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Old Feb 15, '12, 11:36 am
Dandelion_Wine Dandelion_Wine is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

I remember when it came out (the movie) and there was a big hullabaloo about it. I didn't see it because of that.

Then many moons later, I was at my buddy's hanging out and he told me it was his favorite movie. Since he had it and I wasn't going to be contributing to anyone's pocketbook by watching it, I did.

Garbage. I wish I had the time back. The Passion of the Christ - now that could change one's life. The Last Temptation of Christ? Eh.
"I think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction." - Calvin
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Old Feb 15, '12, 3:10 pm
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paul11b paul11b is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

how about Jesus of Nazareth? I've never seen that one either, is it good?
Being faithful to God demands a struggle. And it means close combat, man to man-the old man against the man of God-in one small thing after another, without giving in.

-St. Josemaria Escriva
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Old Feb 15, '12, 3:22 pm
Publisher Publisher is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Originally Posted by paul11b View Post
how about Jesus of Nazareth? I've never seen that one either, is it good?
Overdramitized but all in all enjoyable....with nothing to offend conservative Christian sensibilites I would think.

"Jesus" and "Gospel of John" are both entertaining as well.....I saw "Jesus" in the '80's at Century Theaters in San was playing across the street from "The Life of Brian"....
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Old Feb 15, '12, 4:42 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
It's funny, there are certain books, movies, songs, artists, etc. that perennially come up here on CAF, even many years later.
Which is perfectly normal.

Here is a commentary on it by Catholic film reviewer Steve Greydanus:
A few things:

One scene that had religious critics up in arms depicts Jesus sitting all afternoon in a room outside the bedroom of a prostitute (Mary Magdalene), where he can both see and hear her servicing a long queue of customers. The movie’s defenders pointed out that nothing in the scene indicates Jesus is supposed to be moved to lust by what he sees and hears, so why couldn’t a perfect man do what Jesus is represented as doing? Yet even putting aside the question of lust (and of Jesus’ general state throughout the film of apparent obssession with Mary Magdalene), there is still the matter of ordinary modesty; not to mention the obligation to avoid situations that would reasonably give scandal (since Jesus appears to be simply waiting his turn like Mary’s customers).
The better question is: why is Jesus in Magdalene's 'shop'?

In the novel, Jesus at this point has finally decided to go into the Essene monastery in the desert and meet God there, where "[He] shall kill the flesh and turn it into spirit." He originally intended to avoid the infamous hamlet of Magdala, but en route to the monastery, He just found Himself setting foot in the town.
He marched and marched, and his mind wandered. He was running from Magdalene, the whore, to God; from the cross to Paradise, from his mother and father to distant lands and seas, to myriad-faced men, white, yellow and black. Although he had never crossed the boundaries of Israel, ever since his early childhood he had shut his eyes within his father’s humble cottage and his mind, like a trained hawk with golden hawk bells, had darted from land to land, ocean to ocean, screeching with joy. It was not hunting anything, this hawk-mind of his; he had become oblivious of the body, he was escaping the flesh, ascending to heaven—and this was all he could possibly desire.
He marched and marched. The twisting path wound in and out through the vineyards, rose once more, reached the olive groves. The son of Mary followed it as one follows running water or the sad, monotonous chant of a camel driver. This whole journey seemed a dream to him. He scarcely touched the earth; his feet trod his human seal, the heel and five toes, lightly into the soil. The olive trees waved their laden branches and welcomed him. The grapes had begun to shine; the heavy clusters hung down until they reached the ground. The girls who went by with their white kerchiefs and firm, sunburned calves greeted him sweetly: Shalom! Peace!
Sometimes, when not a soul was visible on the path, he heard the heavy footsteps behind him again; a bronze splendor flared up in the air and was then snuffed out, and the evil laughter exploded once more over his head. But the son of Mary forced himself to be patient. He was approaching deliverance; soon he would see the lake opposite him, and behind the blue waters, hanging like a falcon’s nest between the red rocks, the monastery.
He followed the path, and his mind ran on, but suddenly he stopped, startled. There before him in a sheltered hollow, spread out beneath the date palms, was Magdala. His mind turned back, turned back, but his feet, against his will, began to lead him with sure steps to the perfumed hermitage of his cousin Magdalene, to the house which was condemned to the fires of hell.
Thinking that it was God who is making Him go to Magdala (in order to beg forgiveness from Mary before He retires into the desert), Jesus finally allows Himself to be led into town. He follows an Indian nobleman to the courtyard of Mary's whorehouse.

The difference between film and novel is that in the latter, Jesus apparently cannot "both see and hear [Mary] servicing a long queue of customers" (the book explicitly notes that the room is closed, with only sounds from the bedroom being heard every now and then) nor does the narrative focus on it. Rather, Kazantzakis focuses on the customers on the line, who are chatting and eating snacks to pass the time, especially the Indian nobleman (who arrives at the conclusion that life is but a dream and becoming enlightened, promptly leaves). Jesus is more anguished with having to put up with these kinds of men.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 5:08 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

The young nobleman had lowered his heavy eyelids. His upper body swayed slowly back and forth and his lips stirred as though he were saying his prayers. Already, before entering Paradise, he had plunged into everlasting beatitude. He heard the cackling of the partridge, the tickling and the creaking inside the bolted chamber, heard the old woman at the door load her grate with live crabs, which then hopped onto the coals.
This is Paradise, he meditated, overcome with a great lassitude; this, the deep sleep we call life, the sleep in which we dream of Paradise. There is no other Paradise. I can get up now and go, for I require no further joy.
A huge, green-turbaned man in front of him pushed him with his knee and laughed. “Prince of India, what does your God have to say about all this?”
The youth opened his eyes. “All what?” he asked.
“Here, in front of you: men, women, crabs, love.”
“That everything is a dream.”
“Well, then, my brave lads—take care,” interrupted the old man with the snowy beard, who was telling his beads on a long amber chaplet. “Take care not to wake up!”

[...] The time went by. Now and then the slow, gentle clicking of the amber beads could be heard. All eyes were pinned once more on the squat doorway. The old man was late, very late, in coming out.
The young Indian nobleman got up. The others turned with astonishment. Why had he got up? Wasn’t he going to speak? Was he about to leave? ... He was happy. His face was resplendent; a gentle glow patched his cheeks. He wrapped the cashmere shawl tightly around him, put his hand to his heart and lips, and took his leave. His shadow passed tranquilly over the threshold.
“He woke up,” said the youth with the golden rings about his ankles. He tried to laugh, but a strange fear had suddenly overcome them all, and they began with anxious haste to discuss profit and loss, and the prices current in the slave markets of Alexandria and Damascus. Soon, however, they reverted to their barefaced talk of women and boys, and they stuck out their tongues and licked their chops.
“Lord, O Lord,” the son of Mary murmured, “where have you thrown me? Into what kind of yard? To sit up with what kind of men! This, Lord, is the greatest degradation of all. Give me strength to endure it!”
Jesus eventually begins to wonder if the Indian was right - whether everything here is really just a dream.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 5:32 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Again, in the gospels there is an episode in which a crowd of listeners report to Jesus that his mother and brothers have come to see him, and Jesus responds to the crowd, "Who are my mother and brothers? Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and brother" (cf. Mk 3:31-35). The version of this episode in Last Temptation has Jesus saying to his mother "I have no family," and turning his back on her as she breaks down in tears. Is this compatible with basic honor for father and mother — a virtue that Jesus himself emphasized was neglected in his own culture (cf. Mk 7:10-13)?
This is how the scene plays in the film. For the record, this scene occurs in Nazareth, where Jesus' listeners have grown hostile and are driving Him out of town.
Mary comes out of the crowd near him and grabs Jesus' arm.

MARY: Son. Please. Come back with me.
JESUS: Who are you woman?
MARY: You know who I am. Don't you recognize me? I'm your mother.
JESUS: I have no mother. I have no family. Only my father who's in heaven. Get away from me.

He shakes off her arm. She trips, Jesus keeps walking, followed by the disciples. Peter and a WOMAN help Mary to her feet. Peter walks on as Mary and the woman turn back to town.

WOMAN: Mary... why are you crying? Didn't you see them?
MARY: See what?
WOMAN: When he spoke to you, thousands of blue wings, behind him, I swear to you Mary, there were armies of angels.
MARY: I didn't see anything. What good are angels to me? I wanted children and grand-children behind him, not angels.
To be honest, the book isn't any better:
A woman flew out from a narrow street. A purple kerchief was wrapped tightly around her face, covering all but half of her mouth and her large black eyes, which were submerged in tears.
“For God’s sake, don’t kill him!” she cried in her high voice.
“Mary, his mother!” people murmured.
But how could the old men pity the mother at this point: they had become rabid. “Death! Death!” they howled. “He’s come to awaken the people, to incite a rebellion, to divide our goods among the barefooted rabble. Death!”
The opponents had now come to grips. Joseph’s two sons rolled on the ground, howling. Jacob had seized a stone and cracked open their heads. Judas stood with drawn dagger in front of Jesus, allowing no one to approach. Philip remembered his sheep. Unable to restrain himself any longer, he blindly swung his staff at his opponents’ heads.
“In God’s name,” Mary’s voice was again heard, “he’s sick! He’s gone out of his senses. Have pity on him!”
But her cry was drowned in the uproar. Judas had now seized the strongest of the stalwarts and was stepping on him, his knife at his throat. But Jesus arrived in time to pull back the redbeard’s arm.
“Judas, my brother,” he cried, “no blood! no blood!”
“What, then—water?” shouted the redbeard, enraged. “Have you forgotten that you hold an ax? The hour has come!”
Even Peter had grown ferocious, incited by the blows he received. He grasped a huge heavy stone and fell upon the old men.
Mary entered the very center of the brawl and approached her son. She took his hand. “My child,” she said, “what has happened to you? How did you descend to this? Return home to wash, change your clothes and put on your sandals. You’ve made yourself all dirty, my son.”
“I have no home,” he said. “I have no mother. Who are you?”
The mother began to weep. Digging her nails into her cheeks, she spoke no more.
Peter slung his stone. It crushed the foot of the old man with the double hump. The victim bellowed with pain and hobbled away, going through the alleyways toward the rabbi’s house. But at that moment the rabbi appeared, panting. He had heard the uproar and had jumped up from his table, where with face buried in the Holy Scriptures he had been toiling to extract God’s will from the words and syllables. But when he heard the tumult he took up his crosier and ran to see what was happening. He had encountered several of the wounded along the way and learned everything. He now pushed aside the crowd and reached the son of Mary.
“What is all this, Jesus?” he said severely. “Is this you, the bearer of love? Is this the kind of love you bring? Aren’t you ashamed?”
He turned to the crowd. “My children, return to your homes. This is my nephew. He’s sick, unfortunate man; he’s been sick for years. Do not bear any malice against him for what he has said, but forgive him. It is not he who speaks, but someone else who uses his mouth.”
“God!” Jesus exclaimed.
“You keep quiet,” the rabbi snapped, and he touched him reprovingly with his crosier.
He turned once more to the crowd. “Leave him alone, my children. Bear no grudge against him, for he knows not what he says. All—rich and poor—we are all seeds of Abraham. Do not quarrel among yourselves. It’s noontime; return to your homes. I shall cure this unfortunate man.”
He turned to Mary. “Mary, go home. We’ll come presently.”
The mother threw a final glance at her son, a glance of great longing, as though she were saying goodbye to him forever. She sighed, bit her kerchief, and disappeared into the narrow lanes.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 5:53 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Further on:

Nor is it only the portrayal of Jesus himself that is antithetical to Christian thought. Virtually every characterization, every aspect of the film is deliberately iconoclastic, self-consciously contrary to traditional Christian understanding, calculated for shock value. First and foremost is the reinterpretation of Judas Iscariot (Harvey Keitel) as a principled hero, a man who ultimately "betrays" Jesus only because Jesus orders him to do so over Judas’ own tortured objections. When faithful Judas demands to know whether if Jesus himself, were he in Judas’ place, would be able to betray a beloved master, Jesus replies (in a moment typical of the film’s sensibilities), "No, I couldn’t. That’s why God gave me the easier job [i.e., dying on the cross]."

Throughout the movie Judas acts almost as Jesus’ conscience. As the film opens we find Judas patriotically upbraiding Jesus for collaborating with Rome by his cross-making. When Jesus begins his ministry, Judas follows him conditionally, warning him that if he betrays his mission Judas will kill him. Finally, in the climactic scene, it is a stern, prophetic Judas (or a dream-representation of him) that recalls Jesus to the necessity of his dying on the cross.

Once again, there’s nothing wrong with trying to humanize Judas to an extent, or give him understandable motivations. The filmmaker can even make us empathize with him to the point of feeling that we too would be capable of doing what he did. But what he did, in the end, has to be wrong; and Keitel’s Judas never manifests anything like corruption, self-interest, or pettiness. Jesus is the main character and protagonist here, but a case could be made that Judas is the film’s true hero, or at least its most idealized character.
Again, what we see in the film is a typical case of adaptation distillation. In another thread I noted a review of the film (part of the book Scandalizing Jesus? by Darren J. N. Middleton), which pits it against the novel. Middleton observes that Kazantzakis' Judas, while basically the "thoroughgoing Zealot" who tries to rally Jesus to His cause time and again, is most of the time a mere part of the background as Jesus relates to the others. Scorsese, however, dramatically reduces the other disciples "to an amorphous mass of weak and largely inconsequential men" (he never even devotes a lot of screentime to the other disciples, in comparison to the original novel where they occupy a major bulk of the plot), thereby beefing up Judas. Scorsese's Judas has thus become a larger-than-life figure, and by supplanting the Gospel's and Kazantzakis' image of Peter as leader and John as the beloved disciple, becomes Jesus' most trusted confidant and intimate friend - Willem Defoe's Jesus is dependent-submissive only to Harvey Keitel's Judas, sometimes in an even sexually ambiguous manner. Scorsese's Judas is dominant: Keitel's physique, strong voice, and tough-guy New York accent "easily overpowers a rather wimpy-looking Defoe."

It is true that out of all the disciples, Judas is one of the first characters apart from Jesus Himself to know who He really is (the novel begins with Jesus dreaming of a band of Zealots led by Judas searching for "the One" who will save Israel). However, Judas' recognition of Jesus' true identity is somewhat offset by his own personal expectations: he expects Jesus, in true Zealot fashion, to be a Messiah of the sword, one who will crush all the oppressors of Israel by force of arms. This explains why Judas very enthusiastically follows Jesus when He begins to preach "the ax," and why he becomes hesitant to follow Jesus' orders to betray Him to the authorities later. Judas had no trust in death that he could not even think of Jesus the Messiah dying.

Last edited by patrick457; Feb 15, '12 at 6:13 pm.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 6:10 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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We can see this crucial difference in how book and movie treat a single scene.
“Judas,” Jesus answered after a deep silence, “I am now going to confide a terrible secret to you.”
Judas bowed his red-haired head and waited with gaping mouth. “You are the strongest of all the companions. Only you, I think, will be able to bear it. I have said nothing to the others, nor will I. They have no endurance.”
Judas blushed with pleasure. “Thank you for trusting me, Rabbi,” he said. “Speak. You’ll see: I won’t make you ashamed of me.”
“Judas, do you know why I left my beloved Galilee and came to Jerusalem?”
“Yes,” Judas answered. “Because it is here that what is bound to happen must happen.”
“That’s right; the Lord’s flames will start from here. I can no longer sleep. I wake with a start in the middle of the night and look at the sky. Hasn’t it opened yet? Aren’t the flames flowing down? Daylight comes and I run to the Temple, speak, threaten, point to the sky, command, beseech, invoke the fire to descend. But my voice is always lost. The heavens remain closed, mute and tranquil above me. And then suddenly one day ...”
His voice broke. Judas leaned on top of him in order to hear but could detect only stifled breathing and the rattling of Jesus’ teeth.
“Go on! Go on!” Judas gasped.
Jesus caught his breath and continued. “One day as I was lying all alone on the top of Golgotha, the prophet Isaiah rose up in my mind—no, no, not in my mind: I saw his entire body in front of me on the rocks of Golgotha, and he was holding a goatskin sewn up and inflated, and it looked just like the black he-goat I met in the desert. There were letters on the hide. ‘Read!’ he commanded, stretching out the goatskin in the air in front of me. But as I heard the voice, prophet and goat disappeared and only the letters remained—in the air, black with red capitals.”
Jesus lifted his eyes into the light. He had turned pale. He squeezed Judas’s arm and clung to him. “There they are!” he whispered, terrified. “They’ve filled the air!”
“Read!” said Judas, who was also trembling.
Panting, Jesus began hoarsely to spell out the words. The letters were like living beasts: he hunted them and they resisted. Continually wiping away his sweat, he read: “’He has borne our faults; he was wounded for our transgressions; our iniquities bruised him. He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. Despised and rejected by all, he went forward without resisting, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter.’ ”
Jesus spoke no more. He had turned deathly pale.
“I don’t understand,” said Judas, standing still and shifting the pebbles with his big toe. “Who is the lamb being led to slaughter? Who is going to die?”
“Judas,” Jesus slowly answered, “Judas, brother, I am the one who is going to die.”
“You?” said Judas, recoiling. “Then aren’t you the Messiah?”
“I am.”
“I don’t understand!” Judas repeated, and he lacerated his toe on the stones.
“Don’t shout, Judas. This is the way. For the world to be saved, I, of my own will, must die. At first I didn’t understand it myself. God sent me signs in vain: sometimes visions in the air, sometimes dreams in my sleep; or the goat’s carcass in the desert with all the sins of the people around its neck. And since the day I quit my mother’s house, a shadow has followed behind me like a dog or at times has run in front to show me the road. What road? The Cross!”
Jesus threw a lingering glance around him. Behind him was Jerusalem, a mountain of brilliantly white skulls; in front of him, rocks and a few silver-leafed olive trees and black cedars. The sun, filled with blood, had begun to set.
Judas was uprooting hairs from his beard and tossing them away. He had expected a different Messiah, a Messiah with a sword, a Messiah at whose cry all the generations of the dead would fly out of their tombs in the valley of Joshaphat and mix with the living. The horses and camels of the Jews would be resuscitated at the same time, and all—infantry and cavalry—would flow forth to slaughter the Romans. And the Messiah would sit on the throne of David with the Universe as a cushion under his feet, for him to step on. This, this was the Messiah Judas Iscariot had expected. And now ...
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Old Feb 15, '12, 6:11 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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The movie treats this scene in this wise:
Jesus: You are the strongest, aren't you? Of all my friends, you're the strongest.
...Judas, my brother, l've something to tell you. I have a terrible secret from God. You know why I came to Jerusalem?
Judas: Yes. This is where the revolution is going to begin.
Jesus: Last night Isaiah came to me. (flashes back) He had a prophecy; I saw it written. It said: "He has borne our faults, he was wounded for our transgressions, yet he opened not his mouth. Despised and rejected by all, he went forward without resisting, like a lamb led to the slaughter. "
Judas: ...I don't understand. (smiles at Jesus)
Jesus: Judas, I am the lamb. I'm the one who's going to die.
Judas: Die? You mean you're not the Messiah?
Jesus: I am.
Judas: That can't be. If you're the Messiah, why do you have to die?
Jesus: Listen. At first, I didn't understand---
Judas: No, you, listen! Every day you have a different plan! First it's love, then it's the ax, and now you have to die. What good could that do?
Jesus: I can't help it. God only talks to me a little at a time. He tells me as much as I need to know.
Judas: We need you alive!
Jesus: Now I finally understand, All my life I've been followed, by voices, by footsteps, by shadows. And do you know what the shadow is? The cross! I have to die on the cross and I have to die willingly.
The removal of these traits, as well as the pushing of the other disciples in the background, made film Judas the straight man, an idealized hero (as Mr. Greydanus calls him), who seem to refuse to hand Jesus over simply because it conflicts with his sense of justice.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Originally Posted by paul11b View Post
Has anyone seen a movie where William Dafoe plays Jesus called the last temptation of Christ?
Blasphemous garbage.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 6:23 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Originally Posted by Publisher View Post
Overdramitized but all in all enjoyable....with nothing to offend conservative Christian sensibilites I would think.
The conception of Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth is a story in itself as well.

Pope Paul VI was having an audience with British media mogul Sir Lew Grade to congratulate him on his TV series Moses the Lawgiver (1974) - Jesus of Nazareth's forgotten elder brother - which Grade co-produced with Italy's main TV channel RAI. The pope expressed his wish at the end of their meeting that Grade should do the life of Jesus next. Grade (who, for the record, was a Russian Jew by birth, born on December 25! ) thought it an interesting prospect and agreed. Of course he needed to have his wife remind him of it, but a fortnight after the meeting the head of RAI asked him what they should next do together. Grade then replied without hesitation that they were going to do 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

Franco Zeffirelli was slated as the director, and was given orders to make the film as such that it does not offend anyone, though that did not prevent the program from coming under criticism from some circles when it was first released: some Fundamentalists led by Bob Jones III (of Bob Jones University), who had not seen the film, immediately denounced it as blasphemous, all because Zeffirelli had told an interviewer from Modern Screen that the film would portray Jesus as "an ordinary man—gentle, fragile, simple". Jones apparently leapt to the conclusion that the portrayal would deny the divinity of Jesus. As a result, about 18,000 letters of complaint were sent to General Motors, which had provided $3 million of the film's cost. Sacrificing its investment, GM backed out of its sponsorship.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 6:55 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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To continue:

Then there’s John the Baptist (Andre Gregory), who is oddly much older than Jesus and doesn’t seem to know him, though they were cousins of some sort. John’s ministry in the wilderness resembles a hysterical-ecstatic Pentecostal revival meeting, with John striding maniacally about spouting dark Old Testament apocalyptic (nothing of his actual themes of repentance or the kingdom of heaven), while people gibber and shake and inexplicably stand around naked.
This is really the part of the film which I did not understand: the naked people who hysterically wave their heads or are having epileptic seizures while John is preaching. Needless to say, this was an element which was invented by the filmmakers.

But it is true that John in the novel and film preaches about divine justice filled with fire and brimstone, what the work calls "the ax." This is part of Kazantzakis' reorganization of Jesus' ministry into three parts: he has Him first talking of God's mercy and love, then upon meeting with John the Forerunner and being tempted in the desert (which here is placed well quite after Jesus begins formally preaching in public) He is handed "the ax" and thus focuses on divine justice and judgment, and then upon arriving at Jerusalem His goal is now to sacrifice Himself by dying on the cross.
The heat was roaring and the south wind which blew from the Dead Sea carried a heavy stench of rotting carcasses. Jesus now began to hear a wild, hoarse voice. Now and then he was able to distinguish a few words: “Fire ... ax ... barren tree ...” and then, louder: “Repent! Repent!” All at once a large multitude burst into shouts and wailing. Jesus went forward slowly, craftily, as though approaching the cave of a wild beast. He pushed aside the reeds: the noise increased. Suddenly he bit his lips to prevent himself from screaming—for there he was, standing on his reed-like legs upon a rock which rose above the waters of the Jordan. Was this a man, a locust, the angel of Hunger, or the archangel of Revenge? Wave after wave of bellowing men broke upon the rocks—Ethiopians with painted fingernails and eyelashes, Chaldeans with thick brass rings in their noses, Israelites with long greasy sideburns.
Frothing at the mouth, the south wind shaking him like a reed, the Baptist was shouting, “Repent! Repent! The day of the Lord has come! Roll on the ground, bite the dust, howl! The Lord of Hosts has said: ‘On this day I shall command the sun to set at noon; I shall crush the horns of the new moon and spill darkness over heaven and earth. I shall reverse your laughter, turn it into tears, and your songs into lamentation. I shall blow, and all your finery—hands, feet, noses, ears, hair—will fall to the ground.’ ”
Judas strode forward and took Jesus by the arm. “Do you hear? Do you hear? Look! that’s how the Messiah speaks! He is the Messiah!”
“No, Judas, my brother,” Jesus answered; “he who holds the ax and opens the way for the Messiah speaks in that way, but the Messiah does not.” He bent down, broke off a sharp green leaf and passed it between his teeth.
“He who opens the way is the Messiah,” the redbeard growled. He pushed Jesus in order to make him emerge from the reeds and show himself.
“Move ahead; let him see you,” he ordered. “He will judge.”
"Who is oddly much older than Jesus and doesn’t seem to know him." Yes, there is no explicit mention of Jesus' and John's degree of relation in the book or the film, though if we go by the book, it would be more correct to say that John is uncertain whether Jesus is really the promised One. And for the record, there is nothing in the book to imply John's age, only that he was wizened, having "reed-like legs," a "fiery head," and a "gnarled neck."
The Baptist’s back was turned. He felt the vehement stare ransacking his entire body, grew angry, swung completely around and half closed his two round, hawk-like eyes in order to see better. Who was this silent, motionless young man dressed all in white and staring at him? Somewhere, sometime, he had seen him. Where? When? He struggled in agony to remember. Could it have been in a dream? He often dreamed about men dressed similarly all in white. They never talked to him but simply stared and waved their hands as if greeting him or saying goodbye. Then the cock of the dawn would crow and they would turn into light and disappear.
Suddenly the Baptist, still looking at him, cried out. He remembered: one day at exactly noon he had lain down on the bank of the river and taken out the Prophet Isaiah, written on a goatskin. All at once stones, water, people, reeds and river vanished; the air filled with fires, trumpets and wings, the words of the prophet opened like doors, and the Messiah stepped forth. He remembered that he was dressed all in white, thin, gnawed by the sun, barefooted and, like this man, he held a green leaf between his teeth!
The ascetic’s eyes filled with joy and fear. He tumbled down from his rock and approached, stretching forth his gnarled neck.
“Who are you? Who?” he asked, his terrible voice trembling.
“Don’t you know me?” said Jesus, advancing one more step. His own voice was trembling: he knew that his fate depended on the Baptist’s reply.
It’s him, him, the Baptist was thinking. His heart thumped furiously and he could not, dared not, decide. Once more he stretched forward his neck: “Who are you?” he asked again.
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus answered in a voice sweet yet complaining, as though he were scolding him. “Haven’t you read the prophets? What does Isaiah say? Forerunner, don’t you remember?”
“Is it you, you?” whispered the ascetic. He put his hands on Jesus’ shoulders and examined his eyes.
(Minor trivia: the film's dialogue at this point makes it appear that Jesus is the one who sees the dream of a man in white, who in the film is apparently John.)
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Old Feb 15, '12, 7:11 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

And now for the film version:
John: (shouting loudly amidst loud music and sounds of wailing) "Behold! I will raise up evil against you out of your own house, and I will take your wives, before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun.
"You may listen and listen again, but you will never understand. You may look, but you will never know. These people's wits are dulled. Their ears are deafened and their eyes blinded, so they cannot see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, so that they may turn and be healed.
"The Lord of Hosts says: 'On this day I shall make the sun to set at noon...'"
Judas (while John is speaking): He sounds like the Messiah.
Jesus: No.
John (cont.): "...I will crush the horns of the new moon, and I will spill darkness over the world. I will reverse your laughter, turn it into tears..."
Judas: Go in front. Let him see you.
John (cont.): "...fall to the ground. Listen, it is the thunder of many peoples..."

Jesus walks slowly toward the Baptist, who has his back turned to Him.

Jesus (voiceover, while John continues to shout): Even from behind, I knew I had seen him before. Where? Was it a dream? was. But in the dream, he was dressed in white.

John: "...You will have a smell of decay, and branding, instead of beauty. Your men shall fall by the sword, and your women shall sit on the ground, stripped bare--" (suddently turns to Jesus) Who are you?
Jesus: Do you recognize me?
John: (pauses) Who are you?
Jesus: Do you know the Prophets? What does Isaiah say?
John: He says, "Prepare the way of the Lord." Are you telling me that's you?
Jesus: I don't know, tell me.
John: (looks around; the loud music and the wailing is muted, leaving only the sound of the water, but the people still dance, wave their heads and have epileptic seizures as usual) Why are you here?
Jesus: To be baptized.
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Old Feb 16, '12, 4:44 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Originally Posted by patrick457 View Post
Again, what we see in the film is a typical case of adaptation distillation. In another thread I noted a review of the film (part of the book Scandalizing Jesus? by Darren J. N. Middleton), which pits it against the novel. Middleton observes that Kazantzakis' Judas, while basically the "thoroughgoing Zealot" who tries to rally Jesus to His cause time and again, is most of the time a mere part of the background as Jesus relates to the others.
Whoops, a little authorial misattribution there. The book is edited by Darren J.N. Middleton, but the particular article (Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ: A Critical Reassessment of Its Sources, Its Theological Problems, and Its Impact on the Public) is by Fr. Lloyd Baugh, S.J. Here is the exact quote about the disciples (pp. 177-178):
Kazantzakis devotes a major part of his narrative to Jesus' disciples, much amplifying the individual and varied vocation narratives in the Gospels, carefully developing the personalities of each of them and representing how Jesus relates to them individually with care and respect. In the extended vocation narratives, there is much rich dialogue, very human but also pointing to God. The disciples form a community and learn from Jesus the Master. For example, in one memorable scene Kazantzakis has the disciples recall Jesus' baptism and speculate about the possibility of his being the Messiah, and he has Peter identify the descending dove as the Holy Spirit. Later, Jesus commissions the disciples to preach the good news, and when they return, Jesus welcomes and reassures them. [footnote 22: Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. Peter Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1960), 287, 348, 360-61.]
Scorsese radically shifts Jesus' relationship with his disciples. First of all, Jesus does not call the disciples individually by name. On the shore of a lake, Jesus, flanked by Judas, who, in a bizarre reversal of the biblical protocol, has already chosen him, stares intensely at the sons of Zebedee as they clean their nets. They immediately leave everything and follow him. This group vocation by hypnosis is humanly and theologically unacceptable. Then, as Jesus and the first disciples walk across the countryside, Scorsese, clearly wanting to telescope time, edits in a series of lap dissolves to demonstrate the power of Jesus to attract followers. Scorsese might have better saved time elsewhere. The result of his lap dissolves is to shift the critical biblical representation of the call to discipleship into evangelization by magic and cinematic effects. Here there is no question of personal call and response, no question of human liberty, and certainly no question of grace. Then for the entire film, Scorsese's disciples–"small-minded, spineless men,...insubstantial" [footnote 23: Connelly, Scorsese: An Analysis, 130.]–remain an almost indistinct mass, with apparently little contact among themselves and no significant contact with Jesus. The interior conflict that Scorsese gives Jesus is "a solitary struggle that never goes beyond self-scrutiny, not a communal experience to be shared." [footnote 24: Jonathan Rosenbaum, "Raging Messiah: The Last Temptation of Christ," Sight and Sound 57, no. 4 (Autumn 1958 [sic; should be 1988]): 282.]
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Old Feb 16, '12, 5:07 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: the last temptation of Christ

Originally Posted by paul11b View Post
how about Jesus of Nazareth? I've never seen that one either, is it good?
If you're asking my personal opinion, yes Jesus of Nazareth is one good Jesus film out there. I gotta warn you that it's very long though: in its full version, it has a runtime of a little over six hours. (It was originally broadcast as two 180-minute episodes.)
Some viewers find Robert Powell's rather stiffly ultra-divine, non-blinking blue-eyed Jesus to be a bit distracting, but the other characters I feel are well-acted, and the attention to detail is very good.

As mentioned earlier, there was this little incident with Bob Jones before it was even broadcast, but it AFAIK soon became one of the most popular Jesus films there are, to the point that Robert Powell's face has become for many people the definitive face of Jesus.

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