing me they're nuts.

On the other hand it's hard to see that any movie about Christ's death can be anti-Semitic per se, since nearly everyone in the story is Jewish, including Christ, all his disciples, Mary Magdalene, the Virgin Mother, so on and so forth.

Any Bible-consistent portrayal of these people would show them to be kind and heroic individuals.

It's not anti-Semitic to show a variety of Jewish experience. It's certainly not anti-Semitic of Elie Wiesel to describe the concentration camps wherein Jews betrayed other Jews in the hopes of a bigger piece of bread. It's not anti-Semitic to point out that Judas, a Jew, betrayed Jesus, another Jew.

The questions to ask about THE PASSION seem to be: does the movie exaggerate the role of the Jewish authorities in Jesus' death? Is the Jewishness of Christ and his family and followers downplayed whereas the Jewishness of his betrayers is exaggerated?

Betrayal is a common theme in any major mythology. The important thing is that it not be represented as an ethnic flaw, but simply part of the story. Individuals can betray individuals without it reflecting upon their particular ethnic background. Does THE PASSION keep the story individual, and within the context of its times? That's what we want to know.

The funny thing about all the controversy over this flick is that it's taken what would have likely been a minor release with a very limited audience and turned it into the must-see movie of the year. So, never knock a boycott.

But Gibson is still nuttier than Aunt Ethel's fruitcake.

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