I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that filmmaker Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors in cinematic history and has given us some of the most brilliant movies to ever grace both the small and the large screen. He’s a master storyteller, a visionary who excels at being able to pull the best performances out of the actors who work on projects with him, and he’s done a lot with some of the most legendary thespians the industry has ever produced.
He’s most well known for his gangster films, but he’s tackling a very different subject matter in his new movie, which is a movie about the Lord Jesus Christ, which he claims will help change public opinion concerning organized religion. That’s a pretty big statement to make, so he must really have confidence in the story being told.
According to the Daily Wire:
The movie, which is based on Japanese novelist Shūsaku Endō’s book “A Life of Jesus,” was announced last year and is scheduled to start filming later in 2024. The screenplay is reportedly finished, and the movie will have an estimated run time of 80 minutes.
Given how most movies today are well over two hours, with some of the bigger blockbusters hitting the three hour mark, this is refreshingly concise. I miss the days when the average film was only 90 minutes. Longer run times used to be reserved for movies that were truly epic in scope and required the extra minutes in order to tell important stories that required a lot of details.
Scorsese discussed his goals for the project during a Los Angeles Times profile published Monday. “I’m trying to find a new way to make it more accessible and take away the negative onus of what has been associated with organized religion,” Scorsese said of the film.
“Right now, ‘religion,’ you say that word and everyone is up in arms because it’s failed in so many ways,” the 81-year-old filmmaker stated. “You may reject it. But it might make a difference in how you live your life — even in rejecting it. Don’t dismiss it offhand.”
The inspiration for Scorsese taking up the project came from a meeting he had with Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. “I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus,” he remarked about the meeting at the time.
This isn’t the first time that Scorsese has made a film about the Savior. The Award-winning director made a rather controversial film about Jesus called “The Last Temptation of Christ,” which caused quite a stir upon its initial release in 1988.
Eternal World Television Network founder Mother Angelica called the movie “sacrilegious” for its storyline, which depicted Jesus as a mortal sinner like all other people in existence. One of the most infamous scenes shows Jesus (Willem Dafoe) fantasizing about having a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene.
The film includes a disclaimer saying it’s “not based on the Gospels, but upon the fictional exploration of the eternal spiritual conflict,” but that didn’t stop Christians from boycotting the movie.
There’s no doubt this film will produce similar controversy among the faithful, as the source material the movie is based was written in such a way as to appeal to a Japanese audience. The author, Endo, stated that the book approaches the audience with a focus that is more so on the “motherly side of Jesus,” due to Japanese culture having a few of fathers as stern and harsh.
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