NOV 15

JESUS

Directors: John Krish, Peter Sykes. Cast:  Brian Deacon, Rivka Neuman, Alexander Scourby, Niko Nitai Joseph Shiloach. Run Time: 117 minutes. 2007.

There have been numerous movies made on the Jesus story and the Bible over the years. Jesus stands out among these in a unique way. Compared to the mega budget Hollywood spectacles, this film is made on a comparatively small budget and is focussed on a single Gospel—The Gospel of St Luke. Luke’s narrative is chosen for its comprehensiveness and historical perspective and completeness compared to the other Gospels. The Good News Bible (Today’s English Version) was used for the film. Most of the film’s dialogue comes from Luke. In the three decades since its production, it has been translated into over 1600 world languages and stakes a claim to being the most widely watched film in history (about 5 billion viewings in many languages around the world).

The film follows Luke’s narrative closely, with imaginatively visualised scenes to contextualise Jesus’ teachings, his choice of the disciples, the journeys, the miracles, his confrontation with the Pharisees and the Jewish authorities and, finally,  the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. The movie is good for Gospel study groups and catechists. Some additions were done to the original version in 2002 in an attempt to make it more relevant and contemporary. The new complete movie begins with a prologue covering the Old Testament events from Creation to Abraham’s sacrifice and references to the prophets regarding the coming of the Messiah and his historic mission. There is also an epilogue that focuses on the faith value of the story.

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ROMERO

Director :John Duigan. Cast: Raul Julia, Richard Jordan, Ana Alicia, Eddie Velez, Alejandro Bracho, Tony Plana, Harold Gould Lucy Reina as Lucia, Al Ruscio. 1989. Run time: 105 minutes.

The Blessed Oscar Romero of El Salvador is known around the Catholic world as one of the great modern martyrs of Latin America.  As bishop of San Salvador, he was the most outspoken critic of the brutal dictatorship that held the country in its vicious grip and smothered any attempt to bring peace and freedom.The movie covers the three critical years of Romero’s life beginning with his appointment as Archbishop. Initially deemed acceptable to the establishment as a conservative, apolitical and moderate, his experience with the government and the  cruel realities of  oppression and exploitation of the poor by the military and its stooge government of the rich, turns him into an open critic of the government. He advocates free elections, freedom of organisation, land reform, and human rights. He reaches out to the poor and stands up to authorities. He notes how the elections are subverted by intimidation and terror. Peaceful citizens are abducted, tortured and shot, girls and women raped and even children are murdered in the crossfire between the left guerrillas and the military. A church is vandalised and turned into a military barrack. He fearlessly opposes this and offers mass even after the gunmen destroyed the altar and the tabernacle. One of his trusted priests is tortured and murdered. Romero writes to the American President to stop arms supplies to El Salvador because these are used against their own people. He is dubbed as a communist by his enemies. But he makes it clear that his stance is that of a man of faith and has no sympathy for Marxism. In his last pubic speech, he makes an open appeal to the military saying “Brothers, each one of you is one of us. We are the same people. The farmers and peasants that you kill are your own brothers and sisters. When you hear the words of a man telling you to kill, think instead in the words of God, ‘Thou shalt not kill!’ No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the Law of God… I implore you! I beg you! I order you, stop the repression!” The next day, while celebrating Mass, Romero was shot dead. Soon afterwards El Salvador plunged into a decade long civil war that cost the lives of over sixty thousand citizens.

 

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Dr.Gigy

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