CINEMASEEKERS      

 
      
 
   INTRODUCTION
 
'PASSION OF CHRIST '
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
COPYRIGHT 2004







 

 

 

 
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (Rev. 5:11 - 12)
 
 
 
CHRIST  IN  CINEMA
 
 
 
"THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" (2004)
  directed by Mel Gibson

We'll start with the most recent effort by Mel Gibson "The Passion of the Christ." Much publicity has been given to the fact that he staked his entire career and his own money on this project, and we on this website openly applaud such actions as well as practice them in our own filmmaking. So it was with the most hopeful expectations that we set out to see this film. Because of the exceptional controversy it has generated even before it opened in theaters, we knew in advance about the graphic violence in the film and how some people in the audience were deeply affected and upset by this violence. Psychologically we were bracing ourselves for a difficult ordeal, which nevertheless, we thought, would serve a far greater purpose of bringing the agony of Golgotha to life in our ever-deadening world. This was our mindset for the viewing of the film.
 
Imagine our surprise then, when the first thing that struck us immediately was just how dead and artificial everything was. From the opening shots of the film (Christ's hand trembling exaggeratingly) to the endless emoting of every nuance by every actor, to the countless, unbearable swellings of the music used to underline the already nauseatingly overdone cinematic points, to the obvious special effects of profuse bleeding  - all felt fake. The staged calculation of it all, the "trying too hard" of the actors and the superb technicians at work, the "white thread" showing everywhere, through the very fabric of the film. It is as if everything died in the hands of this director: the great lighting, the wonderful locations, the acting (overacting) of his actors and, ultimately, the impact of the film. The notable exceptions among the actors were Pontius Pilate (Hristo Shopov) and his wife (Claudia Gerini): both of them conveyed a picture of reserved nobility, which made their characters seem real and significant without that "push" for self-significance. For us personally, the main actor (James Caviezel) never offered any possibility of perceiving him as Christ. The sadistic Roman soldiers simply became cartoonish characters (through no fault of the actors, though, but through the misguided conception of the director). As for the other leads, their continuos whimpering and sentimental emoting bordered on ludicrous at times and completely undermined any sense of the foreboding solemnity of the Event.
 
This is Hollywood, plain and simple. Somewhere in one of his interviews Mr. Gibson implied that his film is anything but Hollywood. The intention may have been there, the financing and the film locations were certainly non-Hollywood, but... to paraphrase that saying: "You can take a man out of Hollywood, but you can't take Hollywood out of a man." The film as a film is solidly mediocre. What characterizes it more than anything is its spiritual deadness. All that blood and guts and gore are there to cover up the lack of spiritual depth and to whip up everything into a state of hysteria, clearly missing the path of any spiritual reflection. 
 
Still, many viewers respond to such coarse and superficial tactics. And if they manage to accept such cinematic artifice as real, and if it helps them to experience the tragedy of Golgotha in a new way, then Syberberg's famous statement "You can't do good things with bad art" might yet be proven wrong. The very element of overexaggerated brutality (if perceived as being real) should help some viewers to question anew: was this hideous death really Willed by God? Or was it brought about solely by the free will of men against the Will of God? Was it not, after all, a senseless, brutal murder, through which no one can be redeemed, but which tragically cut short the real Mission of Christ on earth?
 
To confirm your own deep intuition that that was indeed the case, examine the insights in "The Guilt of Golgotha" and "Behold the Lamb of God, which beareth the Sin of the World" (John 1,29) by Herbert Vollmann.
 
Unfortunately, most viewers come out of the theater in their usual state of unconscious self-intoxication: "To think He did all of this for me!" The idea that Christ came to relieve us of the responsibility to redeem our own sins is one of the most insidious, self-serving lies ever unleashed on humanity. That millions are caught in this comfortable self-delusion is a tragedy of global proportions. And Gibson's film has done its best to reinforce this fatal misconception through the one-sided distortion of Christ's Mission: to the exclusion of His Teaching, he focused solely on the price that barbaric humanity forced Jesus to pay for bringing them the saving Knowledge of Creation. As part of this Knowledge Christ revealed the process, by which every human being can and must atone for his own sins. The Law of Sowing and Reaping is inflexible in this regard, and no one, least of all the Son of God Who came to fulfill the Law, can annul it by taking someone else's sins upon Himself. Those, who support the view of "salvation through crucifixion", justify the unjustifiable and nail Christ to the cross all over again. They stand in opposition to the Will of God, Who sent His Son not to die for us, but to teach us how to live in such a way as to be able to redeem our sins ourselves. Christ's Message contains the Knowledge of all the Spiritual Laws of Creation and through this alone offers the possibility of redemption for mankind. It is mankind itself then that must properly understand and use these Laws in order to achieve self-transformation through self-exertion. Any other approach only breeds slothful, self-satisfied and spiritually-stagnating human beings - a condition, which can be observed today in spades and which proves beyond any doubt that the instant release from all sins is not only a sheer impossibility under the Laws of this Creation, but would not be the right way to help mankind in any case (for without profound self-transformation, new sins would quickly develop in place of the old ones). For a relatively brief explanation of the Spiritual Laws, read "The Laws Governing Creation and Reincarnation" by Stephen Lampe.  
 
Thus Gibson's film has done mankind a terrible disservice. It has once again reinforced the calamitous distortion of the true purpose of Christ's Mission. This is doubly tragic, since this film represented the last chance for many to reconsider their position before the climax of the Judgment overtakes us all.