Two moments in The Duke's life loomed large as he sat down to watch The Passion Of The Christ. One of those flashback moments, when the focus starts to lose its sobriety and one almost hears pop-hits from the period buzzing around one's mind. Or, at least, cover versions of said hits, on account of the rights to the original recordings being unobtainable.
All of a sudden, The Duke was in Dublin, gripping the hand of his Fiancee, The Duchess, as they entered the National Museum Of Ireland.
The reason for our visit was less than high-brow. We were in Dublin, and it seemed like the thing to do. The Duke still drank at the time, and chances are there were spirits in the bloodstream that were less than Holy in origin, but nonetheless, traces of some sort of Religious Emotion started to seep in amongst the nicotine and beer-breath.
There was an exhibition on at the time, a collection of paintings by Titian, the centrepieces of which were, I believe, Ecce Homo and Christ Crowned With Thorns. The Duke was stunned. Up there, in oils and canvas and dulled colours was Christ as he so seldom appeared in public. Not for Titian the blonde-haired, blue-eyed matinee idol, nor the glowing shimmering depictions of The Passion we as a society are so used to. Here instead was a dark, intense and, well, passionate Passion.
And The Duke vowed to one day make a film that told the stories of The Gospel with such stark simplicity.
And then The Duchess said "Stop being so bloody pretentious." And that was that.
But I still bought a postcard reproduction of Ecce Homo before we left.
But what was the other moment, Duke? You definitely mentioned two.
I did, didn't I?
Well, the second was when The Duke sat down one fine day, roughly this time last year, and viewed Gasper Noe's Irreversible. A strange connection you might assume. But no, and here's why.
I had heard so much about the film that it was impossible to approach it with anything less than caution. It was unnerving to even hold the thing in my hand, so much so, in fact, that the first time I purchased it I returned to the outlet not one hour later begging a refund.
But I bought it again, about a week later, and so was now preparing to engage with this mayhem, mayhem that even hardened gore-hound Mark Kermode admitted to shielding his eyes from on occasion.