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Lurking in . . .
"From the darkness, sleeping light." Formerly luminus dormiens. Lux pacis, light of peace.
Quote: "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." --Bill Watterson, cartoonist, Calvin and Hobbes
on the trip: seeing the movie
I believe the torture to that extent really did happen, unlike what other people have said. They may think that not mentioning the torture in the Bible means that Jesus wasn't whipped, beaten, or treated so bloodily. Such torture did happen because human nature is such that we are voracious for blood and gore. Indeed, it is part of what makes us so human. We should not try to be so high and beneficient, that as Mozart said and I paraphrased here, "It sounds as if we shit marble."
People who think that the torture of Christ portrayed to such extent signifies Gibson's, and the modern repressed straight man, obsession with domination and submission would be right to a certain extent. However, I think that much of humanity can claim a certain affiliation with such domination and submission, if they so choose to view such dichotomy.
So everything the critics said about the movie, both good and bad, is right. It is a little obsessed with what Jesus has suffered. It doesn't tell us why Jesus was suffering, because there's little development to explain how Jesus was so controversial. It does portray the Jews as a hateful group for killing our Lord.
In retrospect, it does seem as if Gibson was obsessed with the idea of salvation and the idea of how much Jesus has suffered for us. But it's equally valid that we're not quite sure what the movie is trying to say exactly. It's that reason that I don't consider it a good movie even though I was emotionally moved to it. It would not be considered a great work of art, meaning that we can interpret it in variety of ways, but it'll stand as the icon of Christian literature.
It's not easy for me to make fun of this movie because I actually felt guilt. I actually nearly cried because of such suffering. But at the end, I wondered what it was for. At the end, I saw Jesus eventually rising from the dead, but it seems to have broken the spell. I saw his body mended, though his hands continued to bear the marks of the crucifixion, but I didn't feel it fits.
It seems to lack dialogue, maybe it is trying to say more than its sum. Sometimes, I always complain that characters talk too much, explain too much. Here, I think it explains slightly too little. All I'm getting is minute dialogues that if I didn't know the background, I would have regarded Jesus as simply a person, the Son of God, who suffers far too much the injustices of humankind, the sins of humankind, and the evilness of the Devil.
Knowing the story enhanced the pain and guilt that I felt during the two long hours of the burden and the passion of Christ. Here is Someone who did not want to bear the sins of the people God has ordained Him to do, but he willingly accepts his duty and does so with such passion that he falls in all directions in his progress toward the cross.
My M, though a Buddhist, has watched many Judaism and Christian movies, and she made a point that while in other Christ-centered movie, the suffering of Christ was confined to the last ten or fifteen minutes of the movie, this movie was unique in making the suffering last the entire movie. From the beginning, when He had to deal with Satan and the snake, to the end, when He commended His Spirit to His Father's Hands.
Yet, the final question remains as some critics have charged and a cardinal to the Pope (I don't remember where the link is), "whatever was it for?" It didn't seem to tell why He suffered, just that He did for the sins of humankind. But what are the sins? Where is that that makes people exclaim, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life"?