If Abe Lincoln were to once again borrow from Jesus—but for C-SPAN’s cameras—he might say, “A house divided against itself cannot stand each other.” Partisan rancor is everywhere, leaving a few brilliant minds—Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher among them—to revel in and play with the fray on TV.
The biopic is a film genre that presents itself as history and is received as such by its audience. Jesus biopics, in particular, stake their historical claim on a creedal and harmonious treatment of the Gospels. But, as biblical scholar Adele Reinhartz points out, the Gospels are diverse and present a number of historical problems.
Dinner would have to wait. Eddie Schmidt and Kirby Dick wanted to interview me in connection with a documentary they were making for the Independent Film Channel (IFC), and Schmidt wanted to discuss the church’s relationship to the film industry. It looked like a promising interview. I should have known better.
North America’s largest Islamic organization has elected Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian-born convert and Islamic scholar, as president, making her the first woman to lead any major Muslim organization on the continent.
The myth that sports are racially redemptive makes for formulaic movies. Glory Road feels a lot like Remember the Titans. The films (both produced by Jerry Bruckheimer) show how a team’s drive to win a championship overcomes racial divisions and leads blacks and whites to bond like brothers.
If the increasing number of book titles and Web sites devoted to the subject is any indication, discourse about religion and film has grown markedly in recent years. Many conservative church folk remain suspicious of Hollywood, saving their applause for the occasional epic on the life of Jesus.
Veteran Italian director Ettore Scola begins his latest film, Gente di Roma (People of Rome), by following an older couple going through their morning routine—she preparing food, he dressing for work. Their apartment is small, so one camera covers their movements between rooms. The wife puts coffee on a counter, the husband sips it while she packs his lunch in brown paper.
On the five Saturday nights before the 2003 Academy Awards show on March 23, a young adult group at a large church in Pasadena, California, has been discussing the five Oscar nominees for best picture.