Re: The Passion of the Christopher

From: Dace (
Date: Wed 05 May 2004 - 22:01:44 GMT

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    > From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > I had to remind myself that the thread began with a forwarded piece from
    > Christopher Hitchens hence its title...
    > <In Time magazine's cover story last week, theologian Susan
    > Thistethwaite
    > > calls The Passion a war movie. She said it's the most violent movie
    > > ever screened. It may be one of the most violent movies ever made,
    > > period.>
    > >
    > I haven't seen it yet, so I shouldn't really comment, but I doubt
    > this very much indeed. Is it bloodier that Kill Bill, or Ichii the
    > or Boxcar Bertha, or untold numbers of what became know as video nasties
    > the UK in the 1980s (Driller Killer, Cannibal Holocaust etc.)?

    These films show a lot of violence alright, but it's all on the surface. You see a random killing of a character you haven't gotten to know, and you've barely registered it before the next victim comes along. Gibson's film is different. Here you have a total focus on one person who is systematically humiliated, tortured, and murdered over an extended period of time. I doubt there's ever been a film that so obsessively records one person's violent death. In this sense, it takes movie violence to a new level.

    > <Apparently, when the subject is Jesus, it doesn't matter how
    > violent a movie
    > > is because it's automatically holy. So you can get away with anything.>
    > >
    > Surely the opposite is the case- the violence has been criticised
    > far more than in other films precisely because the subject is 'holy'?

    If the subject hadn't been Jesus, the criticism might have been far worse. Of course, the whole thing would have seemed completely senseless. People would have thought Gibson had lost his mind focusing so exhaustively on one person's suffering and slaughter. But there's a very good reason for fixating on the crucifixion of Christ. Gibson and many others identify with Christ, and in focusing so obsessively on Christ's victimization, they reinforce their own personal feelings of victimization. The point of this bloodfest is to reinforce our sense of ourselves as good and righteous and kind, while the alien other only wishes to torture and kill us in return. A classic narcissistic sleight-of-mind. This is a meme that propagates on the basis of cultural narcissism, particualy endemic in the US.


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