The Last Temptation of Christ

Year: 1988
Studio: Cineplex/Odeon Films
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Paul Schrader
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey
Long before Mel Gibson baited the entire Christian establishment with The Passion of the Christ, Martin Scorsese was up to the same tricks with his revisionist tale of Christ's life and fate.

Say what you like about the cool insider information concerning Scorsese's Catholic guilt and all the subtexts involved, but it's all right there on the screen and I don't believe he intended to bait anyone (although we can never say the same for the publicists).

Willem Dafoe is Christ and the story is straight up. At various times in his life Satan came to him to tempt him from his path, promising him an easy life of riches and pleasures.

I don't know to what extent the Bible says Mary Magdelene and Jesus were connected. I wouldn't believe what the various modern perversions of the original gospels or the scholars who have just as much an agenda in them say if someone told me.

But for Satan to tempt Christ with the simple life of marriage to a woman he loves and children to carry on his legacy and life makes perfect sense, and I didn't see anything upsetting or controversial in it. Unfortunately we live in a world (even more so now - just look at the battle Gibson went through to tell essentially the same story) where any mention of religion, Judaism, children or a million other subjects become hot button political issues in movies.

Without the grandiose scope Gibson's The Passion of the Christ enjoyed because of a presumably much larger budget, it's a smaller, more personal and less epic film, but investigating something so politicised and perverted throughout history as the origins of Christian mythology is an essential task for artists in our times.

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