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The Book of Life (1998)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy  |  26 May 1999 (Belgium)
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The end of the millenium has taken on a certain significance in modern day prophecies. What happens if Jesus Christ has second thoughts about the Apocalypse? It is December 31, 1999 and New... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Miho Nikaido ...
Katreen Hardt ...
True Believer
Anna Köhler ...
Hotel Clerk (as Anna Kohler)
Waitress (as Olga Alexandrova)
Computer Wizard
Mormon Thug #1
Mormon Thug #2
Man at Airport


The end of the millenium has taken on a certain significance in modern day prophecies. What happens if Jesus Christ has second thoughts about the Apocalypse? It is December 31, 1999 and New Year's Eve takes on new meaning when the Devil, Jesus Christ, and Christ's assistant Magdelina discuss and debate the end of the world, the opening of the seven seals, and the essence of being human. Written by Tracy <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A controversial retelling of the Apocalypse


Comedy | Fantasy


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 May 1999 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Az élet könyve  »

Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Jesus Christ: My father He is a jealous god. To Him the law is everything. Even today, lawyers are His favorites.
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User Reviews

Provocative and funny
2 May 2001 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

Unable to find a rental, I broke down and bought this film, and am delighted that I did. I've seen Martin Donovan only once before, in Onegin. I thought he was British! Surprise! There are so many great scenes and lines in The Book of Life, it would be impossible and unfair to list them all and I couldn't do it justice anyway. Jesus is portrayed as happy to be back among human beings helpless as they (we) are; he's compassionate, but weary of the job he's been charged to do. Who wouldn't be? And, God's kicked him out of heaven, for some reason which was not clear, or perhaps I missed. Another reason to be weary! Jesus and the devil have it out in a most amazing scene. Listen carefully, there are some great lines that are almost thrown away. I have one complaint that has to do with a common and incorrect reading of Scripture. Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. She was possessed by demons which Jesus cast out, but she was NOT a prostitute. That was another woman.. .

This was also my first Hal Hartly film, and while I loved the antics, and interesting movements of the actors, the soundtrack, (P.J. Harvey singing "To Sir With Love" in the record store with music blasting in the background!) I was a little put off with the "ethereal" camera work. It definitely worked for certain moments, but I felt that it was somewhat distracting, and I wish this technique had been used a little less. I'm one of those whose optical nervous system can't handle broad sweeps or quick, jerky movements of camera work. Otherwise I give this film top rating, and am a new Hal Hartley fan.

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