[quote="Joe_5859, post:13, topic:273670"]
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. :D
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.