The Passion of the Christ
I normally don’t post about things like this, but I feel that I should in this case. I’d talked about wanting to see Mel Gibson’s Christ Movie “The Passion” (or whatever the final name actually is, I’ve heard about three different titles for it). I got this email from my wife this morning, who had forwarded me this from someone who attends her old church back in Pennsylvania before we got married. I’ve removed everyone’s email address (don’t need to publish that), but otherwise this is unedited.
It really makes it sound like this movie is powerful, and something not to be missed. I already had plans to check it out, I’ll be checking it out for sure now.
Only question in my mind is how I’ll handle the non English speaking – that’s something that traditionally has turned me off on a movie; because it’s hard for me to understand. We’ll see.
Due to the length of this, I put the review text in the extended entry section of this blog entry. However, I urge you to read it.
From: “Lynn Siegler”
To: “Joe Siegler”
Subject: Fw: GOT TO SEE — “The Passion” movie
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 21:38:30 -0600
we had talked about seeing this movie, thought you might be interested
in reading it. if you scroll down, there are a lot of personal reviews
From: “Oxsana Byczkalo”
To: “Lynn Siegler”
I’ve combined 2 emails I received about this new movie (scheduled to open Feb. 25). There has been a lot of controversy about this film and I think that we all should consider going and showing our support. Showing that a movie such as this can make money instead of all the junk stuff that Hollywood thinks we should get. Hope to see you at the movies (figuratively speaking). Please forward to your friends.
Subject: “The Passion” movie – a review
Thought you might all be interested.
This letter was written by the daughter of James Dobson. It was written after a private screening she and her father had of “The Passion”, Mel Gibson’s movie about Christ’s final hours.
A couple months ago, I had the unique privilege of accompanying my family to Mel Gibson’s studio to see a private screening of his film, The Passion.
Many of you have probably heard about this portrayal of the last 12 hours in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. I can say that The Passion is the most beautiful, profound, accurate, disturbing, realistic, and bloody depiction of this story that I have ever seen! It is truly amazing, and it left all of us speechless for a few minutes when it was over.
Mr. Gibson entered the room during the last ten minutes of the screening, and stayed for an hour to discuss the content and to answer questions. He’s hoping that my dad and Focus on the Family will help promote it, and my dad has (without question!) agreed to do so.
Mr. Gibson expressed a concern about his position in the entertainment industry, and said that this film will affect his status from here on. When asked why he made the movie, he said that he had no choice in the matter–he felt called to the assignment, and he was determined to carry it out. Questions had been raised as to whether he can find a distributor. Asked about it at the screening, Mr. Gibson said confidently, “Oh, I’ll find a distributor!”
The Passion should not be labeled a religious film, or something to be shown only in churches. Compared with examples of recent Christian films, like Left Behind, The Passion is a work of high art and great storytelling. The rough cut I saw contained graphic scenes, including the seemingly endless scourging of Jesus. The crucifixion scene is long, bloody and painful to watch. It’s very disturbing, but it’s also moving at the same time. While I was taking all of this in, I was thinking, “Christ did this for ME, and he would have gone through it if I was the only one in all the world, and the same goes for each person who has ever lived!”
To those in the Jewish community who worry that the film, which is scheduled for release next Easter season (’04), might contain anti-Semitic elements, or encourage people to persecute Jews, fear not. The film does not indict Jews for the death of Jesus. It is faithful to the New testament account. Also, Mr. Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic, does not elevate Mary beyond what Scripture says of her, which will broaden the film’s appeal to Protestants.
The dialogue is in Aramaic and Latin. English subtitles are provided, and they are very helpful in following the story line. A decision about using them in the final version has not been made. My family and I tried to persuade Mr. Gibson to leave the subtitles in, and my dad pointed out that those who are unbelievers (or those who are weak in their understanding) will have no idea of what’s going on in the flashback scenes of Jesus’ life without subtitles.
In The Passion, few liberties are taken with the Gospel account, and the extra dialogue added helps round out the characters without damaging historical or Biblical accuracy.
Satan is cleverly played as an asexual being who at first seems to be an observer in the Garden of Gethsemane (and other scenes), but then becomes a snake slithering between the character’s feet and attempting to wrap itself around the arm of the prostrate and praying Jesus.
The film is an intense two hours. It uses unknown actors, which keeps the focus on the message. By the end of the film (a unique portrayal of the Resurrection), the viewer is exhausted!
Thirteen years ago, actor Mickey Rooney wrote an editorial for Variety in which he said, “The onscreen depiction of religion is less than flattering, and, as a Christian, I pray the era of denigrating religion on screen comes to a screeching halt. And soon.” His prayer has been answered in The Passion. It is a soul-stirring film that deserves wide distribution and viewing.
Its message is not just for Christians, but for everyone. I hope you all will support Mel Gibson’s bold and courageous effort to portray the sacrifice that our Lord made for us. Pass this email on, if you feel led, and be sure to see The Passion when it comes out. Yes, it is a disturbing film, but every person should see this realistic depiction of what Christ did for them!
Blessings to you,
—– Original Message —–
From: Barbara Holliday
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 11:40 AM
Subject: Fw: Passion Movie
To my friends….
I got this today from someone who had it forwarded to them…..and I wanted to share this.
Subject: Mel Gibson Movie
Hello friends and family, Nathan and I wanted to share with you that we were able to attend a private screening of the new Mel Gibson film titled “The Passion Of The Christ” this past Monday night. We unexpectedly got on the list to go and view it at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, TN. Neither of us were really prepared for what we viewed. It’s really hard to find the words to tell you how life-changing this film was for both of us.
First of all, Nathan and I felt completely out of place. We got in somehow through Don Donahue (thankyou Don) but most of the crowd was the Country Music Industry…artists, radio and press. Ricky Scaggs sort of hosted the event.
This movie changed our lives forever. The room was full of the sound of weeping and loud sobbing, including our own. I told Nathan on the way home that I only wish that I would have seen it as a young teen.
It is so fitting that the whole movie begins with a black screen with the text of Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities , the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed”.
I’ve attached an e-mail below from Lisa Bevill who attended the viewing as well. She very beautifully describes the experience of viewing the film and then getting to have a question and answer time with Mel Gibson himself. (PLEASE take time to read it because she goes into great detail about the Q & A time that we had with Mel…it was so cool.)
The room was silent as the movie ended and even as Mel walked down the isle of the chapel people remained completely stunned by the film. After he was formally introduced, everyone stood and applauded him loudly. He so graciously answered each question, and was very candid with us. It was very apparent, though there was a huge absence of “christian lingo” coming from his mouth (breath of fresh air…thank you) that he has a deep relationship with God, he believes that Jesus is the Messiah, and that he’s coming back to get his people.
Mel and his small band of believers around him are asking the church to take on a “grass roots” approach to this film. They are asking us to tell everyone we know about it… They are wanting artists to show the DVD trailer at concerts, to do pre-sales on tickets through churches and FOR EVERYONE TO GO SEE IT OPENING WEEK! It really does matter that you go the first 2 weeks of opening which is FEB.25TH. It is so important!! THIS MOVIE IS LIFE-CHANGING AND I PROMISE YOU IT IS ANOINTED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. THIS MOVIE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
I fell in love with Jesus on Monday night. Either for the first time, or all over again. It is so amazing that the same King who endured that cross and was broken for me, lives inside of me! I am in Him and He is in me. I cannot wait until Noah and Elliana are young teens so that we can t them view this movie.
Please pray for Mel Gibson. Pray for protection for he and his family. Pray that God would pour back on him 100 fold what he spent on this movie so that MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS CAN BE MADE! He spoke about the major warfare that has been going on over this movie. He also told us about several miracles and conversions that happened throughout the making of this film. (Lisa tells about these in the letter below) So amazing…
Anyway, we just wanted you to know about this so that you can have a huge part in the success of this film! Lisa gives out the website info as well below. You can put a link to it on your website and you can also request promotional materials from their website as well.
Blessings to all of you in the name of our Lord! Christy and Nathan Nockels (E-mail from Lisa is below) Hey friends and family,
Last night I attended a private screening of Mel Gibson’s movie….12/8/2003, at Ricky Skaggs’ church in Hendersonville. I attended with Bonnie and Brent King. There were about 200 people in attendance.
Well,….let me just say that I am speechless, moved beyond words and sobered by what I saw last night. I’m sure many of you will be receiving emails from some of your friends who were there as well…and you’ll probably be bombarded with their own personal stories..
There were many country artists as well as Christian artists there, along side some radio and press folks.
The movie was in a rough cut version…but still I thought a very finished state,…special effects had not been added yet, nor was the music complete….still it brought uncontrollable weeping from everyone. I couldn’t stop crying through the whole movie. And when the movie was over, there was complete silence in the church.. I wanted the story to go on and on…for another two hours…. I think the movie was about 2 hours long. It got started late, like around 7:30, and the next time I looked at my watch it was 10:30… so I actually don’t even remember. There was a question and > > answer time with Mel Gibson himself, so who cared what time it was. Every moment of the movie was captivating,..breathtaking….still there are no words.
The beating and suffering of Christ was almost unbearable to watch.
The scenes with flashbacks of Jesus when he was a little boy and a scene of his mother running to comfort him and then cradling him in her arms after he had fallen down about the age of 4 or 5…..was interlaced with scenes of him falling to the ground carrying his own cross, so bloody and unrecognizable…and then her holding him in her arms after he had been taken down from the cross. Her face then stared into the camera while she was holding him…and you could just imagine the things she was thinking. Every parent who was seated near me … fell apart.
The nails being hammered into his hands was the most real thing I had ever seen. One scene of Jesus and the interaction with his mother…just reminded me of every 20-year old man/child and mom relationship. Where she’s trying to get him to come to eat…and has to remind him to wash his hands before eating…she brings water to wash his hands..and after washing, he gently splashes water on his mother..but then wraps his arms around her and kisses her on the cheek….and takes off running to the food.. I don’t know..it just reminded me of something my 15 year old Cody would do to me….. And the thought of one of my boys going through that, just made me want to die inside…
Anyway… I could go on and on….but I truly have no words….as you can tell by the book i’m writing here….haa There was a question and answer period last night with Mel himself. We had heard rumors that he’s been showing up to these screenings. I got brave enough to put my hand up and ask a question about the miracles that we had heard about, on the set. And he began to talk about so many I couldn’t really keep track. I remember hearing about one of the actors being hit by lightning twice yet walking away from it..with only smoking fingertips, healings , conversions on the set,..but I especially remember him talking about a Two-year old child’s, hearing and sight being restored…and he said…you know you can’t fake that when you’re two. So we know it was real.
He was asked about Spiritual warfare on the set…and he just laughingly said…”Oh yeah..just being in Italy alone was enough warfare,..but he said it was intense.
He said that the bad press surrounding the movie..is just a few small pressure groups that are causing all the noise. But seem to have the loudest mouths. And that became the reason for having these small private screenings..is to get the word out and to start a grass roots campaign into a swell. WOW….that sounds familiar. We all get the chance to be Christ’s disciples all over again, in a fresh new way..
Ricky Skaggs asked the final question of the night to Mel…..about how we can pray for him, help him, spread the word etc. He said that “prayer was the most powerful thing. And not to pray for all our enemies to have warts grow on their faces, (laughter), but to pray for our warring angels to fight against satan’s angels, because the people don’t know any better, they are clueless…and they are just being used by satan.”
It was mentioned to everyone in the crowd who were artists, press folks, radio..and such..anyone who had a website…to get on a mailing list and sign up. That they would be sending links, so that everyone could put it on their websites,…there would be movie trailers that artists could take on tour with them, show at concerts….any type of promo material on product tables etc.
They passed out a poster flyer last night as we left…and the official website address is www.thepassionofchrist.com This is the address they have on all promo materials for the movie. It was a little easier to see the trailer on this site….as it was equipped for all computers video capabilities. You can go to this website and register to find out more info on how to help. This other site that is listed will just give you more info on press stuff and more press on the miracles that happened.
The movie comes out February 25, 2004.. Ash Wednesday…in theaters nationwide. And the movie’s official title is The Passion of the Christ. Mel said that he spent 35 million of his own money to make this movie.
Mel,.. I have to say is a man of the word! He knows the Bible..and is a sold-out believer. He said that this movie has been his passion for the past 12 years….just 3 years ago did the Lord begin to give him landmark signs that now was the time to start filming the movie. He mentioned some of them…but one that stuck in my mind, was him saying that some random little old lady in France I think…came up to him and said something to him that nobody could’ve known, I don’t know what she said to him..but he said the signs to get started on it, were unmistakable.
Ok….well…I know that I am changed…and I pray that what I saw will be etched on my brain forever…and Lord, help me to never forget the price you paid for us all. Whenever I begin to argue, or complain….shut my mouth Lord. And help us all to remember,…we are not home yet…that heaven awaits all of us who believe in Him….and that we all have a part to play, a heart to share, a burden to carry..and a story of love and hope to spread.
Thank you for the cross LORD! Make it a point to take your entire family to this movie!!!!