Out of curiosity, and somewhat on a whim, although it ties into the thread and Easter season, I was wondering what you thought of Passion of the Christ.
I was incredibly moved by it, and it somehow made me think of this thread and wanting to revisit it.
Hope everyone had a Happy Easter!
Sorry I didn't see this sooner.
I did see Passion of the Christ in the theater, although, for reasons I won't go into, I was a few minutes late getting to my seat and was distracted a few times during the screening. The movie had already started by the time I was seated, which kind of bummed me out from the get go.
Overall it was certainly a very affecting movie to me, and one I have vowed to see again at some point, although it was (from one viewing, anyway) not my favorite depiction of Christ onscreen. For a full treatment, I'm partial to the Greatest Story Ever Told, and for depiction of the sheer charisma of Jesus and of the power of his message, I still think Ben Hur (Heston version) did it better than any film. Just like I thought Sophie's Choice distilled the horrors of the Holocaust as effectively in two minutes as any 3 hour movie I've ever seen, Ben Hur, particularly in the scene where Christ bathes the face of Ben Hur in water over the orders of the Roman soldier (and by merely standing and facing him causes him to cower away in shame) is goose bump material of the highest order.
That said, I assume you may be alluding to some of the controversy surrounding The Passion. My recollection is that that controversy involved the extended/exaggerated depiction of flogging as well as the depiction of the Jewish high priests as essentially "responsible" for the execution of Christ.
I don't claim to be a real historical scholar on this, but I do think the Gospels and other treatments I've been exposed to over the years support the rough
dimensions of what was depicted in the film, which was that Pilate wanted an excuse not to have to make the decision himself (kind of like Tony with Ralph and Jackie Jr. -- how's that for a Sopranos tie in!), and he was more than accommodated by the Jewish elders, who felt their authority and the survival of Jewish law as they knew it was very threatened by Jesus. They wanted him dead and felt he'd blasphemed sufficiently to deserve that fate. Of course the crucifixion was carried out by Roman soldiers, so there was ample collaboration between Jews and Romans in the execution, as I understand it.
For the life of me, I can't understand why intelligent people of the 20th century would find that history either reason for or incitement to antisemitism. Jesus was at least as threatening to the Jewish establishment as he was to Rome, and so it only makes sense that the fervor to stop him would be felt first and foremost among Jewish leaders. How this is any different from any number of revolutionaries or persecuted persons in history, ultimately meeting their demise in whole or in part at the hands of "their" own people, is beyond me. That doesn't in any way distinguish the Jews of that era from people of myriad creeds in myriad other eras, whether you're talking about the Roman Catholics that put Galileo under house arrest or the Salem puritans that killed teenagers in their own community for practicing what they deemed "witchcraft".
In my opinion, that line of reasoning is how the ridiculous "Christ killer" propaganda used by some to fuel antisemitism should be answered, not by a denial of the basic truth that some of Jesus' Jewish compatriots wanted, and did their part to help bring about, his death. And the other way to answer it, of course, is to remind its purveyors that . . . duh . . . Jesus was a Jew and so were nearly all of the important early Christians. There would be no Christianity today if it weren't for the courage and willingness to die by a small circle of Jews defending the notion that this Jewish guy from Nazareth was literally the embodied son of God.
I just realized that I wrote an awful lot based on the assumption that this controversy was underlying your question about my opinion of the film. I hope I didn't assume too much, LOL, cause otherwise I just wasted your and my time. But to sum up, yeah, I thought it was a very well-made film, one I plan on seeing again, though not my favorite depiction of the Jesus story.