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« Theology & Film - Podcast Lecture 3 | Main | Theology & Film - Podcast Lecture 4 »

July 31, 2007


lance Davis

Yes, I totally agree with Sandra and Steve's analysis of the film. As I watched it i couldn't help but feel similar vibes as when watching a modernized Shakespeare play such as Romeo and Juliet or a midsummer nights dream etc. These modern randitions, though encabable of drawing exact parallels, (and as a result gain mixed reviews from public opinion) they at least force the viewers to engage with the reality of the brutally familiar setting of contemporary culture rather than the detached or historical glory or artistic praise the plays have gained and perpetuate over the years. HOWEVER, "Jesus of Montreal" takes it a step further by not just modernizing the content of a story, they also suggests the story itself has been stretched to fanciful and mythical proportions that we now KNOW (through archeology and new historical documents)casts doubt on the devine story which all institutional Churches and followers of Jesus depend on in order to back up their doctrines and active sacramental beliefs. I don't believe anyone would approach a modernized shakesper play with the added intension to degrade the brilliance of william, the playwright, (because people who make shakespear plays probably do so because they appreciate shakespear and generally are impressed with his work) but in a sense, Jesus of Montreal sets out as if a contemporary film maker were to make a modern shakespear film with the overarching purpose to show that all those who have appreciated his work since the early 17th century actually got it all wrong. SO, despite the films brilliant ability to challenge Christians with a human Jesus who engaged with humans and was human focussed, I suggest that this was purely accidental in their REAL quest which was to make Christians or those contemplateing the ambiguity of life amongst institutions to realize it's yet another roadblock on the way to an evolutionary pennacle of world peace amongst all humanity. The film STRONGLY manipulates viewers to realize that Jesus was first a human and "humanism" is what we (who are also human) should emulize. At the end of the day, we only have each other. NO sky God or false "hope" of eternal life could replace the real need on the earth which is nonjudgemental love for eachother.

Shane Clifton

Wow, lance, were we watching the same movie? The film is a passion play - and obviously the lead actor is a human? I think the play is more a critique of traditional religion (religion that has moved away from the challenging message of the gospel) than a statement on the deity/humanity of Jesus.

Jacqueline Worcester

listened to all of the Review by Steve and Sandra Fogarty of the 1989 Film - Jesus of Montreal.

I agree with Steve's comment that when Daniel who plays the part of Jesus, and a group of people who were hired by the Catholic Church to play The Passion of Christ, and when the church objects to its biblical interpretation and attempts to stop the play, we see that this as a critique of traditional religion.

However, I leaned more to agree with Sandra's comments that the parallelisms of the stories forces us to buy into the message.

Gudrun Sveinsdottir

One interesting thought that Stephen mentioned was that Daniel being an organ donor parallels the miracles of Jesus. However, what is more interesting is that Daniel had no say in donating his organs, whereas Jesus freely gave up his life.I agree that the movie is well made and well acted and that it is well worth watching for other Christians. Although, I agree with Sandra that I might think twice before I show it to non-Christians, just because they might get the wrong picture of Christ. But I might be wrong... I agree with them that the movie challenges practices within the Church, in this case the Catholic church. I give it 3/5.

Brendon O'Reilly

Personally i didnt enjoy the film, not because of the message it was trying to potray but simply because i was bored.However Steven and Sandra did a very good job of reviewing this film. Similar to "the life of brian" this film parallels Jesus life to daniels. I think they where right in saying that it shows the humanity of Jesus life but denies the deity! This film also is a good critic of western society and its values, due to me being bored in the movie i couldnt agree but liked the way they worded this.and Sandra's closing comment that the film was good but its message was forced apon us is a good comment. I give it a 2/5

Cathrin Pedersen

MY THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE.. I really liked the film very much. Why? Because of its critique of religiousity. It was stirring to me when the Catholic priest wanted to end the play Daniel and the rest of the group did. Fascinating to me was it, that the reason why he wanted it to end was because it was soo raw and real, the community of love and grace that paralleled in the play they were doing and they as friends, how it challenged the priest who was shut down and did not want to receive love from the woman in the movie, nor accept grace in his life... Jesus is raw, I love that, and we as Christians we are often so "stiff" and scared to open up. Do we think we serve Jesus a great deal by acting perfect as Christians? Do we think displaying of us as perfect will save the world? I used to think that, but not anymore.

It has been interesting talking to people in class about this movie too, how many people didn't like it.. To be honest, we're too conditioned to Hollywood.. We are, in a church like Hillsong so used to high tech professional media, which is all okay, but sometimes that makes us not open for creativity....? I don't know, just a thought.

chris morrison

Steve and Sandra are magnificently perceptive in their critique of Jesus of Montreal. I have but one critique of their review, the issue of the divinity of Christ.

Daniel Coulombe is so abruptly counter culture that he seems to be divine even in his humanity. Refusing the temptation of sex and wealth as well as speaking with great wisdom. These elements lead me to feel that the Christ of Montreal is God in a very subtle way.

Kristoffer Godoe

Steve and Sandra Fogarty gives an interesting feedback of the movie Jesus of Motreal. They open the review by introducing themselves, and gives a short and brief summary, and then goes on to explain their personal opinion. I strongly agree with Steve, in his statement that the movie does not effect his traditional view on the Passion of Jesus. I may also agree with Sandra, on her opinion about the movies denial of the divinity of Jesus. However, the movie does not speak directly about Jesus, but rather, one persons opinion about Jesus. Stephen Fogarty says that he would recommend, while Sandra would be more careful. The voice, tone and clear speech was quite good. It was easy to understand what they wanted to say. The end of review was interesting, because they both disagreed with each other, and marked the film differently.

Autumn H

Hm. I think the outcome of a critique on a film like this has to be dependent on the 'eyes' in which you are looking at it. If you are looking for it to be a literal representation of Jesus, or to have an absolute message of the gospel, then it will fail miserably. As Sandra and Steve said, it emphasized the humanity of Jesus, but not the deity, and so on. However, was the film actually meant to portray the deity and humanity? Was it meant to be a literal story of Jesus? Were the somewhat obvious parallels meant for us to recognize Daniel as "the Christ?"
Looking through the eyes of my religious background and upbringing - I would give the film a very low rating - as there was historical and theological inaccuracies all through out it. HOWEVER... through the eyes of a postmodern thinker using art to convey a message - this film is a success. It certainly leaves the viewer full of thoughts and questions, which again, might have been its intent. The portrayal of humanity, the suffering of humanity, the purpose and meaning of life, morality - ... all these issues arise, and are brought to the light, not answered fully, and, in a sense, 'handed' to its viewers to sort out. Was this the intent? This certainly goes hand in hand with the thinking of the day. And in this respect, I would give the film a much more favorable critique.

Tjaart Kruger

The message of the movie seems to be that Jesus could have been just a man. If this is the case and their intention, I think that it was a movie that has little value to Christians. As Sandra said, this film takes it a bit to far.
Like so many people on this response I need to state the counter argument: If this movie was merely to comment on the state of the Catholic Church it was successful. Like Steve said it made him think, and re-evaluate his response, and I agree.

In the end this movie will either offend or appeal to you in some way. I took it to question the deity of Christ, in that Daniel was a type of savior to his friends and just a man. So the film left us with the question, "Could Jesus just have been a man?" So I agree with Sandra and give it 2.5.

ashley jones

this film was a complete failure for me, i found it lax in understanding of jesus, yet completely inkeeping with our sin stricken world...i would have to agree with sandra, i would not represent this as a good message of jesus, it is incomplete and only picks up scripture and "sounds lke" doctrine that is floating around the world, do these people know anything about christ? do they want to actually know? do they even care? i think that this film results our thinking to how we can make someone jesus in our lives, it is completely unfair to the bible, and completely inaccurate a portrayal of all of me it looked like a bunch of really bad actors prancing around on a stage with too much time and an ill written script...not good!

Oberammergau Passion Play

I have to agree with Ashley on this. Now I'm not a totally religious subject of Christ, but I do know The Passion Play story well enough to know that this didn't have all the facets (although modernized) of every facet of the biblical story. I can say one thing: They did give it their best effort considering their lack of interpretation.


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