Monday, February 26, 2007

Martin Scorcese

The only other major I flirted with while an undergraduate was Film. Since I did not begin college in earnest until I was 23 years-old, most of my friends were graduate students in both Philosophy and in Film. I simply love the medium. I continue to study it and have learned a lot about the craft and history of this ever-evolving medium by reading various filmmakers. One filmmaker from whom I have learned a great deal is last night's winner of the Academy Award for best director, an honor long overdue, for his latest movie The Departed, Martin Scorcese. Scorcese, a one time seminarian, has taught me a lot through a series of commentaries on films from different countries, entitled A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through . . .

Needless to say I am a film buff. In fact, my Spiritual Director and I became acquainted due to our mutual love of movies. One film of Scorcese's that had a tremendous impact on me at a very crucial juncture in my personal journey was his film adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ, a movie that sparked a huge amount of protest among many conservative Christian groups. I waded through sign wielding protesters to see the movie. This film sparked my imagination regarding Jesus Christ, it was also an entry way for me into theology. I read Kazantazakis' book after seeing the movie.

Now, do not get me wrong, Kazantzakis' Christology is not an orthodox take on the person of Jesus, but it is a valuable literary reflection that helps us see that our Lord was truly human. I have often toyed with writing an essay comparing the Christology of Kazantzakis in The Last Temptation of Christ with that of Anne Rice in her novel Memnoch the Devil, which is basically the opposite of Kazantzakis', to show that overlapping these two literary views of the person and mission of Christ gets us somewhere close an orthodox understanding of him.

Scorcese's adaptation of this book remains a masterpiece of what, I am convinced, is the most difficult genre of film, adapting a complex literary work into a film and doing it well. His finally being recognized by the Academy for yet another masterful film adaptation makes me very happy.

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