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Mel’s Movie gets Focus on Family Thumbs up

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Perhaps you have heard about Mel Gibson’s new movie, “The Passion.” He co-wrote the script, directed and produced the movie, which depicts the final twelve hours of Jesus’ life. The kicker: the movie is performed entirely in Aramaic and Gibson wants no subtitles.

According to this article, Mel took the movie to Colorado Springs last week to get the support of the Focus on the Family people. They, of course, were star struck and offered their enthusiastic endorsement. They did suggest he keep the subtitles, which were provided on the version of the movie that he screened for them.

I, for one, am excited to see this. I realize that it will likely not be found in local theaters, but it should be worth the effort to seek out a copy. As for subtitles or no subtitles, that is what DVDs are for. Mel should release the theatrical version however he wants and then include the option of subtitles on the DVD. I would probably watch it the first time without, and then all other times with.

But all in all, Mel seems to be an impressive Man of Faith who takes all of this very seriously. A staunch Catholic, He attended Mass every morning while making the film because he, “had to be squeaky clean just working on this.” Here is the money quote from the article:

“I’m not a preacher and I’m not a pastor,” Gibson said. “But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize.”

That seems to be uncommonly evangelical language for a Catholic, and more so for a big star, but I find it quite refreshing to hear such a mainstream, a-list, Hollywood star talking like that to reporters. I’m sure the backlash is inevitable. Soon the buzz around this movie will become too strong for the media to ignore and Mr. Gibson will be painted as a fanatical fundamentalist. It is a dern shame.

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About Nathaniel

  • The backlash has already started…

  • Why is it a dern shame if, by chance, is the truth? I’ve believed that about Mel Gibson was a fundielike Catholic fanatic for a very long time, and he and I come from the very same heartbreaking religious tradition. (While he was making movies, babies, and anti-GLBT comments, I was teaching religious education and fighting the ‘phobes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.) Save for using the F-word while “acting,” the enemy to Zero Population Growth walks and quacks like a fundie…

    I am not inclined to see his film, which is a shame, because if almost anyone else were at the helm, I would. But I am NOT a Gibson fan. My antipathy for him keeps me away from the movie theater if one of his flicks is the featured attraction. (If a Gibson preview is shown, I leave the theater and return when it’s over. I just can’t stand Mel Gibson; I don’t care if he’s Australian and handsome. I am not parting with my 10-spot if any portion of it goes to him. Better to go see Hugh Jackman in X2: X-Men United again.) Number two, if Focus likes the movie, you know it has to suck royally, at least for my people. (YMMV.) In fairness, however, people should not criticize the film unless and until they see it.

    BUT… I like the idea of the film being in Aramaic. Maybe the fundies will follow Dr. Dobson’s advice and flock to see it — and maybe they will finally learn that their scriptural interpretation is marred by mistranslations, as many respected theologians report.

  • Contrary to rumour, the film apparently will be released with subtitles. Here’s a report from a blogger claiming to have watched a rough cut of the film.

  • Gibson’s passion and obvious burning conviction promise a real, serious artistic statement, not some mish-mash focus-grouped crowd pleaser.

    I’ve never managed to sit through even one of the Lethal Weapons films, but I’ll be highly interested to see what he’s come up with.

  • Laurent Écrivain

    While I personally think that Gibson is a good actor and I respect his belifes, after hearing now that he is a devout fundamentalist with a rather archaic pre-reform version of Catholicism and, if what they say is true, having outspoken opinions that are more than politically incorrect about women and gays and his film being approved by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, I question if I really like him anymore.

    Normally I lose respect for actors who become “born again”, especially when their once decent acting work now moves towards an evangelistic agenda. Remember Kirk Cameron? Once a fun actor to watch, now his last films are about the bloody Rapture called Left Behind.

    Sure, sure, you can say that it’s better than him turning into a broke, drug addicted hasbeen, but now he’s an evangelical hasbeen.

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