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Mary Magdalene (2000)
"Gli amici di Gesù - Maria Maddalena" (original title)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | History  -  24 April 2000 (Italy)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 119 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

When the marriage between AMOS and MARY MAGDALENE turns out to be childless, he casts her out and gets a divorce. Mary has to leave Magdala. She befriends SILVANO, a Roman prefect, who ... See full summary »


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Title: Mary Magdalene (TV Movie 2000)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Massimo Ghini ...
Giuliana de Sio ...
Nathalie Caldonazzo ...
Susanna (as Nathaly Caldonazzo)
Imanol Arias ...
Ichrak Berraoui
Ismail Ben Ibrahim ...
(as Ismail Ben Brahim)
Alain Aswani


When the marriage between AMOS and MARY MAGDALENE turns out to be childless, he casts her out and gets a divorce. Mary has to leave Magdala. She befriends SILVANO, a Roman prefect, who promises her a new life at his side. A few days after her departure Mary meets the prophet JOHN THE BAPTIST, whom Silvano suspects of being a revolutionary. The prefect tells her to cultivate John more intensively. In this way Mary becomes acquainted with the teaching of the coming Messiah, and it begins to interest her. To protect John from the Romans she pretends to Silvano that he is harmless # but when the prefect finds out that how dangerous John is in the eyes of the tetrarch HEROD ANTIPAS, he feels he was wronged and purposely tricked by Mary. He casts her out as well. After a suicide attempt, Mary lowers herself to prostitution. HEROIDAS, the wife of Herod Antipas, invites Mary to come to her because of her knowledge of the healing arts. In this way she gets to know SALOME, who later asks for ... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

24 April 2000 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Close to Jesus  »

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User Reviews

Beautifully filmed and "Biblically" interesting....
5 March 2004 | by (Maplewood, MN) – See all my reviews

There are exactly 12 lines in the Bible that mention Mary Magdalene by name. She is said to have had 7 demons cast out of her by Jesus and to have helped fund His ministry. She was also present at the Crucifixion, along with Mary the Mother, and the first apostle Jesus appeared to after His Resurrection. She was asked by Jesus to take a message to the rest of His followers. That's it. That's the extent of what we "officially" know about Mary from Magdala.

Pope Gregory preached a sermon in the late 6th century that merged Mary Magdalene with two other biblical characters: an unnamed "sinful woman" in the gospel of Luke who anoints Jesus' feet with perfume poured from an alabaster jar and dries them with her hair, and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Jesus' friend Lazarus whom he raised from the dead. So common misbelief is that Mary was a repentant prostitute, when in reality she was most likely Jesus' closest apostle.

Raffaele Mertes' 1999/2000 film takes Mary's 12 lines in the Bible and elaborates on them to create a very beautiful, if not historically interesting story. Like with most Bible based films, artistic liberties need to be taken to create a full length movie. "Maria Maddalena" is no exception.

Former Bond girl Maria Grazia Cucinotta makes a wonderful Mary Magdalene, not just physically, but her acting as well. The character she is given to work with is a very angry, revenge hungry woman, set out to avenge her divorce and brutal rape at the hands of Roman guards. Cucinotta's Mary just wants to be loved. She has been betrayed by men and her anger is really the result of hurt. She does an amazing job showing the audience her plea for love using her very expressive eyes. On a personal note, Cucinotta has become my favorite Magdalene in the movies.

The interesting twist to this film, is Mary's connection with Herodias and John the Baptist. No Biblical or historical source has ever linked Mary to the other two, but in film form, it makes for a very beautiful story.

Benjamin Sadler's John the Baptist has now become my favorite interpretation of the character on film. He is the "wild man" we tent to associate with him, without going over the top. He is also VERY compassionate, asking Mary questions of her, not for his knowledge, but for her. He has a kindness in his face and demeanor that I have never seen in the Baptist before. It made knowing the outcome of his fate all the harder.

While I don't recommend using this film as the sole basis for your beliefs about Mary Magdalene, it is in no was a waste of time. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The version I saw, as part of the "Close to Jesus" DVD set, Was partially filmed in English, but dubbed throughout. I'm NOT a fan of dubbing, but it didn't bother me in this film.

Incidentally, "Maria Maddalena" is part of a Biblical trilogy, also containing "Giuda" (Judas) and "Tommaso" (Thomas). The brilliant thing about these three films, is that the same actors play the same roles in all three films, each told from a different point of view. All three movies al available on DVD here in the USA, in the "Close to Jesus" 4 disc set, the 4th film being "Giuseppe di Nazareth" (Joseph of Nazareth), and earlier work by director Raffaele Mertes.

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