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June 1995, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Anton Karl Kozlovic <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 13 Jun 1995 13:49:31 +0930
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi David Desser. Although your comments are partially valid you seem to
have read more into my post than I had intended. I merely wanted to point
out that the cinematic portrayals of Jesus as a Jesus-figure (i.e.,
portrayals of Jesus himself) as opposed to cinematic portrayals of the
Christ-figure (i.e., anyone else who is made to resemble Jesus in any
significant and substantial way, as a redeemer-figure or saviour-figure;
see Father Peter Malone's (1988) _Movie Christs and Antichrists_
Eastwood, NSW: Parish Ministry Publications) frequently portray
Jesus as if he is NOT a Jewish person (some commentators of the time
actually called him "the King of Jews"). Or as if he was not from the
Middle East about 2,000 years ago.
Assuming you accept the premise that he did exist as claimed (i.e., he is
not a fictional character or a medevial invention etc.) and that he was
human, if a very special human (i.e., not a Van Daniken style alien etc),
and that he was of good Jewish stock (or whatever the politically correct
word for describing such persons today is on your side of the world), and
that he didn't have any particular genetic "differences" making him look
atypical for a "man" of his day, and assuming hot deserts are still hot
2,000 odd years ago, then my radical suggestion is that he doesn't really
look like a German or American (whether from the past or the present).
I for one would have difficulty in accepting a Jesus figure who looked
like an Inuit or a Zulu (but I am happy to accept such races/ethnic
identities/nationalities or whatever descriptor or label you like, as a
Christ-figure - just look at ET in ET or Mr Carpenter in _The Day the
Earth Stood Still_ to see alien messiahs).
As far as MASADA goes, I've misplaced my reference for it. Give me some
time and I'll hunt it down for you. The ethnic/racial/national/whatever
split was deliberate to engender a subconscious(?) perception of
"difference." When you don't pick it straight away, there is that
sense of something going on there. Whether the producers should be
praised or condemned no doubt depends upon your politics, your sensitivities
and your standards of aesthetic judgement.
Anton Karl Kozlovic             Email: [log in to unmask]
University of South Australia      Ph: +61 8 302 6251     Fax: +61 8 302 6752
On Wed, 7 Jun 1995, David Desser wrote:
> It was quite distressing to read the post by Anton Karl Kozlovic.  The
> whole issue of "the Jews" as a race should be well laid to rest by now.  It
> should also be needless to point out that there are "Swedish Jews" and
> "American Jews" and "British Jews," "Italian Jews" etc., etc., etc. Thus it
> is absurd (or worse) to oject to the "Swedish,Germanic-looking Max von
> Sydow as Jesus in George Steven's _The Greatest Story Ever Told_ (1965),
> versus the American Jeffery Hunter as Jesus in Nicholas Ray's _King of
> Kings_ (1961), versus the Italian Enrique Irazogui as Jesus in Pier Paolo
> Pasolini's _The Gospel According to (St.) Matthew_ (1964)." One would
> venture to say that at worst, Mr. Kozlovic has badly confused nationality
> with race (though that is also a bit of a simplication)
>   The notion that in MASADA there will be an ethnic division between
> "American actors for Jews, British actors for Romans"! is also absurd,
> though I guess that absurdity belongs to the producers.
> DD
> ----
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