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The Passion of the Christ [Mar. 14th, 2004|06:13 pm]
한국 사람이 아니다
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I know I said I wasn't going to see The Passion of the Christ, and truly, I didn't plan to see it today, let alone ever. I was going to see 50 First Dates, but it didn't start until 1:10, Passion started at 12:50, and it was 12:45...And I figured I might as well get it over with; it's the most talked-about film in forever, and it's going to be nominated for a bunch of Oscars next year despite its February release. I know I'll end up seeing it anyway, so might as well just suck it up. It's this year's Lord of the Rings: a huge epic that millions will see, based on a book I don't much care for but which other people worship. At least it's not as long as those other films...

It was as awful as I expected. At least, I think it was. I kept my eyes closed though the gruesome scenes, but they still sounded horrific. I got a phone call during the carnage and was actually grateful to escape to the lobby for conversation and a few moments of bloodless daylight.

However, it's a well-made film. The acting was at times excellent; I particularly liked Pontus Pilate (Hristo Naumov Shopov) and his wife Claudia (Claudia Gerini)...they were superb. The special effects, gory as they were, were also well done. And the makeup had better get a nomination is all I can say. And if it wins, maybe I'll be able to shake this image of ribs showing through skin.

Still, it's going to be hard for people to seperate the passion from the production. This is the sort of film that can't be separated from its subject matter (like, say, The Godfather, where regardless of your opinion about the Mafia, you can still appreciate the film as a good film), and people will love it or hate it based on what it's about rather than what it is. One gripe I have is, like LotR and the upcoming Troy, I know the basic story, but I can't remember all the characters' names. Passion has this annoying habit of having people show up but not telling you who they are; you're supposed to just know who they are because you know the story. Well, I can't remember the name of the woman who had the Shroud of Turin, and I can't remember the name of the innocent bystander guy who helped carry the cross. I know I know them, I've heard of them, but it would have been nice to have a little, subtle reminder. Not everyone who sees this movie lives and breathes this stuff. Nor do they want to. While I suspect this film's hidden agenda is to convert the heathen masses to Christianity, having seen it makes me less likely to convert than ever before; if anything, it makes me more curious about Judaism. Not the reaction I think Mel Gibson was going for, exactly...

It was an interesting story. But then, I happen to like mythology.

From: drewberry4
2004-03-15 12:12 am (UTC)
It's this year's Lord of the Rings: a huge epic that millions will see, based on a book I don't much care for but which other people worship.

That is the best quote ever.

I agree with you completely. Although not about the ribs part because I didn't look. I felt like that whole part was simply for shock value. It seemed like they were trying to make it as graphic as possible so people would get caught up in it and love Jesus more.

I didn't know the names of characters, either. It was so confusing! When I did figure out who was who, I got the actors mixed up with each other! Bearded brunette men and women in tunics and robes are very hard to distinguish between!
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From: branwynelf
2004-03-15 02:54 am (UTC)
drat, you beat me to the "best quote ever" comment. heh.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 03:14 am (UTC)
Heh. Once in a while I get one...
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From: branwynelf
2004-03-15 03:17 am (UTC)
Actually your concluding comment also had me grateful I wasn't drinking anything at the time too. ;)
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 03:24 am (UTC)
That, sadly, is all that remains of my original idea of comparing the Bible to the pantheons of the Greeks and Romans, to the Kalevala and the Edda, and to Innuit and Native American stories...but it got too abstract and I went with more cinematic comparisons...
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[User Picture]From: dantesdad
2004-03-15 03:40 pm (UTC)
Wow. Someone that knows what the Kalevala is...

Are you part Finnish, or have you just studied Scandinavian Myth/Legend?
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 03:47 pm (UTC)
I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and decided on a Finnish persona because...well, because no one else had one. And I've always been fascinated by the language...

So as a part of all that, I read the Kalevala. Twice.
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[User Picture]From: dantesdad
2004-03-15 04:09 pm (UTC)

I have a bunch of friends that do SCA, but I stay to boffer-sword LARPing, myself. I play in the Realms here in New England.

Have you studied Finnish? If you haven't - it's a bitch to learn. With no real similarities to the romance languages I've studied (French & Latin mostly) I was never able to get much of a foothold in it.

My paternal grandmother did a prose translation that was published decades ago, before I was born. She was a Finnish Folklorist, and also published a compilation of folktale translations called "Tales from a Finnish Tuupa". Great stuff. Finnish culture and language are uniquely not european, but not exactly asian either...

I'll stop myself before I go into linguistic details of how weird Finnish really is. I don't want to put you to sleep... :)
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 04:56 pm (UTC)
I know a bit about it - one of the reasons it fascinates me so. I tried to self-teach myself Finnish agesago. Didn't work. Of course, now I'm trying to learn Korean, so I guess I'm a sucker for a challenge. Heh.

Finnish culture and language are uniquely not european, but not exactly asian either...

This pretty much sums it all up right here, why it fascinates me.
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[User Picture]From: dantesdad
2004-03-15 05:15 pm (UTC)
Not only are you piquing my interest right and left... I'm also a bit of a film buff and I'm guessing your journal would be an enjoyable read.

Sadly, I don't get out to the movies much these days, as I've got a 3-year-old to chase after in the evenings. I miss it, though. I took a bunch of film classes in college (UMass Amherst '91) and my favorite movie is both in black & white and somewhat obscure...

So, do you mind if I friend you? (I always ask... Something about politeness, I guess...)
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 05:46 pm (UTC)
Certainly. I'd be honoured. My small-time fame as a movie-reviewer. Heh.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 03:16 am (UTC)
Thanks (aw, you like me)

I didn't mean to see those ribs...I thought it was over, the oogy bits. Me, I kinda felt for old Judas. He realised what he'd done...too late, but he tried to take it back.

I also liked when Jesus stuck the guy's ear back on. Subtle. I like subtle.
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[User Picture]From: kteeski
2004-03-15 12:22 am (UTC)
Mary Magdalene? Is she the one who had the shroud?
See, I went to Catholic school and even my memory is failing me.
This is a real mine field, this movie, because of such strong beliefs involved etc...is it anti-Semitic or just historically accurate - that sort of thing.
I haven't read anything about Gibson's "point" but from hearing people talk about it in terms of an unbiased approach, I thought he was going for something that was more true to the actual historical truths about the time - the methods of torture, what crucifixion was really like - that sort of thing. And the use of Aramaic instead of English is supposed to be quite powerful. And showing how brutal it actually was what they did in those times - instead of glossing it all over.
My problem is the way churches are saying how everyone NEEDS to see this. I grew up in a religious home and those movies always scared the crap out of me. I had nightmares about talking burning bushes after seeing the 10 Commandments...about visions of Mary appearing to young nuns after seeing the Song of Bernadette.
Of course, I was raised to believe these things actually happened.
I think it can really mess with a child's mind to see this stuff...which is why I don't agree with the push to see if it you're a Christian.
Because it's such a powerful and important movie in terms of debate, yes...perhaps...but for the religious significance? No.

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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 03:21 am (UTC)
I thought it was Miriam - who was Miriam. Miriam is in there somewhere. I thought Magdalene was the woman with Mary. I have no idea. I don't even have the background to go on that you have...raised by an atheist scientist, remember? I had Bertrand Russell, Konrad Lorenz, Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel instead Matthew Mark Luke and John...

There's a push for Christians to see it with a non-Christian in some sort of misguided effort to make them "see the light" or something. This creeps me right out.

Mel has a penchant for the gruesome; remember the evisceration scene in Braveheart? (I'm trying to forget it, even now...) Still, I wish he'd learned a thing from M. Night Shmalyan...the scene where the Shepherd is killed by the aliens - when all we see is a doorjam - is one of the most effective scenes ever...yet we aren't shown any blood. It's all in our heads...
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[User Picture]From: kteeski
2004-03-15 12:42 pm (UTC)
See...I knew my memory failed me.
I think it was Miriam, now that you mention it.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 01:55 pm (UTC)
Crikey...how do I know that? That's scary.
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From: lifewithmikey
2004-03-18 09:09 am (UTC)
There's a push for Christians to see it with a non-Christian in some sort of misguided effort to make them "see the light" or something.

I'm not one of those Christians.

In fact, I'm still undecided as to whether or not to see the film. I'm in no rush to check it out. If I do end up going, I might go during the Holy Week (Easter Sunday is April 11) or the week before.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 04:16 am (UTC)
Thank you! (I recognise you from branwynelf)

It was Simon. I figured it out from IMDb. Heh. What did we do before it existed?
I don't see a "Veronica." In fact, I can't figure out who she was...she may have just been "Woman." Ha.
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[User Picture]From: jumbach
2004-03-15 04:19 pm (UTC)
Wow. You, of all people.

I'm still not particularly anxious to see it, for reasons I've previously described. Perhaps on DVD, so I can skip the gory parts.
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[User Picture]From: talonvaki
2004-03-15 05:35 pm (UTC)
Considering even my downstairs neighbour asks me what movies he should see, it'd be bad for my street cred as a movie afficianado to not see the most talked-about film of the century (so far), just because I didn't happen to agree with the source material or the content...

If that were the case, I'd not have seen any of the LotR triple threat.

Since I'm meant to be some sort of small time "resource," I can't just see movies I know I'll like. I need to see the ones people want to know about, so I can tell them what I thought.

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. And now, it's done, and I never have to suffer through it again. It's kind of like cinematic wisdom teeth...and I survived it without novocaine, nitrous oxide or vicodin!
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