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7 March 2004

More on the Gibson flick

I had another thought about Gibson’s cartoon Jesus film.

At the end of the film, as we see the Resurrection portrayed, the stone
creaks, and light passes over the walls of the tomb.  Then we come
to the body, wrapped in burial cloths, lying on a stone table. 
The clothes deflate and collapse, and then we pull back and see Jesus
sitting next to the table.  In the background, a drum-backed
triumphal sort of theme starts.  Jesus looks forward, and then he
stands.  He walks out of the tomb, and we can no longer see his
face, but we are privy to his hand, and there is a hole in it that we
can see through to his leg.  Then we fade to black.

Some of the undergrads in my dining hall were making fun of this scene
the other day, saying that it’s almost as if Gibson were leaving
himself room to make “J2: The Return.”  And they’re exactly
right.  The last scene of the film exactly follows that action
movie motif — it’s less Resurrection than it is Terminator or Lethal

But I have been struck at how much the film relies upon pretty standard
Hollywood visual motifs (in addition to the classical anti-Semitic
portrayals of Jews and so forth) to tell its story.  It really is
the story of Jesus filtered through an action film.  And just like
with the anti-Semitic imagery and so forth, i wonder how much of it was
unwitting acquiesence on Gibson’s part.  It’s almost as if he did
this without any awareness of the lineages of the various ways of
portraying certain types of events.

Lots of ink has been spilled on how Gibson made his film without any
reference to history, how he portrays Jews, Romans, and so forth. 
But even in the medium in which he’s an expert (I think it’s safe to
say that Mel’s not an expert in ancient Roman or Palestinian customs
and culture), he seems not to recognize what he is doing.

Posted in Rayleejun on 7 March 2004 at 11:57 am by Nate