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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Give Us Anthony Quinn!

Happy Easter!

Of course we all know that this is the very happiest day of the Church year. Jesus died for our sins but rose again to show us life everlasting. What could be better?



The other reason I enjoy Easter so much.

I do love the Easter lilies. I love all the new converts who join us on Easter. Very exciting. Spring. A new start. Much more compelling than any lame old New Year's Resolution in the dead of winter. After all our hard work during Lent, we should have a better appreciation of all that makes life wonderful.

Don't think I'm not paying close attention to all of that.


The other reason I enjoy Easter so much. Bible movies.

Oh, how I love them. Right now I have Sister Mary Fiacre parked in front of "Barabbas", starring Anthony Quinn in the title role. I appreciate people who take a story, in this case the story from the New Testament when Pilate wants to wiggle out of dealing with what to do with Jesus. Pilate decides to let the crowd chose who to set free, since it's a holiday and someone gets to go free. To his chagrin, the crowd chooses Barabbas, a thief.

That's all we know for sure. Anything else we say about Barabbas, his life or whatever happened to him, or even how serious his crime may have been (for all we know he swiped a loaf of bread for his starving family...or his starving self), is one hundred per cent fictional. At best, scholarly.

For example, we might be able to determine the type of crime he committed based on his sentence. But then, sentences were much more harsh for far less crime, back in the day.

Or now...

I get a charge out of the idea that somebody wrote a story about what might have gone on with Barabbas. How enterprising! First stop "Barabbas", next stop, "Wicked".

The movie, unfortunately, only deals with the tortured Barabbas and his guilt complex over having been saved from death. He remains a non believer up until the bitter end. He finally kills the evil Jack Palance (when is Jack Palance ever not evil?) while working as a gladiator. That doesn't even make him happen.

Anthony Quinn finally wants to be a Christian, gets it all wrong, gets a good talking to by St. Peter himself and dies a martyr's death on a cross.


And yet...Except for wondering how the director hornswaggled all of those ten thousand extras to get painted yellow (for the scenes in the sulfur mines) or sit around cheering in the hot sun for hours waiting for Jack Palance to get his, the movie is not that compelling to me.

I would have liked to have heard more about what landed old Barabbas in jail. One theory is that he was actually a terrorist. At least from the Romans' perspective. He was trying to overthrow the Roman rule in Judea. Barabbas was a big hero to the crowd, which was why they were happy to holler for his release. Like that man that threw his shoe at Mr. Bush. Lots of people hollered for his release, too.

My favorite Barabbas theory is that the crowd wasn't yelling for him at all. They were yelling for Jesus. The Jesus who always talked about "the Father". To yell for him they would have had to holler "Yeshu abbas!"

Pilate just heard them wrong. For example, I saw the crowd of people at this year's Superbowl ball game booing Mr. Bruce Springsteen. I wondered aloud how such an unpopular performer would have landed the much coveted Superbowl halftime show. I was informed that the crowd was not booing the band, but yelling "Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce".

That's not how it sounded at all. Maybe if everyone had rolled their "r's".

For our Easter celebration and relaxation tonight we will be on to "King of Kings". It's been quite some time since I've seen that, but as I recall Jesus is portrayed in that film as one of those people mosquitoes love to bite. The red haired, blue eyed Jesus of the old holy cards.

I can't wait!


Sarah said...

Happy Easter, Sister!

Bible movies are one of my favorite Easter activities, too. As a girl, my parents made us give up TV for Lent and we only were allowed to watch videos with a religious topic. I always enjoyed Richard Burton in The Robe as the centurion who crucifies Jesus but ultimately converts and even has St. Peter hear his Confession. Lucky!

Someday I would like to write a book analyzing all the ways Jesus has been depicted on film. Do you think there had ever been a movie Jesus who came close to the real person? None of them ever really seem like the Son of God to me.

Farmwife said...

Years ago a priest friend of mine used to refer to those pictures as "the blonde lady with the beard" type.

Unknown said...

I can't help but wonder, when I see holy cards like that, if he is so much raising His eyes to heaven, contemplating holy things, as He is rolling his eyes at what goofs we all are. Like Peter, for eg, gotta be the biggest goof of them all! "OOh, I'll build you a TENT!!" Holy eye roll. "No, no, you will never wash MY feet!" Holy eye roll. "Not me, Lord, I'd NEVER deny you!" Holy eye roll. I'm sure I have Him rolling his eyes like a rabid squirrel with all the ways I mess up and get it wrong in my attempts to serve Him!

Anonymous said...

Easter is absolutely my very favorite holiday. Yet this year I was struck by the people who treated it like any other Sunday. What happened to putting on your best for Easter? One teenager was wearing short-shorts!
Improper attire is a pet peeve of mine anyway but it was EASTER. Jesus died and rose again for your sorry self can't you at least show enough respect to get dressed?

Farmwife said...

Sharon, you are probably right! It does look like a "holy eye roll". I will never look at one of those holy cards again without thinking about that. See what you've done? :-)

Unknown said...

*tenting my fingers and giggling maniacly* Then I have succeeded! Bwahahahahahaha!

Lola said...

I would love to see a movie about Pilate. Especially AFTER Jesus is risen.
I know one scene will be Pilates wife saying "I told you so."

And I too am now stuck with the Holy Eye Roll.