Martin Scorsese has announced that he’s about to make another movie about Jesus, following his own Last Temptation of Christ.
Many of you might be too young to remember just how controversial Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ was when it hit theaters in 1988. Nowadays, controversy is described more as people getting upset on Twitter, but in ’88, the film was met with mass protests, TV evangelists saying Scorsese was going to hell and even a terrorist attack on a French movie theater that was showing the film. My how things have changed, with Scorsese announcing during a post-Cannes tour of Italy that, following a meeting with Pope Francis, he will be making a movie about Jesus. As reported by Variety, Scorsese stated: “I have responded to the Pope’s appeal to artists in the only way I know how: by imagining and writing a screenplay for a film about Jesus.” Scorsese then suggested that he was about to “start making it.”
While Scorsese has often made films that deal with faith, such as his recent Silence, it’s worth noting that Last Temptation of Christ is something of a masterpiece. Based on the book by Nikos Kazantzakis, the movie generated controversy due to its depiction of Jesus (played by Willem Dafoe) struggling with various forms of temptation – including sexual. While it was slammed as blasphemous by some, those who actually saw the film recognized it as one of the classic films about faith, and the controversy around it has subsided over the years.
Given the reception to Last Temptation, It would be interesting to see how Scorsese would approach a film about Jesus all these years later. He didn’t make clear exactly what kind of film it would be, and Scorsese might aim to create a more unconventional religious movie that perhaps complements his own Last Temptation rather than replaces it. Whatever the case, Scorsese’s movies are always an event, and if he feels moved to re-engage with his faith through cinema at this point in his career, I’m all for it.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/martin-scorsese-jesus-movie/