From the Bishop's Conference of France
POSITION OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE FOR INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION ON THE MEL GIBSON FILM THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
[translation courtesy of Audrey Doetzel. NDS]
Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ arrives in France on Wednesday, March 31. Even before its arrival the film has provoked polemic and contrasting reactions.
The sincerity of the director is not in doubt, and the film will attract men and women who are perhaps seeking to know Jesus. However, in this film the face of Christ is less apparent than our contemporary obsessions: preoccupation with evil, fascination with violence, pursuit of the guilty.
The director, heavily influenced by a particular cinematographic culture, has chosen to visually portray the last hours of the life of Christ, with a declared intent to recreate history.
These choices are not without consequence:
The choice to take the Passion out of the context of the life and teaching of Christ, on the one hand, and of the Resurrection accounts on the other, reduces the message of the Gospels in a problematic way. The few flashbacks are too allusive to take into account the complex motivations which gradually led the crowds to follow Jesus, and the controversy regarding his person, his intentions, his mystery.