In the Christian tradition, this is Holy Week. Even if we did not know this from looking at a calendar, it would become apparent when looking through the television listings – movies and documentaries about the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, plus “Biblical epics” both classic and new.
Most are familiar with the obvious seasonal choices, such as The Passion of the Christ (2004). Recently, the airwaves have bombarded viewers with promos for The Dovekeepers on CBS and A.D. The Bible Continues on NBC. Then there are the classic grand-scale epics like The Ten Commandments (1956).
For many years, my seasonal habit has been to read, listen to, and/or view The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in some form. Although it is an allegory, I have enjoyed its telling of the Easter story since I was a child.
The book can be read as originally published in the UK or its slightly altered version released in the US. There is an unabridged audiobook (narrated by Michael York), as well as two recordings of radio theatre adaptations. There are three films: the 1979 animated version (Children’s Television Workshop), the 1988 BBC version (which was followed by Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair) and the more recent version in 2005 by Disney/Walden Media (followed by Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). Additionally, I am aware of at least five stage adaptions (including a musical).
I would recommend the C.S. Lewis classic in any form.
Switching track now to review a film I stumbled upon this week. While looking through available seasonal viewing on Amazon Instant Video, I found the independent film Savior among those free for Prime members.
Click here: Savior (2014)
To view a two-minute trailer:
Written and produced by local congregation members from Freedom Church in the U.K. This 50 minute film sets the Christmas story against the backdrop of 21st century England. The last few minutes (at 45:25 on the counter), it shifts to telling the Easter story with the use of a voiceover, which the film also employs in its introductory segment. In my opinion, these portions are the best writing found here and worth viewing even if you fast forward through the middle.
For an independent film, it is quite well done. Bringing the story into a modern context will at times make you chuckle, but the device is effective in causing the viewer to see that these events could truly happen. You see the strain on the relationship of Mary and Joe, the representation of social strata, what pressure and power look like in a modern political climate, etc. Setting it in Britain, where there is both elected government and a royal family, gave context to Herod’s concern of being overthrown by the King of Kings.
I watched this film twice in the past week for free on Amazon – and then ordered a dvd copy for my home collection.
Here is an excerpt from voiceover at end:
“The Savior of the world in the form of a baby. Looking at His beauty and fragility, it was hard for them to believe that this was the one they had all been waiting for. But they all knew it to be true. They all knew that this child would grow to be the hope for all mankind.
To change the world, you don’t need to be the strongest or the wisest, the bravest or the most qualified. All you need to change the world is to be willing – willing to accept the call. God uses normal people to make a difference in this world. He uses those with an ordinary present to make an extraordinary future. …
That baby grew to be a man, a man who was assigned to rip mankind from the jaws of darkness, a man who was called to fight death in exchange for our freedom. He came and lived a life of defiant faith, triumphant justice, and ferocious love. But to free man from the power of sin, to save mankind once and for all, there was one more thing He had to do. …
Finally, a way has been made. His name is Jesus Christ and He is the Savior to all mankind, now and forever.”
Until next time.