Tuesday, February 24, 2004

And the reviews start pouring in

Benyamin Cohen of JewsWeek's The Yada Blog has written a review of an advanced screening of The Psssion of the Christ:

'Well, after walking out of an advance screening, my first comprehensible thought was this: I really want to kill a Jew.

In recent interviews, Gibson has been uttering the following mantra: "Wait until the film is released. You'll see that I don't blame the Jews." Well, Gibson not only goes out of his way to blame the Jews for Jesus' brutal crucifixion (albeit with a mostly accurate retelling of the gospels), but he goes so far as to portray the Romans as unwilling accomplices, which is, with certainty, a willful distortion of the original text. Meanwhile, Gibson depicts most of the Jews as an angry lynch mob which gains pleasure from watching a man writhe in pain and flood the ground with blood. It would take an act of God to incite more anti-Semitism than this film is sure to ignite.

But putting false claims of theological culpability and biblical fidelity aside, the film suffers from poor storytelling. Since the movie only depicts Jesus' final hours, we are given no background -- why did the Sanhedrin want him dead? What crimes did he commit to deserve such a gruesome death? All we're shown is these mean Jews who want to murder this nice young man.

Gibson pulls at the audience's heartstrings by force-feeding them pathos on a silver platter for a man we don't know. If all we see is people torturing someone, we're deprived of the entire chain of causal events. The film could've been about the crucifixion of Hitler and we would've felt bad for the guy...

[H]e opts to turn the story of Jesus from one of intense spirituality to one of brutal violence. The film feasts on the physical torture and not the metaphysical elevation. It's Gibson's obsession with sadomasochism on display for everyone to see in all its, um, gory.

This does a horrible disservice to the Christian community. By transforming the story from one filled with hope to one mired in rage, Gibson is teaching a new, and violent, Christian doctrine. Contrary to what you may have learned in Sunday School, he seems to be saying, Christianity is based on revenge, not love. This is nothing short of an embarrassment to our Christian brethren.'

The Full article can be read at:
Jesus Christ, Superstar?


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.