Friday, January 21, 2005

The Last Temptation of Christ

A beautiful tour-de-force of guerilla filmmaking from a director (Scorsese) who had plenty on the line, at the time of its making.

Scorsese's $7M Biblical tale -- "The Last Temptation of Christ"-- is diligent visual artistry.

At the time of its release, Temptation was marred by controversy.

Revisiting it over fifteen (15) years hence, what a fascinating experience it has been to witness whether its critical stench still clings.

After the viewing, I boldly cast a "no."

Temptation seems to have withstood the rigors of the time/space continuum, and remains yet another in the series of insightful interpretations when Jesus of Nazareth supposedly walked the earth.

But we're not here to preach, nor pontificate -- and carrying on in allegorical splendor -- this surely isn't polemical.

Rather allow my post to serve more as statement on a masterful example of the low-budget filmmaking medium.

T'was said (during the DVD commentary) --> Marty's cast 'n' crew were so "riveted" to the making of Temptation, that many of the "natural accoutrements" professionals would normally expect were simply "dispensed with." (please dispense with my final quotations marks as well -- but as I was writing with flourishes, I figured what the, er, hell).

For instance, there weren't any "actor's trailers." Food was not of "Ritz-Carlton caliber." Plus adding to the "guerilla" nature of the project -- many of the locations were often an hour's hike away. Actors were thus said to have made Jesus' supposed "40-day meandering" a visceral part of their Thespian experience.

Bravo.

Um, several things were tickled within me while viewing:

1) My fascination with the Ancient World.
2) My curiosity with the endless interpretations of the "cruxifiction" and "resurrection."
3) Scorsese's relentless abiding respect for storytelling. (Scorsese looks upon filmmaking as religion. No better way to describe what he does, really.)

As Temptation opened to oodles of controversy, innocent bystanders and hapless blasphemers now have opportunity to view it like they never could way way back in 1988.

But -- golly gee -- and thanks to the wonder of DVD technology, you can too.

-- Chubby aka Earl von Groovy aka Aquiline Nose




1 Comments:

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Chubby?? ;)

Anyway. Haven't seen the movie yet, and wasn't intending on doing so because of second-hand misunderstandings of the plot. I had heard that it actually portrayed Jesus having sex and getting married... sort of like the daVinci code I guess.

But after reading a few really thoughtful reviews, I was able to understand what Scorcese was getting at. Good on him!

As Adam said in a conversation we had, one man's blasphemy is another man's praise. Through these reviews I've read, I've had something of a glimpse of what Scorcese might have been getting at. The video is now on my "to watch" list and I'll come back here and review it when we see it (may be a while - it's a long list!)

 

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