Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The next Jesus movie

There's an article at Christianity Today - Ewan McGregor and Rodrigo Garcia On Jesus, Satan, and 'Last Days in the Desert' - about the upcoming Jesus movie which stars Ewan McGregor and is directed by Rodrigo Garcia (the son of Gabriel García Márquez). Here's a bit of it ...

[...] Three of the four gospels tell this story: after his baptism by John, Jesus goes into the Judean Desert to fast and pray for forty days. As recounted in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Satan tempts Jesus during this time in three conversations, and Jesus resists. By the time he leaves, he is ready to start his public ministry.

Last Days imagines a story set during the final few days in the wilderness. After over a month of solitary wandering, Yeshua [Jesus] is tired, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and lonely, weary of not hearing his Father’s voice. He happens upon a family in the wilderness who recognize that he is a holy man and offer him shelter and hospitality; in return, he offers them some help with carpentry.

The father, played by Irish actor Ciaran Hinds (Road to Perdition; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), has a relationship with his son familiar to anyone who has ever been a teenager: equal parts love and confusion, trying to both connect with him and protect him, but not sure how to do either. The son (Tye Sheridan, the brilliant young American actor seen in Mud, The Tree of Life, and Joe) obeys his father and cares for his sick mother (celebrated Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer), but dreams of living in Jerusalem.

Yeshua forms relationships with both the boy and his father over the course of their conversations, but he has another conversation partner: Satan himself, a suaver version of Yeshua with a glint in his eye. Satan taunts and tempts Yeshua away from the work that lies ahead, suggesting that the Father doesn’t really love him ...

[I]n the Scriptural account, Satan was once Lucifer, the most beautiful of all the angels that God created, who was cast out from heaven because of his pride. Garcia’s take on the fallout of this (I don’t want to spoil it) is marvelously heartbreaking. He conceived of the character as “the black sheep, the punished child. It makes you feel [like] these two are (at least metaphorical) children of a father whose opinion counts a lot to them. That’s any child, really.” McGregor agrees in his portrayal of the relationship between Jesus and Satan. “There was a jealousy there, because Jesus knows his father in a way that Satan can never know his father,” he says. “I played both characters as real people, no question.” ....


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