The Passion of Christ According to Mel

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Locked
Ruiz
Associate
Posts: 320
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Post by Ruiz » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi Cliff!

So it seems both of us have a personal dragon! Maybe if I wrote about mine it would cease tormenting me!

Thanks for being so candid about your response to the movie. I'm wondering if the grandeur of Jesus compassion is going to work for me. It'll be fun letting my little bliss voice talk to me when I subject it to the movie.

I looked up "Ararat" on the web and saw a little video on it. I'm always pleasantly surprised when a movie has a profound effect on me. I always wonder what part of me is laughing or crying. Thanks for suggesting it!

Off to the movies!
Siddha
Associate
Posts: 1310
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Calgary, Canada
Contact:

Post by Siddha » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hey Ruiz,

Give that ol' dragon some TLC and tell me what happens.

I'm curious to hear what you think of these movies, try "Whale Rider" while your at it! :wink:

Cliff
twokay
Associate
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Canada

Post by twokay » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Image

Quite the full moon ..... aye....

Image


Twokay

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: twokay on 2004-03-08 03:07 ]</font>
Psyche
Associate
Posts: 569
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:00 am
Contact:

Post by Psyche » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi everyone,

I am one of perhaps the few who have not yet seen this film. But am convinced that it would be important to see. Until then, I have really enjoyed reading your conversation about it. Everyone has brought up excellent points. After reading the quotes Dragen provided about Mel's own views, it is hardly surprising that his film should not embrace any metaphorical resonance - I am only surmising here based on what I have been reading... please forgive if it is presumptuous. But such a fundamentalist point of view is hardly surprising given current political conditions, and also the history of the development of Christianity.

Oddly we can trace this back to the Medieval era; it was actually quite an exciting time for discussing how to interpret the scripture - how to make literal sense of it all. Slowly, the shift from metaphorical to literal happened: we can also see this in the cathedral sculpture, and manuscript illuminations. The medieval theologians really took pains to try to reconcile what they read into something tangible (some of the most amusing and shocking discussions are focused around resurrection). This was necessary, of course, to maintain control over the interpretations and to deny the individual (pilgrim) a direct relationship with God (...and following their medieval bliss, if ever there could have been...)

Manny's point of Jesus' words: 'the kingdom being here on earth yet man cannot see it' is well taken. Our society has really lost touch with metaphors. Why has this happened? Further, it was noted in one of these postings that the eloquence of truths transmitted through myth and metaphor are ever so much more progressive; so why are they not heeded? (Joseph Campbell has actually addressed this issue in an interview). Why does society (in general) insist on looking backwards when times are in crisis, and think that it is moving forward? (In a bit of an absurd answer to this, I was checking out a Chaos theory/Fractal website the other day. There was a story about how life is like a mountain and 'we' walk backwards up it, looking only at where we've been, rather than where we are going. This is a condition of Time, I suppose, but could be considered meta-metaphorical (!) in terms of ideological development. I am also thinking to Joseph Campbell's comment to Bill Moyers about how disastrous and regressive it is to draw unquestioningly from the past.)

Cheers!
Rev. Day-Bu
Associate
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 5:00 am
Location: at the podium of the church of agnosticism and mytho-psychology
Contact:

Post by Rev. Day-Bu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Ah, my very first post at the JCF!

Well, I hate to be a negative or cautionary voice, but on this topic and at this point, I'm going to be just that.

I, too, am one of those who haven't seen the film. I have, however, been watching people's reactions to it. Unfortunately, very few people are reading the film on a metaphorical level. Most people seem to be taking it as... well... gospel truth!

Outside of the JCF and a few unusually intelligent friends of mine, most people seeing the film are treating the film as a historical documentary film. The question "Was this how it really happened?" is being asked by many, but unfortunately the more important and relevent question--"What does this mean to me?"--is being asked by very few. And I suspect that if we asked most viewers "What does it mean?" they'd most likely rattle off the usual type of literal answer: "Oh, it means Jesus suffered terribly and died for our sins that we might be forgiven..."

One thing that's interesting to me is the aspect of suffering, and how sacrifice is viewed very differently by different people. For examples, the Catholic church has almost a preoccupation with depicting the suffering and blood. In the Catholic tradition, the crucifix is typically presented with Christ hanging upon it, body twisted in apparent agony, his eyes rolled up skyward, and often there is some representation of his wounds and/or bleeding.

Some Catholics will explain this with something like "We need to be reminded of the true extent of Christ's suffering so that we never take Him for granted." Other Catholics will say, "Sacrifice and suffering are beautiful in their own way. Just as death and decay become fertilizer for new life, so sacrifice and suffering lead to new life." And maybe a few Catholics might even say, "We must remember that Christ's suffering is relevent to us today because it is a symbol for our own suffering, and Christ's return should remind us that through whatever suffering and metaphorical 'death' we must endure, we come out like Christ did--stronger, wiser, and more powerful than before."

On the other hand, most Protestant depictions of the crucifix show only the cross, without Christ on it, and no trace of blood or agony. Christ's suffering is certainly appreciated, but the Protestant view frequently is that Catholics tend to place too much emphasis on suffering, bleeding and misery when what we really need to focus on is the joy of knowing that He gave us hope, and that he overcame death and is still alive today. The blood and agony of Catholic crucifices is considered too graphic and gory, and isn't usually something a Protestant believes we should revel in.

I think all of those views have merit, even though they conflict.

And that's why it's interesting to me that Protestants are also going to see The Passion. I wonder how the film's graphic emphasis on pain and blood sits with Protestants? I haven't heard many Protestants comment on that aspect: that the film is geared toward the Catholic appreciation (or perhaps fascination) with the "blood and guts" of the crucifixion.

An atheist friend of mine said that the film appears to be little more than the "slasher film" formula applied to the story of Jesus. A pretty pointed remark, but there's an element of truth to it. I wonder if it bothers Protestants a bit?
_________________
Take care,
Rev. Day-Bu
DaveWard.netRe:zineLife 045


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rev. Day-Bu on 2004-03-08 06:19 ]</font>
kensentme
Associate
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:52 am

Post by kensentme » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2004-03-08 06:07, Rev. Day-Bu wrote:
I wonder if it bothers Protestants a bit?
my mother is protestant and absolutely refuses to see this movie. she thinks its unnecessary to portray the story of jesus in such a violent way. she strongly believes that violence feeds violence.

it's also interesting to note - she doesn't find mel gibson very attractive anymore!
busburban
Associate
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:16 pm
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by busburban » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I've not seen the film but having read numerous crtiques of the it I am still left to wonder what is wrong with people in general. Doesn't anyone question motive anymore? What insecure god would do all this for? Why does a god need all this constant praise coupled with a steady feeling of guilt? Is this the best your god can come up with? Create a world were you must accept infalibility in yourself but expect that all behavior of others be perfect and similar or else eternal pain? I am more disgusted with everyones acceptance of this obviously violent film that is only one of thousands of variations of this story and accepts it as gospel. A tale that is thousands of years old, corrupted by who knows how many and not even written down till hundreds of years after the fact.
twokay
Associate
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Canada

Post by twokay » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Actually I think the real problem is
a typo.....
The actual title reads
"THE PASSION OF MEL"


but the marketers said listen
Mel it sounds alright but its not going
sell......
you need something with gusto....

so......

and now you know the rest of the story....


twokay

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: twokay on 2004-03-08 09:52 ]</font>
MasterYoda
Associate
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2002 3:47 pm

Post by MasterYoda » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Okay, let’s get something straight. Myth presents a story literally, the plot is literal, but the theme is metaphorical, transcendent of the plot.

The Passion fits that formula perfectly. It presents the myth directly from the Gospels; it’s in the reading of the theme that the metaphor is introduced. Improper concretization does not occur at the plot level, but at the theme level.

Stories of Star Wars, The Odyssey, and King Arthur are all presented literally, but they represent something transcendent of the presentation.

Furthermore, The Passion presents a context for the Gospel accounts, especially the temptation in the garden. The “conversation” between Satan and Christ gives context to Christ’s monologue in the gospels. Yes, it’s an interpretation by the filmmaker, and that’s what a filmmaker is supposed to do.

twokay
Associate
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Canada

Post by twokay » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Okay perhaps....
but what is the message here.....
and is it appropriate towards
giviing a serious message in
an entertainment venue.
Is the film having meaning and
significance or is it simply
entertainment.
And is myth then itself mere entertainment.
If you attribute some of Mcluans methphors
the medium is the message...
How would that apply in this instance.
Or as some have suggested
Is the movie theatre the modern church?

Twokay
Siddha
Associate
Posts: 1310
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Calgary, Canada
Contact:

Post by Siddha » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Wow, lot's of interesting posts!

Parcival - meta-metaphor? You lost me there, I think it is a little too meta-abstract for me... :wink:

Rev. Day-Bu - thank you for your explanation, I never knew that some Catholics saw the suffering of Christ as something beautiful. I have lived for 16 years in Catholic dominant countries and this is the first time I hear of it - thanks!

Busburban - I don't get it either. People revere a God that I'd rather not meet. When people say you will go to hell because you don't wroship this insecure, guilt driven God of ours I think "hell is where I'd like to be on their planet". But on my planet they are in hell because their life is driven by fear, guilt and desire.

Master Yoda, please educate this Paduam Learner. I'm not sure that I'm on the same wave length as you in the idea that the metaphor is presented literaly (or better said has to be). When people see Star Wars they don't think this actually happened. Now a movie can be presneted literaly and be read metaphoricaly, I have no doubt about that, but are you saying it always has to be? One of the problems with this movie is that in my opinion it was marketed as being a historically accurate acount of these events. Initially Mel was not even going to subtitle the movie. I heard many compliments about the clothing they wore, etc.



_________________


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: dragen on 2004-03-08 16:06 ]</font>
Manuel_Otto
Lead Moderator
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 5:00 am
Location: Earth -> USA -> Colorado -> Denver
Contact:

Post by Manuel_Otto » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

MasterYoda wrote...
Myth presents a story literally, the plot is literal, but the theme is metaphorical, transcendent of the plot...The Passion fits that formula perfectly. It presents the myth directly from the Gospels; it’s in the reading of the theme that the metaphor is introduced. Improper concretization does not occur at the plot level, but at the theme level.
In my opinion, nicely stated.

I think that this is a key concept in analyzing "The Passion of the Christ."

To me, there is a distinction between how the myth is being rendered in film and how this film is being marketed. Much of the negative feedback that I am reading here seems to be predominantly fueled by how the film is being used--or might be used--to promote the fundamentalist Christians' agenda.

There have been a few comments regarding flatness of character, narrowness of context, etc., that focus critically on the filmmaker’s crafting of this piece. I can definitely support this argument in places.

However, it seems to be an unpopular approach to review this film from the perspective of how well Gibson rendered the myth as told by the Gospels of the Bible. Aside from the detail of casting non middle-easterners for the principal roles and a couple other minor discrepancies, I think that this was rather well done--especially in light of how many "religious" films, or secular films for that matter, finally view on the silver screen.

MasterYoda's statement above reminded me of how Peter Jackson tasked his production designers to vision their role in designing The Lord of the Rings. He asked them to take on the belief that Middle Earth and its characters really did exist and that the fight for the salvation of all that was good really did happen. He believed, as do I, that Tolkien wrote his books from this perspective. That is why there was so much attention to the minutest of details in those original works. Yet, I don't think that we will ever see Mass being celebrated for the risen Frodo.

Humans are creatures of pretend. The stronger the "reality" of the myth, the deeper the participants may dive into its depths and partake of the nourishment growing from the bottom and many points in between--a true ecosphere of spiritual sustenance. It is very difficult for me to imagine that a fully functioning myth can exist without this quality of reality. This is part of the reason, in addition to a long history of certainty, persecution, and betrayel, why so many of us have problems making traditional Christianity work for us these days: its historicity is flawed in many, many regards. But, you can count on the myth that eventually rises from the rubble of what Campbell called the "terminal moraine" of the old myths fulfilling this need for the Real.

Even Campbell couldn't tell us what the new myth would be. He couldn't even promise that it would take the form that we currently recognize as myth. But he did suggest that it would address the spiritual needs of a global community and that it would be regarded as addressing the fullest scope of Reality that humanity will be prepared to comprehend until the next major shift in its development.

In the meantime, we can continue living our lives, loving who we will, gleaning what wisdom we can from what has been left to us, and counting loops around the earth's axis and its sun.

My best . . . Manny
Siddha
Associate
Posts: 1310
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Calgary, Canada
Contact:

Post by Siddha » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Manny,

I'm still a little lost in the realites of myth. I understand the theory but it still doesn't it in a practical real life sense...

My question is this, is there no difference between: reality in fantasy film vs reality in a pseudo-historical film? For example, this weekend I saw a movie called Ararat which tells the story of the almost succesful extermination of Turkish Armenians by the Turks. The main plot of the story is that their plight gets told in a movie within the actual movie. At times one get's wrapped up in the historical account only to have the camera pan back and show the crew. While the story was presented as a "story" I still got wrapped up in it much more than the passion.

Also if for example I made a movie about the holocaust and decided that it didn't happen how we tend to believe it did, let's say no jews are killed they were just slapped around, or I exagerate it and make it look like all jews around the world where persecuted and exterminated in the most violent manner I could, but made very other detail as realistic as possible. Would I not be responsible for the message that was getting out.

I don't have anything against graphic violence in the right context. My beef (one of many) is using an event that occurs in only one of the four gospels as historical fact to get a specific agenda across. How real the details are has little to do with it.

In LOTR the detail is essential because it is all fantasy. I think when the event you are using has some bearing in history it has to be treated diferently.

Donho
Associate
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2002 5:00 am
Location: [email protected]

Post by Donho » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The "Passion" is one subject I have some references in.
In 1967 Jacques Isorni published a book entitled: "The true trial of Jesus" He was a prominet lawyer, Roman Catholic and legal histiorian in France. On the basis of legal and historical research, Isorni maintained that Jesus was condemned and crucified under Roman law as an alleged leader ofthe guerrilla war against the Roman occupation, and not because he claimed to be the son of God. He said it was not because the local Jewish priesthood wanted him executed for claiming to be the son of God. Isorni asserted that the Jews never took Jesus' claim to divinity seriously and regarded him as an imposter.
The biggest complaint I have is that it undermines the years of work put forth by so many prominent and inspired leaders whose efforts at reconcillation have been blunted.
Thank God for Joseph Campbell.
OliveBranch
Associate
Posts: 228
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2003 3:15 pm

Post by OliveBranch » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I wonder how many people watched this film and now feel that they were there in the times of a real character called 'Jesus'?

I wonder if Mel was trying to make us feel that all this really happened as written in the bible?

I am wary of people who try too hard to convince me of something as they generally are having some issues believing it themselves. Could this film just be about Mel Gibson having a crisis of faith?

Any psychologists in the audience ????
Sydney Joseph Campbell RoundTable Leader
Locked