another brand-newie: "cruciflicks"
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Sep 29 18:40:32 UTC 2003
No earlier hits on Nexis, or on google (except for one obscure one
turned up in the latter that I can't figure out). It probably won't
have as long as a shelf life as "Iraqification", partly because it's
a plural with no singular. But it is cute, I have to admit.
The New York Times
September 29, 2003, Monday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section E; Page 1; Column 1; The Arts/Cultural Desk
LENGTH: 1133 words
HEADLINE: Appeareth St. John, Quietly, Cautiously
BYLINE: By DANIEL J. WAKIN
And before there was Mel, there was Garth.
A movie about the life of Jesus has slipped in beneath the radar,
opening in four cities on Friday ahead of Mel Gibson's "Passion,"
which has been the subject of
intense debate over its alleged anti-Semitism.
The movie is "The Gospel of John," which was produced by the
Canadian impresario Garth H. Drabinsky and financed by a small
"faith-based media company"
called Bible Visual International Inc. The director is Philip
Saville, a television veteran who has also made features, including
"Stop the World -- I Want to Get
Off" (1966) and "Metroland" (1997). The best known member of the
relatively obscure cast is Christopher Plummer, who narrates.
The Gibson production, which has no distributor, has been attacked
by a committee of Bible scholars who read a version of the script and
said it presented Jews
as bloodthirsty "Christ killers." Mr. Gibson, who is affiliated with
a splinter Catholic group that rejects the modern papacy, has
defended the film as a
reverential depiction of Jesus' final hours and rejects any
"The Gospel of John," while well received at the Toronto Film
Festival earlier this month, has entered the scene more quietly and
will not be released in New
York or Los Angeles.
Its makers have also taken pains to inoculate themselves against the
kind of criticism leveled at Mr. Gibson. They hired a team of
including two Jews, added an explanatory preamble and used a
translation of the Bible that they hoped would avoid problems. The
film's promoters point out
that Mr. Drabinsky is Jewish, and note that by filming the Gospel in
its entirety they can hardly be blamed for writing anti-Semitic
Both "cruciflicks" (Mr. Saville's word) claim to be scrupulously
faithful to the life of Jesus, but there are significant differences.
"The Passion" screenplay is
original, based on the Gospels and focuses on Jesus' final 12 hours.
The characters speak Aramaic and Latin. "The Gospel of John," on the
other hand, follows
the scriptural text to the letter in a mix of British- and
American-accented English. "Every single word is in there," Mr.
Saville said by telephone from London.
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