The Virgin Mary delivers a message to an 11-year-old girl.


4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Blackout (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A debauched Hollywood movie actor tries to piece together one wild night in Miami years earlier which remains a drug-induced blur, and soon finds out that some questions about his past are best left unanswered.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Matthew Modine, Claudia Schiffer, Béatrice Dalle
'R Xmas (2001)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A New York drug dealer is kidnapped, and his wife must try to come up with the money and drugs to free him from his abductors before Christmas.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Drea de Matteo, Lillo Brancato, Lisa Valens
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A New York film director, working on his latest movie in Los Angeles, begins to reflect the actions in his movie and real life, especially when he begins an affair with the lead actress.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Madonna, James Russo
Go Go Tales (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A screwball comedy centered on a Manhattan go-go dancing club, where a financial struggle between the owner, his accountant and his silent partner brother threatens the business's future.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Bob Hoskins, Matthew Modine
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Chelsea on the Rocks celebrates the personalities and artistic voices that have emerged from the legendary residence, the Chelsea Hotel, in the heart of New York. Once considered an ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Ira Cohen, Gerald Busby, Stanley Bard
Pasolini (2014)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A kaleidoscopic look at the last day of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1975.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Maria de Medeiros, Riccardo Scamarcio
Cavalcade (2005)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

An accomplished playboy Leo neglects his girlfriend and enjoys parties. His girlfriend parts from him and then, when he wants to see her once more, he has an accident. He survives, but his ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Suissa
Stars: Titoff, Marion Cotillard, Richard Bohringer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Luca Lionello, Salvatore Ruocco, Benedito Sicca
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Disheartened after the shocking event that took place in his firm, a compliant and committed employee, loses the ground under his feet and revolts.

Director: Fabienne Godet
Stars: Olivier Gourmet, Dominique Blanc, Julie Depardieu
Edy (2005)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An insurance salesman turns into a walking catastrophe himself. First film by Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, starring Philippe Noiret and François Berléand.

Director: Stéphan Guérin-Tillié
Stars: François Berléand, Philippe Noiret, Yves Verhoeven
The Addiction (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A New York philosophy grad student turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her new lifestyle and frequent craving for human blood.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra
Fair Play (2006)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

There are rules for fair play in sport; these are not adhered to always. But there are no rules for fair play at work, in life or when faced with life and death.

Director: Lionel Bailliu
Stars: Benoît Magimel, Jérémie Renier, Eric Savin


Cast overview, first billed only:
Marie Palesi / Mary Magdalene
Ted Younger
Tony Childress / Jesus
Elizabeth Younger
Brenda Sax
Johanna, Mary's follower (as Emanuela Iovannitti)
Chiara Picchi ...
Angelica Di Majo ...
Alex Grazioli ...


Three characters linked by the mythical Maria Maddalena - Mary Magdalene... Tony Childress, an infamous, egotistical and obsessive actor/director is playing the lead role of Jesus in his controversial new film THIS IS MY BLOOD. When the shoot wraps, Marie Palesi, his lead actress, is left alone in Jerusalem, drained, empty. 'Selfless'. Into the void within her is poured the spirit of Mary Magdalene, and Marie embarks on a profound journey towards enlightenment. Meanwhile, in New York City, tv journalist Ted Younger begins his own quest for spiritual truth through his documentary about the life of Christ. When the premiere of Tony's film becomes the target of bomb threats by the vengeful religious Right, the lives and paths of these three characters come dramatically together. Written by Jason Grimshaw

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It takes courage to walk in the truth.


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


| |

Release Date:

11 November 2005 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Maria  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vincent Gallo was originally set to play Tony Childress/Jesus. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Resurrection of Ferrara
13 October 2005 | by (Here and There) – See all my reviews

The latest film by Abel Ferrara, "Mary", was without doubt one of the most eagerly awaited films of this year's Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix.

"Mary" will of course be linked to two other big 'relegious' films of the moment: "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Da Vinci Code". However the film stands firmly on its own merit.

"Mary" can easily be read as "Ferrara's reply to Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ"", a film which made great impact culturally and indeed commercially, like one of the summer blockbusters of 2004 in the United States. However "Mary" does not derogate from the sulfurous tradition which characterizes the films of Abel Ferrara since the beginning, and as such his film is significantly more intellectually provocative than Gibson's film, if slightly less approachable.

While giving us a completely revolutionary vision of the character of Mary Magdalene, the director questions the cult of spirituality, while once more questioning his faith with a rare humility.

"Mary" takes as it's starting point the now almost mythical Mary Magdalene, disciple of Jesus. The film then evokes three characters bound by her spirit and her mystery... Marie Palesi, an actress, who is playing Magdalene in a film. Tony Childress, a director who is playing Jesus in his own film. Ted Younger, a celebrity journalist, creating a TV show about religious faith. Between fascination and spiritual search, destiny will join these three together.

Before Ferrara's "Mary" was even thought of, Juliette Binoche had already been approached to play Mary Magdalene by the historian Jean-Yves Leloup who translated the "Gospels according to Mary Magdalene" and was working on a dramatization. At the time, Binoche declined this offer. Today it is partly thanks to her and Jean-Yves Leloup that "Mary" exists. The historian's dramatization forming the film within a film. Due of this thoughtful and rich background "Mary" does not rest only on one simple "reaction" to the vision of Mel Gibson.

The character of Tony Childress (Matthew Modine), director, playboy and megalomaniac seems partly inspired by Mel Gibson but also by Ferrara himself - or his reputation at least. Tony is brilliant in his art but hopelessly poor in life.

The message conveyed by "Mary" is subversive in that the film questions the basis of the mystic Judeo-Christian teachings while approaching what can be regarded as one of the more taboo questions of religion, namely the integration of the female into the Divine Word. From this point of view, "The Passion of the Christ" failed and was even symptomatic of the commonly allowed representations of women in religion, namely the worshiping mother, Mary, and the prostitute, Mary Magdalene and the choice to entrust the role of Satan to a woman, while the Word belonged fully to a man - Jesus. On the contrary, Abel Ferrara, who bases his film on the Gospels discovered in 1945 and in particular on the texts credited to Mary Magdalene herself, provides us with another vision of Magdalene as the chief disciple. He thus returns to the female figure the capacity to spread the Word, which women were dispossessed of through the centuries.

The film opens with Mary Magdalene (Juliette Binoche) directly after the resurrection. The film is warm and glowing. Then Tony Childress (Matthew Modine) yells cut and the audience is plunged into the reality of the film. After the shoot finishes Childress prepares to return to New York. However his leading actress Marie Palesi (Juliette Binoche) is so affected by her role that she reuses to go with him. Instead she abandons her career and goes to Jerusalem in search of the true Magdalene and resolution for her faith.

Back in New York Ted Younger (Forest Whitaker) approaches Childress to appear on his spiritual TV show. Younger's life is a mess, and although his work has lead to his questioning of faith in his personal life he does no such thing. Instead he blatantly cheats on his pregnant wife (Heather Graham). Childress' film "This is My Blood" has caused controversy with the far right and the Jewish lobby. The premiere is threatened with violence. Younger manages to contact Palesi in Jerusalem and creates a telephone confrontation between her and Childress on his show. This confrontation has major implications for all three.

The history of Mary Magdalene, such as it is suggested by the extracts of Childress' film, is put at the same level as those of Marie, Ted and Tony. However, it ends up rising above theirs since its message will touch each one of them successively. The director films much in darkness and closed places - cellars, studios, a car or an empty apartment - leading an atmosphere of oppression, supported by a throbbing musical score. At times this darkness is contrasted with beams of illuminating light. Rather than being a trite visual allusion this leads to a revelatory sense of change.

The acting is sensational, Juliette Binoche seems literally inhabited by her roles - both as Magdalene and Palesi. She goes from serene to distraught to serene again. Forest Whitaker delivers an upsetting performance and proves once more that he is one of the best actors of his generation. Finally the performance of Matthew Modine is cerebral and emotional work, difficult since he could easily have become a caricature of Gibson or Ferrara.

"Mary" is successful in the aim to embrace the complexity of the religious faith. Wiser seemingly than usually, Abel Ferrara delivers a fundamentally subversive work. The film conveys a deeply human message with universal vocation which does not require faith in order to be understood or appreciated. In fact the film can be simply be read as a religious horror film - without the devil.

52 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Venice Film Festival jolka777
MARY on dvd in october.... St_Anus
Gretchen Mol? vsilver89
American Release? Sccrream97-1
Ferrara still has the religious monkey on his back? St_Anus
Is this a short film? I hope not! Sergio-OC
Discuss Mary (2005) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: