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34 of 34 found the following review helpful:
a gem that will move you and make you think.. Aug 27, 2000
By Alejandra Vernon
"artist & illustrator"
Of all the depictions on film of the crucifixion of Christ, I find this one the most harrowing...it's wrenching as well as uplifting, and the always wonderful Lothaire Bluteau is extraordinary as Jesus in the passion play, and as the actor who won't compromise his art for commercial success, and starts to acquire aspects of Jesus' character into his own.
On a lighter note, the "hot" dubbing scene early in the film is hilarious, and there are many other extremely humorous parts. The talented ensemble cast is superb, as good in the comedy as in the drama.
Perhaps this is not a film for those with strict beliefs, but if you can accept diverse views, it will move you on many different levels.
42 of 44 found the following review helpful:
This Bilingual Edition DVD is THE ONE TO GET! Feb 03, 2005
By R.L. Holly
I've deleted my earlier comments on the French-language-only DVD that was first released in North America. This brilliant film is now available in two separate versions: the original Quebecois French soundtrack and this edition with language options: the original French, dubbed English (I avoid this because I only ever knew this film in its subtitled version), and French, Spanish, or English subtitles (optional). There are also bilingual stereo and a French 5.1 surround sound audio mixes. Amazon has also finally separated the two releases in its listings and labeled them more clearly, so I hope this eliminates the confusion that formerly surrounded this DVD and led many to buy the "wrong" version, myself included. You'd have to be a pretty fluent francophone to catch all the nuances of this story without subtitles, and the Quebec patois is very different from the standard French taught in U.S. schools or spoken in France today.
Enough of the technicalities. And please overlook the tacky and possibly misleading DVD packaging, with copy blurbs that seem to miss the point and photos that fixate on the pretty Parisienne model to the exclusion of much else. I wholeheartedly recommend this film for anyone interested in exploring the story of Jesus. There is a lyricism and poignancy to Jesus of Montreal that is not to be found in Mel Gibson's snuff flick. Director/writer Arcand has crafted an extraordinarily skillful parallel script that not only re-presents the traditional Passion Play version of Jesus' life -- updated with challenging new assertions -- but also subtly and movingly reenacts it in modern Montreal, as the troupe of actors unwittingly find themselves walking in the footsteps of their theatrical alter-egos. This is marvelous filmmaking, and true art. Jesus of Montreal is one of those rare movies that will reveal something new to you with every viewing; the more familiar you are with the traditional Gospels, the more allegorical elements you will recognize. Sometimes this produces very amusing results -- I am particularly fond of the sequence where Daniel/Jesus (played to perfection by Lothaire Bluteau) is "tempted" by the Devil in the guise of a smooth-talking entertainment lawyer. And of course there is a terrific come-uppance for the "moneylenders in the temple".
Despite comical moments, this is a sad movie, with Daniel unable to escape his destiny. Jesus of Montreal concludes in a welter of suffering -- Calvary, the descent into the Underworld (literally -- another of Arcand's deft touches, and watch for the head of John the Baptist!), apocalyptic visions, and finally, disappearance from the world of man. Yet there is also the promise of redemption and resurrection, and of miracles unforeseen. Although the disciples are leaderless and bereft, vulnerable to the blandishments of the material world (with the notable exception of "Mary Magdalene"), there is still Hope shining beyond the touch of evil or folly, and the angels still sing for those who will hear them, even in the unlikeliest of places (the movie ends, in circular fashion, much as it begins).
A beautiful achievement. Jesus of Montreal may outrage some fundamentalists and more orthodox believers, confuse or bewilder others, and but it never fails to challenge, and its message of love and faith and its abiding honesty and humanity is needed now more than ever.
31 of 32 found the following review helpful:
A very human Passion Play May 12, 2000
It's been quite a few years since I've seen this movie, but for some reason, I've recently started thinking about it and connecting all the dots. As much as I enjoyed it originally, I've developed a new appreciation of it. Other reviewers have described it well, so I'll just give an "Amen" to their praise. I now marvel at how subtly and ingeniously the film's makers made the characters surrounding the theater troupé mirror the characters surrounding the main people in the original Passion story. Could the people in the Gospels' account have been real flesh-and-blood people, and not just characters in a mythical morality tale? This film will convince you they could have been. All aspects of the production are excellent. Blutheau was superb as Daniel/Jesus. His motivations and actions are as inscrutible as those of the original Jesus. When Daniel died, nothing happened. Or did it? You decide. Just as you must decide concerning the original Jesus' death. A tantalizing and intrigueing movie.
50 of 56 found the following review helpful:
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! Jan 21, 2004
This is one of my favorite films but WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! the DVD I received from Amazon.com is in FRENCH ONLY and does NOT offer a sub-title track!!! Unless you speak French fluently DO NOT ORDER THIS EDITION!
18 of 18 found the following review helpful:
"The Passion" Is More Than A Play May 26, 2005
By Brian E. Erland
Note: French with English subtitles.
A group of local Montreal actors rewrite the 'Passion Play' with an updated interpretation. Their passionate but unorthodox production stirs controversy within the Catholic Church and the community-at-large. As the pressure mounts, whether to perform or not to perform, the personal lives of the individual cast members begin to take on the persona of the characters in the play.
This transformation is most evident in Daniel (Lothaire Bluteau) who plays the role of Jesus. As the 'Life of Christ' unfolds around and within Daniel he eventually discovers the ultimate meaning of sacrificial love.
What a wonderfully original and inventive film! They just don't get any better than this. Imaginative script, superb acting (Catherine Wilkening in the role of Mireille is stunning), evocative cinematography and ethereal soundtrack (with Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance) all come together to bring this glorious modern day story of Jesus to life.
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