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The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ (1906)

La vie du Christ (original title)
The life of Jesus Christ in 25 scenes.

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The life of Jesus Christ in 25 scenes.

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Short | Biography | Drama

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January 1907 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This early extravaganza film used had over 100 extras and in 1906 was the biggest hit that French filmmaking had ever seen. It was Gaumont Film Company's big blockbuster. See more »

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Title Card: The Night Watch
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A beautiful and well-paced portrayal of the life and passion of Christ
15 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This 33 minute take on the life and passion of Christ by Alice Guy came out 3 years after the 45 minute film on the same subject by Lucien Nonguet and Ferdinand Zecca. It is not stencil coloured and the quality of the video I saw is slightly worse than the other one. However, it is, in my opinion, a better paced and than the other one (although each scene is noticeably shorter due to the overall shorter length) and a bit better and more realistically acted. There are differences between the two films and not every scene is present in both. This film also has a bit more in depth look into the Via Dolorosa, reminiscent of the Stations of the Cross in church. It does not share as much of the trick photography, special effects or camera panning as the 1903 film but it is completely satisfactory as is for something out of 1906! One thing I noticed is that in the scene at Golgotha instead of two other large crosses that historically were on either side of Christ's cross with villains crucified, in the film there are two small crosses with no one on them - seems just for the decoration.

Overall, I think the two films, although different in details details, are on par and both are definitely worth watching, if not for the story for some people, than definitely for brilliant filmmaking of the very beginning of the 20th century. It is also interesting to note that even a century ago (and much more so in the middle ages) people invested huge time and effort into religious works of art. This is particularly true for the architecturally beautiful and artistically rich medieval cathedrals and churches, wonderful ornamented hand-written and hand-bound books (which were mostly bibles before book-printing came along), paintings and frescoes that were mostly on religious subjects before the age of Renaissance came along. I guess the story of the Tower of Babylon was still taken seriously and art was dedicated to and for the glory of God. And so, interestingly, the huge efforts that were put in the first early films on the religious subjects speak of the same, i.e. for being so much longer in length than almost any other film of the time.


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