1. THE ANNUNCIATION. The Angel of the Lord appears to Mary, announcing the birth of a child, which shall be called the "Son of God." 2. THE STRANGE STAR. Led by the light of the strange new star, the three wise men of the East journey to Bethlehem in search of the holy child, whose birth has been foretold to them. They are followed by a large retinue of servants and a train of camels, donkeys, sheep, etc., forming in all an impressive caravan. 3. THE ADORATION OF THE WISE MEN. The wise men and the shepherds enter the lowly stable and kneel at the feet of Mary, who holds in her arms the new-born babe. Joseph stands near and watches the touching scene. 4. FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. Through the lonely Egyptian desert Mary and Joseph flee to a place of safety to preserve the life of the infant Jesus. Arriving at the famous Sphinx, Mary finds shelter for the night, while Joseph collects wood for the fire. 5. JESUS AND THE DOCTORS. The doctors and sages are engaged in a learned discussion, when ...Written by
Few people, I think, appreciate how the bible has been reinvented in the last century. Until this very film, what we had were words, stories in words. For centuries, those written stories were illustrated in static icons and symbols complex and simple. With this film, we began a new era, where religion is cinematic. American Fundamental Christianity and Indian neoHinduism are currently in the lead, nearly completely transformed by the moving icon and the ghostly eye. Prayer has literally been redefined and no amount of thumping will restore the imagination as a personal relationship with God again. Not one with an INNER eye.
Its why the Fundamentalist Film School down the road from me at Pat Robertson's empire is so interesting. They change the thing by bearing witness, in a sort of quantum effect.
It all started here, but you won't find much to indicate so. What we have with this first instance are two things. First is the implicit proposal that as "the greatest story," it deserved the greatest, fullest, longest treatment.
The second is the interesting stuff. This is literally closer to moving stained glass than films of today. Its quite beautifully painted if you see it that way. Its staged as tableaux, with little movement and none from the camera which is at eye level. There are "miraculous" appearances and disappearances, which is how the filmmakers would have seen the promise of film. The much noted fades are harder to notice. I'll take the historian's word that these French fellows invented the fade. It is remarkable how they worked it though with the color. Because you see the color fade, so they must have painted before optically splicing. Its a mystery to me.
I'll just take it on faith.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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