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Two Movies About Jesus


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Has anyone watched The Chosen from VidAngel?

https://www.vidangel.com/show/the-chosen-a7284/season/1?category=most-popular-tv-and-movies

Or the four David Batty Gospel movies?

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3253940/

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Our all-time favorite is Jesus of Nazareth (Franco Zeffirelli). Hands-down better than anything the Church has put out, and a star-studded cast.

Remember when NBC used to show it the week of Easter? That was a highlight growing up. 

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

Our all-time favorite is Jesus of Nazareth (Franco Zeffirelli). Hands-down better than anything the Church has put out, and a star-studded cast.

.............................

Didn't Zeffirelli use Olivia Hussey as Mary the mother of Jesus?  He always made sumptuous films.  I especially liked his Shakespeare films.

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Olivia Hussey was fabulous as Mary, and Michael York was the best John the Baptist EVER.

However, Robert Powell has always struck me as a rather creepy Jesus. He just always has a slightly psychotic look on his face.

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I never got that feeling about Powell (creepy and slightly psychotic) :) Emaciated and too skinny, yes. Powell was at his best when telling parables. Remember the prodigal son one in Matthew's house? And just other aspects of acting, I think he did better than anyone. It's a tough role to please anyone. 

It had the best Peter, too. And the scene in the Sanhedrin, with Sir Lawrence Olivier and James Mason as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea and Athony Quinn as Caiaphas. 

I also like the treatment of Judas; it's sympathetic and plausible. 

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Posted (edited)

Looks like no one has viewed the two I asked about. On the strong recommendation of our son Artisticosso, we are watching The Chosen tonight. The whole series is offered for free by vidAngel. 
 

I have watched two of the Gospel movies. They are excellent. The narration and dialogue are only taken from the scriptures. The spoken dialogue is in Aramaic. The cast appears to be all Near Eastern. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, rongo said:

I never got that feeling about Powell (creepy and slightly psychotic) :) Emaciated and too skinny, yes. Powell was at his best when telling parables. Remember the prodigal son one in Matthew's house? And just other aspects of acting, I think he did better than anyone. It's a tough role to please anyone. 

It had the best Peter, too. And the scene in the Sanhedrin, with Sir Lawrence Olivier and James Mason as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea and Athony Quinn as Caiaphas. 

I also like the treatment of Judas; it's sympathetic and plausible. 

All of this. One of my favorite films of all time. I thought Robert Powell was stunning in the lead role. 

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17 hours ago, caspianrex said:

Olivia Hussey was fabulous as Mary, and Michael York was the best John the Baptist EVER.

However, Robert Powell has always struck me as a rather creepy Jesus. He just always has a slightly psychotic look on his face.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, caspianrex. I think Michael York was outstanding in that I do not believe anyone has ever outdone what York did as the Baptist. However, his interpretation, or the director's, is one with which I disagree and could never believe. A rational person does not have to so verbally violent. Just as I and most people ordinarily ignore Internet posts made all in capitals, so I wouldn't have paid any attention to the one who was the precursor for the Messiah, had he behaved like Michael York's Baptist. If you want the public to listen don't scream, or else they will take you for a nut, and that is probably what you are, obsessed with your own ego and self-importance.

I am sure we will not change each other's mind about it. I find York's interpretation far too emotional, irrational, and unnecessarily high-pitched. I can not picture any saint as a spittle streaming screamer. Screaming and all capitals only magnify the verbally violent at the expense of a message and I believe York's Baptist is guilty of that.

Edited by 3DOP
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@3DOP, I totally get your point, and actually see a lot of wisdom in what you said. 

Thoughts on the creepiness of Robert Powell's Jesus? 😃

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1 minute ago, caspianrex said:

@3DOP, I totally get your point, and actually see a lot of wisdom in what you said. 

Thoughts on the creepiness of Robert Powell's Jesus? 😃

Caspian, thanks. Unfortunately, York's Baptist is what stands out for me about the movie. My wife and I watched it again last year and decided afterwards, that it would be our last. I know I was not as troubled about any other character in the picture.

I think Powell's relative calm exterior reflected a necessarily peaceful interior. But I am open to a refresher of my memory. I am not remembering Powell's portrayal in the Garden when even our Lord, in His humanity (I am Catholic by the way, two natures in Christ), had a "soul that was sorrowful, even unto death". He sought the consoling presence of His fellow disciples (human), and it was a grief to Him that they could not stay awake with Him. Thankfully, (in real life) an angel was sent since no waking humans were with Him. Him who took upon Himself our very nature so as to elevate our natures to His own. We all slept with the disciples while our good Lord began his Passion for our sakes. I think this might have been a point at which Christ's peace was nearly disturbed, but He gave an heroic example of triumph during a dreadful hour. Living in the present. Doing now what you are doing well. Moment by moment. But I do not recall how Zeffirelli did the Agony. That is probably a sign that I was okay with it. I certainly do not recall Powell's portrayal as "creepy".

But obviously, there are differences of opinion among those who have studied the Gospels about what Jesus was like. That is sadly, why we go to different churches. An LDS would never make the observations I do about the Garden, with sleeping humans and consoling angels (non-human). We are all the same species. Ultimately, our opinion of the film will be colored by our preconceived notions. I would be interested in what you found to be "creepy".

     

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10 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

Caspian, thanks. Unfortunately, York's Baptist is what stands out for me about the movie. My wife and I watched it again last year and decided afterwards, that it would be our last. I know I was not as troubled about any other character in the picture.

I think Powell's relative calm exterior reflected a necessarily peaceful interior. But I am open to a refresher of my memory. I am not remembering Powell's portrayal in the Garden when even our Lord, in His humanity (I am Catholic by the way, two natures in Christ), had a "soul that was sorrowful, even unto death". He sought the consoling presence of His fellow disciples (human), and it was a grief to Him that they could not stay awake with Him. Thankfully, (in real life) an angel was sent since no waking humans were with Him. Him who took upon Himself our very nature so as to elevate our natures to His own. We all slept with the disciples while our good Lord began his Passion for our sakes. I think this might have been a point at which Christ's peace was nearly disturbed, but He gave an heroic example of triumph during a dreadful hour. Living in the present. Doing now what you are doing well. Moment by moment. But I do not recall how Zeffirelli did the Agony. That is probably a sign that I was okay with it. I certainly do not recall Powell's portrayal as "creepy".

But obviously, there are differences of opinion among those who have studied the Gospels about what Jesus was like. That is sadly, why we go to different churches. An LDS would never make the observations I do about the Garden, with sleeping humans and consoling angels (non-human). We are all the same species. Ultimately, our opinion of the film will be colored by our preconceived notions. I would be interested in what you found to be "creepy".

     

Well, the only short clip I could find of Powell's performance was here. And actually, watching it now, I think I can appreciate his performance a bit better. I think it's his intense stare that struck me as a bit creepy. But I suppose it was meant to be intense. I also admit that my perception of Powell's performance may have been colored by the fact that I first saw him in The Who's famous rock opera Tommy, which is a truly bizarre film. He played Tommy's dad, who is murdered early in the film. He comes back to Tommy in visions, so I may have projected some of his creepiness in that role onto his performance as Jesus of Nazareth.

Incidentally, I am not a Latter-day Saint, either. I am a Methodist (I serve a UMC church as Director of Music), who was raised Lutheran. So you and I probably agree on quite a bit theologically. Since it was in a Catholic Lenten service in Chicago that I first "rediscovered" my faith in my late twenties, I have a deep appreciation for Catholicism.

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It looks like the "intense stare" I alluded to in my previous post was absolutely an intentional directorial decision. See this quote from the Wikipedia article on the film:

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Powell rarely blinks throughout the entire film, mimicking, in this respect, H.B. Warner in 1927's The King of Kings and Max von Sydow in 1965's The Greatest Story Ever Told. This effect was a deliberate decision by Franco Zeffirelli. James Houlden commented that the result was 'a penetrating, unrelenting eye contact with Jesus'. A dark blue eyeliner was applied on set to accentuate Powell's blue eyes.

 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Looks like no one has viewed the two I asked about. On the strong recommendation of our son Artisticosso, we are watching The Chosen tonight. The whole series is offered for free by vidAngel. 

We watched the first season (four episodes).  The Chosen fictionalizes the backstories of those who come in contact with Jesus: so far, Nicodemus, Matthew the tax collector, Peter, James,  Andrew, John, the Centurion, Mary of Magdala, John the Baptist, Peter's wife. It starts after his baptism and the imprisonment of John Baptist. 

The portrayal of Jesus is different than any other I have seen....very much human...he cuts his arm while making wooden toys for a little girl, displays a sense of humor, expresses sorrow for others, is really happy when Peter and the others haul in a huge bunch of fish....yet respectfully affirmative of his Godhood, and he definitely blinks and has no intense stare, rather a very kindly and approachable demeanorHis eyes are brown. He cooks his own food, prays before sleeping, observes the Sabbath alone, performs miracles with great humility and love, and teaches children using objects, scripture, and humor.

John Baptist definitely does not look like Michael York.

My favorite scene so far....a flashback of him with Mary and Joseph when he teaches at the Temple. 

As far as I can tell, apart from fictionalizing events and dialogue, it is consistent with the Biblical narrative.

For those who have problems with VidAngel, this is original content.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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I've watched (most of) The Chosen. My stake president recommended it to members of the stake council. I generally like it. My favorite scene is early on where Jesus forgives Mary.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Boanerges said:

I've watched (most of) The Chosen. My stake president recommended it to members of the stake council. I generally like it. My favorite scene is early on where Jesus forgives Mary.

Yes! And the calling of Peter.

Isn’t VidAngel owned by a Church member?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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On 4/7/2020 at 7:12 PM, Bernard Gui said:

Looks like no one has viewed the two I asked about. On the strong recommendation of our son Artisticosso, we are watching The Chosen tonight. The whole series is offered for free by vidAngel. 
 

How is it free? It wants me to give them my credit card information.

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3 hours ago, katherine the great said:

How is it free? It wants me to give them my credit card information.

Try this. Free for families stuck at home.

https://www.vidangel.com

Also available on YouTube.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, katherine the great said:

Thanks!

If you watch, let us know what you think of it.

I had a hard time understanding the dialogue on the original VidAngel version...because of my hearing problems, but the YouTube version we watched has captions.

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

If you watch, let us know what you think of it.

I had a hard time understanding the dialogue on the original VidAngel version...because of my hearing problems, but the YouTube version we watched has captions.

 

Lol! That was one of my first thoughts while watching the first episode (which I just finished). Where are the captions? I'm extra aware because I've had to take the college classes I'm teaching online and there was no way I was able to meet all of the accommodations required in the two weeks they gave us to make the transition but I did put the videos on youtube so that they would caption them for me.

So my second thought was: These characters and the entire mood is extremely American. Like the Roman soldiers, Peter's wife and Matthew's OCD-😂.  I think I'm over that now though. Overall it seems quite enjoyable although the disciples thus far seem very very young. Or maybe I'm just very very old.

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On 4/11/2020 at 5:02 PM, katherine the great said:

Lol! That was one of my first thoughts while watching the first episode (which I just finished). Where are the captions? I'm extra aware because I've had to take the college classes I'm teaching online and there was no way I was able to meet all of the accommodations required in the two weeks they gave us to make the transition but I did put the videos on youtube so that they would caption them for me.

So my second thought was: These characters and the entire mood is extremely American. Like the Roman soldiers, Peter's wife and Matthew's OCD-😂.  I think I'm over that now though. Overall it seems quite enjoyable although the disciples thus far seem very very young. Or maybe I'm just very very old.

I’m old. I never imagined the apostles as older men. 
 

The YouTube version we are watching has captions. In another episode the director and actor who plays Matthew explain why they portrayed him on the spectrum.

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A review from my son Artisticosso....

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It had a big impact on me and my friend XXX who referred it to me. I loved the character development. It was smartly written. Nicodemus story is so tragic and relatable. I found all the embellishments added to the gospel messages rather than diminishing it. My kids now know who Simon, Andrew, the sons of Zebadee, Mary, Matthew, Judas, etc. are. And the position of the Jews in the Roman world.  

 

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