Catholic dogma is based on how God sent a messianic figure to save humanity from its sins. The divine became man to sacrifice himself and thus redeem us. At least, that is promulgated, because the parishioners tend to worry too much every time the human part of Jesus Christ is remembered, who lived with the divine part and who, by his very nature, could fail and even sin.
That is why for millennia attempts have been made to eliminate the presence of Mary Magdalene from the group of faithful who followed her, and that is why their clothes were torn with the book of Nikos Kazantzakis that explored his more fallible nature. And more horrible things were enacted when Martin Scorsese decided to make it into a movie alongside Paul Schrader in the heart-wrenching ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’.
a complicated mission
Project dreamed of for many years, the Italian-American faces his particular subversion of biblical dramas that every Easter populate our televisions. Epic, but in a completely different way than things like ‘King of Kings‘. Of immense faith, but also loaded with doubts that are not comfortable for dogma. Probably the best work to watch on Filmin these days of passion, although many Catholics disagree.
Willem Dafoe stars as Jesus of Nazareth in this reimagining of the New Testament gospel story, exploring his life and emotional state shortly after completing his mission on Earth. But he has fears, he has doubts, he has temptations. God’s call is constant, but his head will emit impulses that may stray from the designated path.
Organizations of parishioners and the Catholic Church itself called for a boycott of this project that Scorsese struggled to create. Now that there is so much talk about if political correctness does not allow certain content to be produced, here is a true example of how true intolerance tried to forbid it to be seen this bold exploration of faith. It almost succeeded, the American public mostly turned its back on the film, being profitable thanks to the international market.
‘The Last Temptation of Christ’: solemn great work
Beyond these facts, here we find a major work of its director. Raised in the Catholic faith and coming to consider the priesthood as a job opportunity, Scorsese has been impregnating his filmography with details and questions about religion, making everything more explicit in films like this one or the also vindicable ‘Silence’.
With ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ he does a really personal job, which in addition to introducing us to a literal Judas (this figure has also been very present in his film work) dares to contaminate the son of God with his ideas. With it he gets to do a more interesting Jesus Christwith whom it is easier to empathize in their task.
Something that was outraged because it is difficult to understand that someone, even God in his most human part, can be threatened by doubt and corruption. But it is exactly what makes it an exciting story, with reflections that are worth considering in order to truly understand the sacrifice made that is celebrated this Holy Week. Its solemnity and its dreamlike sections will not be to the liking of fans of the most gangly and frenetic Scorsese, but here has many of the best dramatic moments of his cinema.
In Espinof | The best Martin Scorsese movies