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Movie Monday: The Passion of The Christ 2004

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The Passion of the Christ Image One
Image Credit: patheos.com

Fifteen years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was The Passion of the Christ, a biblical drama starring Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Monica Bellucci, Claudia Gerini and Sergio Rubini. Directed by Mel Gibson, the screenplay was co-written by Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald. Released February 25, it was based on The Passion of Jesus in the New Testament and Clemens Brentano‘s The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the first volume of his records (notes) from conversations regarding meditations by Anne Catherine Emmerich, a canoness, mystic, visionary and stigmatist. John Debney was composer and cinematographer was Caleb Deschanel (father of Emily & Zooey Deschanel).

IMDB Summary:

The Passion of the Christ focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. The film begins in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus has gone to pray after sitting [at] the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within the city walls of Jerusalem where leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and, his trial results in a condemnation to death.

The Passion of the Christ Image Two
Photo Credit: imdb.com

Quotes
From Roger Ebert:

If ever there was a film with the correct title, that film is Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” The movie is 126 minutes long and, I would guess that at least 100 of those minutes, maybe more, are concerned, specifically and graphically, with the details of the torture and death of Jesus. This is the most violent film I have ever seen.

What Gibson has provided for me, for the first time in my life, is a visceral idea of what the Passion consisted of. That his film is superficial in terms of the surrounding message — that we get only a few passing references to the teachings of Jesus — is, I suppose, not the point. This is not a sermon or a homily but, a visualization of the central event in the Christian religion. Take it or leave it.

David Ansen, a critic I respect, finds in Newsweek that Gibson has gone too far. “The relentless gore is self-defeating,” he writes. “Instead of being moved by Christ’s suffering or awed by his sacrifice, I felt abused by a filmmaker intent on punishing an audience, for who knows what sins.” This is a completely valid response to the film, and I quote Ansen because I suspect he speaks for many audience members, who will enter the theater in a devout or spiritual mood and emerge deeply disturbed. You must be prepared for whippings, flayings, beatings, the crunch of bones, the agony of screams, the cruelty of the sadistic centurions, the rivulets of blood that crisscross every inch of Jesus’ body. Some will leave before the end.

*David Edelstein with Slate Magazine
* Jami Bernard with New York Daily News

Trivia Bits
♦ On February 11, 2008, Benedict Fitzgerald filed a lawsuit against Mel Gibson and the production company Icon Productions, alleging the unfair deprivation of compensation and deception on the overall expense of the film production budget after the blockbuster box office success of the film The Passion of the Christ, including, but not limited to, “fraud, breach of contract & unjust enrichment” seeking unspecified damages.
Jim Caviezel experienced a shoulder separation when the 150lbs cross dropped on his shoulder. The scene is still in the movie.
♦ In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Jim Caviezel spoke about a few of the difficulties he experienced while filming. This included being accidentally whipped twice, which has left a 14-inch scar on his back. Caviezel also admitted he was struck by lightning while filming the Sermon on the Mount and during the crucifixion, experienced hypothermia during the dead of winter in Italy.

Nominations, Awards & Other Accolades


 


 

Weird S*** Wednesday: Ancient Egyptian Statue Moves

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Update:
Moving Statue Mystery Solved

An ancient Egyptian statue appears to have started moving on its own, much to the amazement of scientists and museum curators. The statue of Neb-Senu, believed to date to 1800 B.C., is housed in the Manchester Museum in England, at least for now. But, if the statue keeps moving, there’s no telling where it will end up. “I noticed one day that it had turned around,” museum curator Campbell Price told the Manchester Evening News. “I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. I put it back but, then, the next day, it had moved again […]. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate.”

Neb-Senu Image One
Image Credit: Manchester Museum

The [10in. (25cm)] statue was acquired by the museum in 1933, according to the New York Daily News. The video clearly shows the artifact slowly turning counterclockwise during the day but, remaining stationary at night. This daytime movement led British physicist Brian Cox to believe the statue’s movement is due to the vibration created by museum visitors’ footsteps. “Brian thinks it’s differential friction, where two surfaces, the stone of the statuette and glass shelf it is on, cause a subtle vibration, which is making the statuette turn […]. But, it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before […]. And, why would it go around in a perfect circle?” said Price.

On his blog, Price […] speculates that the statue “was carved of steatite and, then, fired [which] may imply that it is now vulnerable to magnetic forces.” Steatite, also known as soapstone, is a soft stone often used for carving. Oddly, the statue turns 180 degrees to face [backwards], then turns no more. This led some observers to wonder if the statue moves to show visitors the inscription on its back which asks for sacrificial offerings consisting of bread, beer, oxen and fowl.

Neb Senu Image Two
Photo Credit: Cavendish Press &
Stories My Mummy Told Me

None of the proposed explanations satisfies Price. “It would be great if someone could solve the mystery,” he said. But, Paul Doherty (d. 2017), senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, believes the statue’s movement isn’t caused by any supernatural force but, by something quite ordinary…vibrational, stick-slip friction, sometimes called stick-slip vibration. As Doherty told LiveScience, “[If] the glass shelf, on which the statue rests, vibrates even slightly, […] the vibrating glass moves the statue in the same direction, […] causing it to turn around.” An everyday example can occur when someone uses an electric blender on a kitchen countertop […]. The vibration of the blender can cause a nearby coffee cup to walk across the countertop.

But, why would the statue stop moving after turning 180 degrees? Doherty believes the statue stops turning because it’s asymmetrically weighted […]. “One side of the statue has more weight than the other side,” [Doherty said]. After turning around on the shelf, the statue’s uneven bottom reaches a more stable position and stops turning. Besides the footsteps of passing museum visitors, the source of the stick-slip vibration “…could be some trolley that goes by during the day or a train that passes during the day,” Doherty said.

Marc Lallanilla
LiveScience
June 24, 2013