The Old Testament story of Abraham and the trials he endures. Commanded by God to lead his family to the promised land of Canaan with the promise that if he does so, his descendants will ... See full summary »
A retelling of the Bible story. Pharaoh Ramses II decrees the death of all Hebrew children, but Moses, placed in a basket in the Nile by his mother, is taken by a royal Princess and raised ... See full summary »
In the foreign land of Canaan lives Isaac, son of Abraham, with his clever, strong-willed wife Rebekah and his twin sons Esau and Jacob. The first-born, Esau, is a strong and fearless ... See full summary »
Lara Flynn Boyle,
Mara and her husband Manoa are both upstanding and religious Israelites living under the harsh and unjust rule of the Philistines. Much to their regret, they have not been able to have ... See full summary »
The tribes of Israel need to defeat the superior might of the Philistines: "Now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." (I Samuel, 8:5). And so the prophet Samuel ... See full summary »
David, now an old man, is still king of Israel. Among his sons, the ambitious Adonijah and the clever Solomon. The two young men are fierce rivals, since both are prospective heirs to the ... See full summary »
Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), King of the Persians, whose empire now extends from India to Egypt after the defeat of the Babylonians, is holding a celebratory banquet for his people in the citadel ... See full summary »
F. Murray Abraham,
The young Jeremiah grows up in a priest's family in the village of Anathoth, near Jerusalem. God appears to Jeremiah in different human guises on several occasions, and makes it clear to ... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
Biblical epic from the book of Acts and Paul's epistles covering the conversion of Saul of Tarsus and his ministry to the Gentiles now known as Paul. Pursued by fellow Jew Reuben, who ... See full summary »
An all-enveloping darkness. Suddenly, a child's voice, frightened, questioning, pierces the darkness... The first flickering rays of light begin to sculpt mysterious shapes out of the ... See full summary »
The story begins in Egypt, in the marketplace of Avaris where Joseph is sold as a slave to Potiphar, the Pharaoh's Chief Steward. Joseph, the favored son of the patriarch Jacob, was given into captivity by his own envious brothers. A tireless and highly productive worker, Joseph wins his master's trust and is named steward of Potiphar's household. However, Joseph also unwittingly arouses the lust of Potiphar's wife. Luring him into her room one day, she orders Joseph to give her pleasure. But Joseph prefers punishment, even death, to betraying his master. As he flees from the room, the desperate woman tears off Joseph's garment and brandishes it as proof of her violation. As Potiphar questions him, Joseph begins to narrate the story of his past, a tale of suffering and hardship. We flash back to the time when Jacob and his family settled near the town of Schechem. It is a brief and unhappy stay, for when Jacob's daughter Dinah is ravished by the young prince of Schechem, Jacob's sons ...Written by
Paul Mercurio is the son of Australian movie legend Gus Mercurio. See more »
What is your name?
I am Asenath, daughter of the high priest of On.
What is my name, my new name? I have forgotten it already.
Zapaneth Paneah. What does it mean?
The savior. Am I pleasing to you?
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They throw him into a well and sell him into slavery; yet, he makes them rich masters and forgives them all the misery and hatred... that would be called 'simpleton's naiveness' in a world where luck takes over all respected values and where power reigns over goodness. Many people would mock such naiveness nowadays and throughout history when a strong hand has been far more appreciated than a good heart. Is there still anything that can persuade us to believe in 'subtle reign of goodness' 'subtle reign of heart'?
Yes! That is the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, the story of a young boy sold into slavery by his envious brothers who overcomes particular hardship and injustice in order to be placed one day over the Pharaoh's house, his people and his entire kingdom, in order to become "Zapaneth Paneah" – a 'saviour' for Egypt and all surrounding lands; finally, in order to embrace his brothers in tears of pardoning.
Although the story of Joseph was, for a long time, quite neglected in cinema, the new biblical project in the 1990s could not skip this significant tale after ABRAHAM with Richard Harris and JACOB with Matthew Modine. I was quite skeptical about this movie in the mid-1990s taking into consideration some critics' opinions. The director, Roger Young, is known for taking liberties with historical content and, as he was not known in my country at that time, some critics spread negative viewpoints about the production before its TV premiere in Poland. Nevertheless, what we saw during the 1996 Easter time was far beyond our expectations. Again, critics disappointed us terribly...
The entire movie is faithful to the Bible to such extend that there are hardly any changes, even minor ones, which makes it one of the most accurate productions ever. Yet, it is not a sort of sheer continuous narrative in accordance with the Bible but a very innovative execution of the captivating, mesmerizing content. The story in most part of the film's first half is told 'in media res.' We get the insight into an Egyptian slave market and a slave boy of Canaan who opens his mouth only in prayer bought by a rich master Potiphar (Ben Kingsley). Although things begin to improve for both, a woman steps in... Joseph (Paul Mercurio) tells his dramatic story to his master just after the unfair accusations have been made up by Potiphar's wife (Lesley Ann Warren) and... everything gets so vivid, combined with emotions and personal suggestions. Thanks to that, Potiphar is more aware of Joseph's innocence. In a memorable scene, his wife asks him sarcastically: "What is more important to you? His God or my good name?" his thrilling answer sounds "Truth" ... At the same time, Joseph shouts desperately "Lord, my God why have you forsaken me?" Events to come truly prove that his God was with him...
However, besides the story that has overwhelmed lots of different people for centuries, "Joseph" offers much more. When the story itself does not suffice for many (that is the case with all biblical material) what we want, as viewers, is something that will remain in our memories, that will leave us breathless, something awesome within the perfectly familiar walls of our knowledge and experience. Something like that may be provided only by certain artistic merits. "Joseph" as a movie offers us all of them including lovely cinematography, memorable sets and very good camera work. While watching the movie for the second time, I paid particular attention to camera work, to single images and I was mesmerized by some moments which are both symbolically and visually significant.
The cast... Paul Mercurio in the lead portrays a man of integrity, a man of forgiveness, a man who has truly seen the evils of rape and vengeance and, consequently, appears to be "endowed with a spirit of God" as poetically described in the script, or, more realistically, very reliable to all the people around, even to such greatness itself like the Pharaoh himself. He is boyish for women, upright for masters, gentle for brothers and faithful to his values. All these unique features of Joseph are beautifully portrayed by Paul Mercurio. The supporting cast include great stars of cinema as well as unknown actors who do equally fine jobs in their roles. Ben Kingsley as Potiphar focuses on patience, Martin Landau as Jacob emphasizes father's love, Stefano Dionisi as Pharaoh highlights confusion of a ruler and Vincenzo Nicoli as, perhaps, Joseph's most wicked brother, Simeon, stresses integral aspect of jealousy and hatred. A mention must be made of beautiful Monica Bellucci as Pharaoh's wife. But a nice contrast is highlighted by two women: Valeria Cavalli as Asenath: a subtle, beautiful woman pleasing to Joseph and Lesley Ann Warren as wicked, lustful and cruel Potiphar's wife.
In short, for me, Joseph has been a biblical experience on screen, a movie that touched me to tears, a motion picture that addressed my heart. Whenever I am depressed, sad or tired of earthly vanity, it is one of the films that takes me into a consoling reality. Timeless story of a gentle heart that brings all worldly revenge, cruelty and jealousy to their knees, which never stops saying "Forgiveness is greater than vengeance; compassion more powerful than anger"
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