Monday, March 14, 2016

"The Young Messiah," reviewed by a Evan Pham

Evan Pham, "The Young Messiah" (Holy Smack, March 14, 2016).

Mr. Pham begins thus:
Biblical films that surprise me and move me are the only ones I recommend, and that’s not an easy thing to do since I am a very critical viewer with a high aversion to cheesiness. But I am glad to say “The Young Messiah” was worth the admission cost and worth my two hours and months of waiting. Here’s why ... [spoiler alert]
Read his entire interview HERE. Perhaps you'll find it as compelling as I did. Now I've got to see the film.

Incidentally, Mr. Pham is a former philosophy student of mine at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, now taking graduate classes there in theology. While you're at it, visit his Holy Card Archive and see some of his great productions. He has a new one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that he just showed me today, which is amazing, but not yet posted online. The prayers on the back are consistently very well-thought-out. He will happily send them to you for any amount you wish to donate. They are beautiful.

One of my favorites is this Asian depiction of the Archangel St. Michael and his angels battling the dragon Satan in the Book Revelation, ch. 12:


Ronald Sevenster


I have a critical question. In many films about Jesus Christ, and also in "The Young Messiah", the traditional iconography of the arts is more or less followed, and consequently the Lord is presented in a way which is historically flawed. First, as to his hair, which is always long. This was never customary for faithful Jews and certainly not in the 1st century, when practically every Jew was Torah observant. The Torah explicitly prohibits long hair. One wonders why Jesus is always presented with a feminine hairdress, since he was perfectly obedient to God's Law, in every single detail. Another point is the absence of four-cornered outer garment with the ritual fringes. One almost never sees a picture or a film that shows Jesus as wearing this traditional garment, which is also commanded in the Torah. Together with other omissions (such as the phylacteries), this gives an impression of the Lord Jesus Christ as being not an Israelite at all. Why is iconography of the Western world about Him so consistently false?

Pertinacious Papist


"Why is iconography of the Western world about Him so consistently false?"

Maybe for the same reason that St. Michael the Archangel in this icon is painted to look like a Japanese samurai warrior?

I know what you mean. There are some very popular portraits of Jesus I find utterly distasteful, like this:

Or this blonde Jesus:

Or this blue-eyed Jesus:

Usually what I try to do, if feeling charitable, is to try to guess what positive traits of the historical Jesus the artist, by means of his artistic license, was attempting to capture. Sometimes it's nearly impossible, though, I grant you.