*Non-believers need not read this post as it might offend your sensibilities. You have been forewarned.
Anyways, this week happens to be a very special week for Catholics as we are celebrating the Holy Week, the events leading up to Jesus’ establishment of the Holy Eucharist and his death and resurrection. In the spirit of the Holy Week, I’m giving out a list of some recommended films with themes appropriate for the feast days.
The Passion of the Christ: Mel Gibson‘s powerful and controversial account of the Way of the Cross has been standard Good Friday material ever since its release back in 2004. It shows the suffering and death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. Granted, the film’s extreme violence already limits the age group that could watch this film. But the film has more than enough good points than the bad. If not for the message, however, one can still enjoy this film for the visuals, the music, and the inspired performances by its cast.
Jesus of Nazareth: Prior to Mel Gibson’s Passion, Franco Zeffirelli’s epic miniseries about the ministry of Jesus was the standard Holy Week offering. Signature performances from Robert Powell as the Christ, as well as fantastic cameos by Lawrence Olivier, James Mason, and a beautiful Olivia Hussey as the Mother Mary, as well as magnificent production values, make this mini-series the benchmark of all Jesus films to come (prior to the arrival of The Passion).
Ben-Hur: This is definitely one of the best Jesus films which isn’t about Jesus but it is (watch the film, you’ll get it!) type of movie. The immortal Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish aristocrat whose family was sold to slavery for his refusal to cooperate with the Romans in finding the Jewish revolutionaries. Along the way, Judah meets a variety of people, culminating with the memorable Chariot Sequence in the Circus Maximus, as well as his various encounters of Jesus Christ (first when Judah was a slave, and finally during the Crucifixion).
If look real closely, the best exorcism films are not all about the exorcism proper but a journey made by the protagonist to regain his own faith. In both The Exorcist and The Rite, we have two priest trying to regain their faith in God. Sure, these two films may have the same subject matter, but the beauty lies in their presentation of their subject matter: while The Exorcist depicts are slow-burn type of horror, The Rite attempts a more cerebral type of horror in the depiction of the Devil.
Have a blessed Easter, everyone! :)