by B.J. Delas Armas
on 2/28/2004 12:28:00 PM
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Passion of The Christ: You Can Spell Myth with All of Jesus' Wounds
Nope, I'm not gonna do it. Not going to hate on it just because it was a religion movie, and then proceed to slam religion like Randy Savage on Hector "Macho" Camacho. Pero, I'm also not going to hate on it because I also actually didn't hate it, probably because I watched looking at how Mel Gibson would portray this as a reality. And along this search for reality I was trying to figure out one thing: why people have gotten so lost in the movie's violence and how that violence has made such robots of people.
Violence has been the constant attention-getter in this movie from what I've seen and heard. Ebert said it was one of the most violent movies he's ever seen. It is what has made non-Cata-holic Mowrio Galdamez watching it as if it were some other violent thriller like that House of a Thousand Corpses or whatever that trippy shit Rob Zombie made, want to see it again. Representing Cata-holics, I seen Cressa's
blogs and both seem horrified by it and both have a new respect for Jeebus.
But Mellie Mel didn't even do this physical violence the best or even first. I thought other movies (of which I sadly can't name) shown to me at Loyola, all-male Catholic High School of Los Angeles, my junior year were more gruesome and disgusting, geared to emphasize suffering (plus I had watched a movie detailing the physiological torture Jesus might have gone through). The focus on the physical suffering that he went through worked on me inducing emotions of sympathy and a newfound respect for Jesus. So the shock of physical violence didn't fly at all in drawing me in towards this movie.
So a variety of emotions and reactions all attributed to physical violence. Violence in the movie was cool, violence in the movie induced sympathy and respect, violence induced anger.
Violence violence violence.
It was so natural in the movie. And in the bigger picture it's as if violence was so natural in that particular era and area. And I strongly question that.
Well hey from an entertainment point of view, violence in movies is still the most direct way to get the message across, I guess. And here's how violence in this movie does its work: Mel brought us to an "animalistic" and "primitive" and "savage" world driven by this physical violence and torture that gets away from the "comfortable" world of order and civilization created by humans. The violence in the movie goes in contrast to whatever we've seen in real life. So the violence then in this world in the movie is something natural like breathing. And you feel trapped and suffocated in it.
Adding fuel to the unviolent human's/civilian's fire (in the mind of course), Mel's black/white division of the world did a good job of amplifying those against Jesus as extremely "primitive" and "savage" and Pontius Pilate and other Christians as an innocent bystander. It was as if they ALL passionately hated him and ALL reacted in the same way (it got me wondering if they all hated him so strongly. I would have to ask exactly why they'd react so strongly). It has the effect of intensifying the mood and just promoting crap.
Yep, this violence was meant to induce sympathy and respect and love, etc. for Christ. And when a movie is meant to do something other than portray reality it has the effect of biasing the movie and making it thus making this work about God seem more artificial.
As Artificial. Human-made. That's the way to watch this kind of a non-fiction movie so you don't get bogged down in it. The main question I pose is would this movie be so moving and touching had it not been for this violence and brutal world portrayed by Mellie ? Would it be "oscar-worthy" as some on basketballboards.net
Hell, no I fucking think.
Such a passionate fuckin' movie, and figuring out WHAT effects this movie was supposed to bring, I had to wonder exactly WHO this movie was geared towards. Oh would you look at that, I just remembered the previews.
The previews seemed to have white pre-teen-teenager kids in mind. First one was a light-hearted comedy about Christians called Saved ! with Mandy Moore in it. Then some crap about tigers in an "exotic" location like Asia. Continuing this waste of time was some movie about hicks not being allowed to water-ski. And capping off this crappola of white suburbanhood movies is this chick flick with Julia Styles falling for some prince. I was waiting for a movie with some infusion of "minorities" but they don't deserve a lead role in these movies. I guess it set the mood for Melly's Conservative white Catholic point of view movie. I guess those kids were supposed to be freaked the fuck out into loving Jee-bus then, is that right Mel ?
On the surface Mel meant for his story to act as a true/nonfiction story. But as a Catholic and part of a weird sect within it trying to portray to kids, he had to slip in a few of what he believed would help portray this movie. Therefore, I couldn't help but examine this mythifying effect of violence. And the violence seemed to be all it was about.
More on this movie later.
Labels: Spirituality and Religiosity