Color of the Cross (2006) Poster

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A story of a black man
klovess12 January 2007
I truly feel bad for the cast/crew that was involved in making this picture. What could have been a wonderfully told legitimate story of Jesus's life turned out to be just a story of a black man. Due to poor writing/directing, the main focus of the movie was that the Romans were after a black Jew. The story of Jesus is just an afterthought. With things like Mary being turned away from the Inn because she was black, and lines by the centurion "you're not black enough" its not hard not to see how poorly this was put together. The acting wasn't too bad, but many of the accents were poor. It sounded like some of them were French and Scottish, lol. The outdoor sets looked like leftovers from a Xena shoot, but were believable. Some of the indoor sets looked like someone's house with sheets draped on the walls. Not professional at all. I can't recommend this to anyone.

Oh, and whats with the "black Jew" having what looked like an acid trip while praying in the garden. His eyes went all wild, he saw 3 moons in the sky, and started thrashing around throwing grass on himself. Bizarre.
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Awful, unhistorical rubbish, don't waste your time.
pjmartinau27 July 2007
It seems the producers of this film thought they needed to alter the Bible in order to make a story that is anti-racist, and promotes racial harmony. Just a pity they couldn't have chosen a story that was actually true and in the Bible (ie., God's judgment of leprosy on Aaron and Miriam for racism towards Moses' black wife).

So was Jesus black, white, or something in between? Who knows, and who cares! - the Bible never tells us, and no early historical records describe him. Furthermore no painting were ever done of Jesus until about 400 years after his death and resurrection - so we may never know what Jesus looked like. All we know is that he was a Jew, who would have looked like Jews of the Middle-East (ie. Yemenite Jews).

The movie alters the reason for Jesus' death by crucifixion, not unlike a joke I have heard about Jesus ("he must have been black because he was lynched by a mob of white Romans"!).

The movie is just lies and propaganda from people who fantasize about Jesus being the race they want him to be.
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Inaccurate and Abominable
romanorum17 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It is awfully obvious that the director and writers did not do their homework as this terrible movie is utterly crammed with inaccuracies. Moreover, the movie demonstrates poor production values, amateurish acting, and a scatter-brained script. Had he been cogitative, the inept director could have used any of the gospels as a screenplay.

Now the original inhabitants of Palestine / modern Israel may have been Hamitic (black-skinned), but the Israelites who left Egypt pretty well wiped out much of the aboriginal population of that first area (Refer to the Book of Joshua in the Old Testment). By the way, God is not human, and so is neither black nor white. But Mary did come from the line of David (Semetic, not Hamitic). Therefore it is hard to imagine that a sub-Saharan African could play the role of Jesus with credibility. But it is the plot of the movie that plays games with the actual events. There is time to point out only a few errors.

The Bible is the source of Christ's passion, and the movie hardly had one legitimate Bible quote. Example: Peter (also a black man in the movie) identified himself as Jesus (to protect him from the soldiers). The movie puts strange words into the mouth of a Roman who says to Peter, "You are not black enough, Jew!" (!) Who researched that? And who researched the so-called love affair between Judas and Mary Magdalene? Note that Jesus never once spoke anything bad against the Romans, and there was no Roman vendetta. Think about this for a moment: Jesus rode triumphantly on a donkey into Jerusalem just a few days before his death. The Romans did not stop him. So What was this Roman manhunt that Jesus ducked to avoid detection? Actually the Bible treats the pagan Romans well. Jesus did not come for them, but for the Jews. If Jesus needed soldiers, He could have summoned legions of angels (as He said). Furthermore, who researched the so-called tension between white and black Jews!? Where is that fable written? Another ridiculous scene: The movie shows Peter holding a knife to Matthew's throat (!) because the latter had implied that Peter was the traitor. Then the movie, contrary to the Bible, had the Romans arrest Jesus. Jesus was in fact arrested by the Temple Guards (Jewish, not Roman). Just read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for the correct information. In fact, just read the Bible. If you like religious movies, see Franco Zeffirelli's "Jesus of Nazareth" for a superior portrayal.

I hope that folks realize that there is a judgment day, and that the spreading of false information about God and the Son may not go well with those who are thus judged.
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COLOR OF THE CROSS (Jean Claude LaMarre, 2006) **
MARIO GAUCI12 April 2011
I had never heard of this and its sequel before the proprietor/friend of the DVD store I frequent mentioned them to me; being a radical and potentially controversial take on Christ's passion and death (nothing less would do after Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE Christ {2004} I guess!), I opted to check them out over this Easter season.

However, I was not impressed: of course, the first two things that are immediately evident is that the protagonist's name has been given its 'correct' Jewish pronunciation of Yeshua (but, then, so did the notorious THE PASSOVER PLOT 30 years previously!) and that he is black (again, this was hardly new: BLACK Jesus {1968} and BROTHER JOHN {1971} – both of which I will be checking out presently – had depicted him as such too...though, admittedly, the events were usually approached in allegorical terms). Incidentally, this is the first time the actor playing Christ has also directed himself(!) – and still, one other novelty here is that Arimathea (pronounced here "Aramithea"!) has become the location where the narrative unfolds!

Anyway, the film presents the familiar story of intolerance, betrayal and sacrifice, with most of the famous characters intact and then some: in fact, here Mary and Joseph (Jesus' parents) are shown as having had other children as well, and they are all affected – in different ways – by his plight. Curiously enough, the film skimps entirely on Christ's trials – jumping from his arrest in Gethsemane (where Jesus' sudden and unwarranted over-emoting is quite jarring, by the way!) to the predictably bloody crucifixion on Golgotha: that said, the version I watched was about 20 minutes shorter than the official running-time of 108 (which, for all I know, may account for this 'missing' segment)!

The film's lack of a reputation suggests that it made no significant ripples when it emerged: the thoroughly amateurish production and deliberately realistic yet low-key nature may equally have had something to do with this.
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Fatal flaw in the first 10 minutes that never gets fixed
rooprect15 May 2015
I wasn't particularly bothered by the racially charged angle this movie takes, nor was I too bent out of shape about the historical inaccuracies. I mean, hey, this is a fictional drama not a documentary. So, much like the masterpiece "Amadeus" which took extreme historical liberties about the life of Mozart yet delivered a creative & satisfying experience, I was hoping to get the same here.

But right in the first 10 minutes, in Jesus's first scene, we encounter what I consider to be a fatal flaw which carries through the rest of the film. Practically the first words out of Jesus's mouth are that he is the son of god, the messiah, and that his Father will take care of things. This is coupled with the actor's portrayal of a stoic, divine hero who is (to quote Amadeus) "so lofty you'd think he sh!tz marble!" Now, Christians, non-Christians and atheists alike, please correct me if I'm wrong. But I thought the one thing we can all agree upon and the 1 thing that defined the essence of Jesus was that he tried to teach the world humility and service. Not pride, for Chrissake! (Oops, sorry, 12 Hail Marys) I don't believe he ever proclaimed himself to be the Son of God (that came later from followers after his death), and like other landmark historical figures like Gandhi and even Mohammed, he made it a point that he didn't want people deifying him or treating him as anything more than a simple human being whose example we can all follow.

"The Color of the Cross" portrays a Jesus who is like a high commander who gives his disciples orders, who is never seen working while his followers put up the tents, cook and clean, and who annoyingly keeps referring to himself as the supernatural Son of God. Again correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the real Jesus wash the feet of lepers to show that he was no better than anyone? To fail at this one crucial point, to me, renders the entire film flawed. It's not about Jesus (whether or not Jesus was the son of God or just a man, doesn't matter) because it fails to portray the 1 thing Jesus was supposedly all about: humanity.

You can read all the other reviews for other reasons why this promising film failed, but I just wanted to chime in my 2 cents on why I think it crashed in the first 10 minutes. Well, who knows if we'll ever get an accurate portrayal of Jesus, but for my money I'll stick with those classic Cecil B Demille movies which, even if they got the facts wrong, at least kept the spirit true to what we would like to believe.
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Life of Jesus as racially charged tale collapses on itself because the story, at least as told here, simply can't support the premise
dbborroughs29 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Jean-Claude La Marre writes, directs and stars in a version of the last days of Jesus that posits that Jesus was killed in large part because he was dark skinned. The notion is of course more than likely going to anger many audiences simply because Jesus is black, which is a shame since the poorly made film is bad enough on its own to deserve brickbats being tossed at it.

There is a reasonable possibility that Jesus was dark skinned since those native to the region tend to be of a darker skin than the light skinned Europeans who had invaded the country, so from a historical stand point one can't really argue with a dark skinned Jesus. One can argue with pretty much argue with most of the rest of the film historically and scripturally since it contains a great number of errors. From Roman bad behavior, to the ethnic mix of the country (important in a film that hinges on a question of race) this film fumbles with its facts too much to be believable.

I would like to say that the film works on terms other than historical, but I can't. The simple addition of racial questions wobble the film to the point of non functioning (and it could be argued that the casting of the Jewish elders as very white European "Jews" smacks of racism). It also doesn't help that La Marre doesn't tell the story in a straight forward manner, events are left out or glossed over and a great deal of time is spent with the Jewish religious leaders which helps make his racial plot feasible, but takes away from the story of Jesus.

Technically the film is little more than a low rent TV movie. the sets all seem cheap and the costumes often have the feel of costumes. I have to question several choices La Marre makes, in particular why he keeps switching into Aramaic for some of the final scenes. Its a self indulgent touch that has no place. What further complicates everything in the film is that its never really explained, or explained well enough to be accepted as plausible, what a black Jesus is doing among mostly the whiter than white Jewish community. The casting of La Marre as Jesus comes off as a shock tactic rather than something natural. Clearly the choice was made to upset people enough to see the film instead of to just tell the story.

I would love to say that the film is a complete write off, but I can't. There are several times when the film has a poetic beauty, the opening shot of Jesus on the Cross, and a few shots with in the crucifixion are quite stunning. La Marre also manages to create several nice emotional moments (The Roman asking Caiaphas how it feels to turn over a Jew) and he also manages to create a human Jesus, that laughs and feels, its a portrait that would be wonderful in a better film with a less distracted director.

Nice touches aside the film is a mess. and not worth wasting the time to see it.
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This movie is one all churches and family should go see
colorofthecross613 November 2006
I believe this movie is created at the time in our history to bring all families and churches together. We are all one therefore each have a right to see Jesus as He looked and acts to them. So I say thumbs up to Mr. LaMarre for showing everyone how Jesus fulfill the role as a man of color. Well I have to say this movie I would personally recommend to all Churches to take their congregation and let everyone have a review of how they feel about Jesus being portrayed as a man of Color. I have seen the movie and would go again to see the movie. I especially like the fact that it showed Jesus as a family man with sisters and brothers. Also, it showed how Joseph didn't leave his wife because of her divine revelation of carrying the Messiah. So I say again, go see the movie and discuss it with your church family and I believe you will find out just how people are thinking. This as I have said could truly bring Unity to the body of Christ. Because I believe that the most races day of the week is on Sunday in the Church.
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The Novel by Ayvee Verzonilla Is Better!
colorofthecrossbook19 November 2006
The movie didn't move me as much as I had hoped it would. I was able to my hands on the novel version, written by Ayvee Verzonilla, and the book is absolute quality! Is the book available in stores nationwide, as well as screenings and specialty events or online? I'd like one signed by the author, Ayvee, as the one my mother received was signed by Jean Claude Lamarre... of all the nerve! I looked the author up online and she is gorgeous as well as multi-talented! She is a singer and an actress, in fact she's in one of Lamarre's upcoming Black Christian Movie releases, playing the role of Shaunice in the film Walk By Faith/Don't Touch if you ain't Prayed 2. I must admit I've downloaded some of her pictures and songs from the net. Looking forward to her next publication or music cd.

Happy Hunting, Danny
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danmax1 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This film is neither preachy nor pedantic, and was a welcome surprise for me. As a non-Christian who nevertheless respects the historical figure of Jesus Christ and the beauty of his philosophy and teachings, I found this to be a powerful portrayal of much that I think is worthwhile about the Christ story. I know the film has been maligned for anti-semitic content (perhaps because Jews make mistakes in the film and are seen as persecutors instead of victims? - it could have been anybody!), and for various other problems - but let's face it - any movie portraying this subject was bound to face strong reactions. And kudos to Jean-Claude La Marre for not shying away from the subject by creating a sterile, gutless, Disney story out of what really was a good example of the everyday horror of life on the fringes of the Roman empire. la Marre invents a new genre with Color of the Cross - that of historical horror.

The performances in this film are inspired. I felt that the film brought out the cowardice of the apostles very forcefully, and the courage and love of the two Maries in Jesus' life was palpable to the very end. The effect of Aramaic and Latin, with the moody soundtrack, was spellbinding. Again kudos to La Marre for his courage and artistic integrity on the decisions involved in these elements of the film.

Final word - this is not a film for the whole family nor is it a feel-good film. Don't see it if you're not willing to confront the worst aspects of human nature up close. And don't go in looking for your own version of the story - it's not your film! This is what La Marre believes, and it's his own revelation, not necessarily to be shared by all.
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The color before the army
northwestrec11 August 2007
The movie was great, but should not have used any pacifiers strictly bloodline facts, the Middle East and Africa before Rome was Black, Brown, Light Skined and Proud. The introduction of the non colored Jews came well after the slaughter of the original Jews decedents of the tribe of Judah. this statement shouldn't be a shock popular history is almost always re written by the ones in power to reflect themselves and blow up or burn the truth lick the Sphinx and other artifacts throughout history. Contrary to popular believes black is back the meek shall inherit the earth but with less cruelty, seek and you shall find the truth choose not and and continue with blindness. God Bless all.
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