Four writers. Four narratives. One life. For the first time in film history the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have been reconstructed in four feature length, documentary-style ... See full summary »
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Matthew 15:1 - 28:20 - The year is about 62 A.D., and the aging apostle Matthew recalls the remarkable events he witnessed as a young man. As his story unfolds, the centuries melt away and ... See full summary »
Regardt van den Bergh
The cover photo for this movie echoes the image of John in Eugene Burnand's painting "Peter and John Running to the Tomb" (oil on canvas, 1889, Musee D'Orsay, Paris) See more »
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John is an inspiring telling of Jesus life and his mission. The story pictures main teachings and wonders done by Jesus: his first birth, baptism, feeding 5000 people, raising Lazarus, last Supper, crucifixion, and resurrection. All the scenes are told by narration using the original script from the Gospel of John.
The film creates a thrilling atmosphere. It is not a blockbuster and does not have a huge budget, but the picture is aesthetically beautiful. Decorations are natural, which makes it look sincere. The environment looks real and makes you believe in the legitimacy of the story. Although most scenes were shot in Morocco, producers have undertaken a good work in selecting proper scenery to make the picture look like Palestinian nature. I think that setting a plausible scenery was crucial in creating immersing atmosphere of the movie.
The picture does not have special effects and fancy decorations, but cast plays extremely well, which fulfills the viewer's satisfaction. The cast is very well selected. Each character looks authentic and harmoniously merge with the Middle Asian atmosphere. The designer also has undertaken a good work with the dressing and grim, which makes a viewer immerse into the story even more.
The picture has an interesting format of storytelling. The whole movie is told through narration. The narration is a special ingredient of this picture. The narrator creates an atmosphere of this film. With a pleasant voice and diction, a narrator can make a viewer believe that his saying is Jesus' saying. I think that, for a producer, choosing a good narrator was the main priority for this picture. The use of the original text as a script of the movie is a genius move. It makes the movie preserve gospel's canonical feel. When Jesus tells his teachings, he often uses the phrase: "Truly, truly, I say to you..." This simple phrase from the Gospel makes Jesus sayings in the movie extremely sincere and convincing. In addition, due to the nature of the Gospel, the script flows and is pleasant to the ear. Listening to it becomes relaxing and sends you to meditation.
There exist two versions of "The Gospel of John", with the other being filmed in 2003. I have watched about half an hour of it, but my reaction has been that the 2014 version of the Gospel was much better. Mainly because in the 2014 version of the Gospel the story is being told using the Gospel itself. No dialogs or long scenes, but a constant narration of the Gospel of John. It is like listening to an audiobook, but with a visual representation of the story. I think that the 2014 version is much more enlightening.
The only thing that I hesitate about is the choice of actor for the role of Jesus. The role was given to Selva Rasalingam, a British actor with historical roots in Sri-Lanka. I have no doubts about his artistic talent; he was sincere and very plausible in his role of Jesus. However, it is something about his look that makes me feel uncertain. He has very sharp facial features that look hawkish. The reason for my uncertainty is the canonical look that Jesus has in all his depictions. The 2003 version of the Gospel has more Jesus looking actor. In the 2014 version, Jesus has a very aggressive look with a sharp nose and thick eyebrows. When someone thinks of Jesus, the image immediately comes from famous depictions of Raphael, Da Vinci, and Bloch. Jesus obtained some kind of canonical imagery of having an extremely kind look. Therefore, it is quite unusual to see a new representation of Jesus.
In addition to the aggressive look, Jesus in the 2014 Gospel of John has a somewhat aggressive attitude too. This is debatable too, as I cannot adequately evaluate Jesus' attitude, as I do not know the attitude of a real Jesus. However, in the movie, it seems like Jesus is angry at people for not believing in him and his doings. This is especially notable in his debate with Pharisees when they passionately argued about who Jesus really is. The words of Jesus were still original, as the script was the Gospel of John itself, but the delivery of the actor was mildly aggressive. It contributes to the alternative representation of Jesus.
The representation of Jesus in the 2014 Gospel of John is unusual, but I guess that this choice was made intentionally. People are used to the canonical imagery of the Holy Jesus. I think that producers wanted to show a different Jesus, with a different, more aggressive, look. The one, who is holy and ever kind, but can be harsh and severe when his teachings are not heard. This is a different Jesus on the outside, but on the inside, he is still a saint, who loves and forgives everyone. It is an interesting move from the filmmakers, which definitely leaves a mark and makes this version of the Gospel prominent.
I would suggest watching this movie, as it is well directed and has an interesting format. The imagery of Jesus creates a different experience and makes a viewer think about his own beliefs about Jesus and his doings.
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