A group of actors putting on an interpretive Passion Play in Montreal begin to experience a meshing of their characters and their private lives as the production takes form against the growing opposition of the Catholic church.Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Ron Lea, who plays Daniel's doctor at the end of the film, also served as the voice of Daniel himself in the English dub of the film. See more »
The last 15 minutes of the movie take place in the emergency room of a Montréal hospital . The doctor only speaks English and all the characters suddenly switch to English only. In Montréal doctors who work in English hospitals are required by law to be fluent in French . See more »
Remember my premonition? Doing tragedy is dangerous.
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I had been impressed by this on first viewing (despite its being in French only), watched on another Good Friday several years ago; a second look (and the benefit of English subtitles) only reinforces its inherent quality. This is an absorbing, original, savage, funny, and frequently stunning piece of work - although, in view of its subject matter, it does have the occasional heavy-going passage. In fact, Jesus OF MONTREAL was expected to emerge victorious at that year's Academy Awards as the Best Foreign Language Film: facing stiff competition from the likes of CAMILLE CLAUDEL (1988) and CINEMA PARADISO (1989), the honor was eventually bestowed on the latter - a nostalgia piece with child interest, it was an altogether safer bet (though I've yet to catch the film in its entirety myself!)...
Despite their over-familiarity, the 'Passion Play' sequences are quite powerful - thanks also to excellent performances all around. Lothaire Bluteau is quietly impressive in the demanding central role (of an actor who eventually goes mad from playing Christ!); incidentally, he followed this with another spiritual film - BLACK ROBE (1991). Arcand seems to be one of the most interesting auteurs around, as the only other film of his that I've watched - THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS (2004; which did win him an Oscar) - is also superb (apart from being equally thought-provoking and controversial). Speaking of which, I find Jesus OF MONTREAL to be superior to that other notorious Christ-movie of the day - Martin Scorsese's THE LAST TEMPTATION OF Christ (1988)...
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