(K. Brent Tomer),
THE LIFE of Jesus Christ has always been of interest to film-makers. The first feature-length film was released in 1906; by the time of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 blockbuster “The King of Kings” at least 39 movies had already taken on the subject. Many treat Jesus specifically as Christ, but others have focused more on his human identity and explored Jesus’s self-understanding. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”, for instance, questioned if its leading man actually thought he was who the disciples wanted him to be. In a similar vein, Martin Scorsese’s 1988 “The Last Temptation of Christ” (boycotted worldwide and censored in some places) explored the internal struggle between his human and divine natures, with a particular emphasis on the first. Subsequent films about Jesus have continued to approach their source material imaginatively, to the chagrin of the devout. Yet in many ways this is in keeping with the narrative approach of the Gospels themselves, which both recorded and interpreted Jesus’s life.
Three recent additions to the Jesus film canon—“The Young Messiah”,…Continue reading