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At the time it came out The Last Temptation of Christ generated a lot of controversy from religious groups, most of whom had not watched the film. Some of the gnostic elements of the film, which suggest that Jesus was tempted by earthly desires such as lust, anger and fear, generated a lot of controversy.The film's final act, which depicts a hallucination that Jesus has while dying on the cross, is widely considered the main source of the controversy surrounding the film. He pictures his life as it would have played out had he NOT died on the cross; namely, it depicts his fathering children first with Mary Magdalene and then Mary of Bethany. The depiction of Jesus as having a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene outraged the film's critics.More can be read about it here.
Yes and no.The film is based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis which itself was based on the stories of the Gospels.There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that explicitly states that the film is not based on the Gospels and departs from the commonly accepted Biblical portrayal of Jesus.Therefore, the film is NOT an adaptation of the Biblical stories of Jesus, but more a religious parable about the struggle between temptations and personal responsibility.
Nikos Kazantzakis, the man who wrote the novel that this film is based on, considered himself an agnostic as he did not subscribe to any religious dogma. However, he was known as a deeply spiritual man who was constantly searching for answers to metaphysical and existential questions. He searched for answers not by becoming a religious man but by traveling all over the world and exposing himself to a variety of opinion, cultures, and religions.Martin Scorsese was raised in a devout Catholic household, but he has described himself as a "lapsed Catholic." He has said that there's no way he could escape his upbringing, and the effect of this upbringing can be seen in all of his films, none more so than this film.
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