Tuesday, April 03, 2012
When I was a child, local movie theaters used to show religious movies. And I used to go see them with my mother and grandmother. So in the spirit of the week, here are my favorite religious movies.
1. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW
Director Pasolini was a Marxist and an atheist. So he made this amazing movie that breaks all the rules of religious movies. Shot in a quasi-documentary style with amateur actors, this movie feels as if a camera crew is following Jesus through his preaching years. The movie emphasizes the idea of Jesus as a revolutionary and it works beautifully. The movie score with jazz music in place of bombastic musical themes also make it really interesting.
2.KING OF KINGS
Called "I was a Teenage Jesus" for its casting of Jeffrey Hunter as Christ, this movie by director Nicholas Ray is actually really good. I especially like how it portrays the Sermon of the Mount. And Hunter is good in a really difficult role. Old fashioned, but well worth seeing.
3. BEN HUR
Not really a religious movie, it is more of an action movie set in the times of Jesus. Charlton Heston is excellent as Ben-Hur and the chariot race is still an awesome sight. It puts all CGI sequences to shame.
4.GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
A guilty pleasure. George Stevens' overblown and overlong story of Jesus is so full of cameos by famous actors that it becomes a "spot the star first" kind of movie. Isn't that the guy from "Man from Uncle"? What is Sidney Poitier doing there? With classic John Wayne cameo as a roman warrior "Truly this man is the son of Gawd!"