Greece, in the 1920's, is occupied by the Turks. The country is in turmoil with entire villages uprooted. The site of the movie is a Greek village that conducts a passion play each year. ... See full summary »
Greece, in the 1920's, is occupied by the Turks. The country is in turmoil with entire villages uprooted. The site of the movie is a Greek village that conducts a passion play each year. The leading citizens of the town, under the auspices of the Patriarch, choose those that will play the parts in the Passion. A stuttering shepherd is chosen to play Jesus. The town butcher (who wanted to be Jesus) is chosen as Judas. The town prostitute is chosen as Mary Magdalene. The rest of the disciples are also chosen. As the movie unfolds, the Passion Play becomes a reality. A group of villagers, uprooted by the war and impoverished, arrive at the village led by their priest. The wealthier citizens of the town want nothing with these people and manipulate a massacre. In the context of the 1920's each of the characters plays out their biblical role in actuality. Written by
Sarvananda Bluestone <email@example.com>
The same writer wrote "last temptation of Christ" where the Savior and Mary Magdelene played prominent parts too.
Dassin was driven from his country in the wake of the witch hunt.He came to France where he made an estimable film noir " Du Rififi Chez les Hommes "(which does not cut his best American works such as " night and the city" or "brute force" )"Celui qui doit mourir is his second film in seven year ,and although it took place in Greece ,it was essentially made with French money and French actors (Pierre Vaneck,Fernand Ledoux,Maurice Ronet,Roger Hanin,Jean Servais are all first-class thespians),the only important Greek artist being Melina Mercouri (it was the first time Dassin had directed her and he was to marry her afterward).
Unfairly despised in France," he who must die" is probably Dassin's best European work.In a Greek village ,under Turkish occupation ,a bunch of refugees asks for help:they are starving and they would like to settle in the hills ,where they could clear pieces of lands which the inhabitants do not cultivate.But their priest does not agree and he tells them so :they have cholera and they could contaminate us all! In the village they get ready for a commemoration of the Passion:a shepherd will be Christ,a widow,Mary Magdelene ,some other inhabitants ,the apostles...but what's the point of this masquerade,which becomes a farce if some people are dying only a mile from your place?the "actors" take a rebel stand and they side with the refugees.Then the new "crucifixion" is around the corner.The Turks turn into some kind of Romans and their chief some Pilate who can wash his hands without tears.
God gives the stammering shepherd the power of speech.The rich young man gives all he owns to the Poor ...
NB: Joseph Dassin aka Jo Dassin ,the director's son ,who was very famous as a singer in Europa ,in the sixties/Seventies ,appears briefly as a young refugee :you can spot him in the scene when their priest tells his flock he dreamed he saw saint George last night.
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