Subjective and Objective Perspectives in The Passion of The Christ

The Passion of The Christ takes the subjectivization of Jesus even further, while at the same time restoring some of the divine objectivity that has been missing from recent films. Director Mel Gibson starts the film on a very human note, by beginning with Jesus's last moments before his arrest in Gethsemane. This episode, as we have seen, is one of a handful that have allowed filmmakers to underscore the humanity of Jesus without straying from the biblical text; however, Gibson adds a few details that emphasize his humanity even more. Jesus, played with emotional intensity by James Caviezel, is first seen praying fervently. Then he goes to check on three of his disciples, who have fallen asleep. These three are members of Jesus's inner circle and are closer to him than the other apostles; when one asks if they should alert the others, Jesus replies, "No, John. I don't want them to see me like this." This unique bit of dialogue emphasizes the very human, and very intimate, bond between Jesus and these fellow human beings.

Similarly, the first flashback emphasizes the bond between Jesus and his mother, Mary, in an earlier time when Jesus was a carpenter plying his trade and had not yet embarked on his ministry. The scene underscores the humanity of Jesus partly by underscoring his physicality: He sits and hops on the table he is building, to test its strength; he splashes Mary with water; he even draws her to him and gives her a playful kiss. In one striking sequence, Mary and Jesus peer at each other through the table's decorative carvings, their eyes framed in a way that suggests they see and know each other in a special, intimate way that no one else can ...

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