Thanks for the add! Gros bisous :-)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Personal Jesus

I had all sort of plans for this Easter week, starting from the tradition of Palm Sunday in France Les Rameaux, which was like a little Easter of kinds. My grand mother would adorn a box tree branch (buis) with all sorts of sweets, all kids would walk up to mass buis in hand, and then there was the excruciating wait of looking at this promise of sugar heaven, throughout the whole mass... you see the priest had to bless this buis before you could touch the sweets. And the fact that these sweets had been blessed by the little Jesus by proxy made them all the sweetest.

For a child churches are weird places, so many statues of the Virgin Mary, and different saints with pathos on their faces which you would be hard pushed to associate with a human being. One of the things that used to fascinate me was the ange-quêteur a bit like this one here.
You can see one in action here. I think you may understand the magic of it all for a child.

Add to this the smell of encense and you can taste the mystery, glory and boredom all at once that was mass for me as child holding my little branch of buis, a week before Easter and waiting and waiting to get back home for the big sugar rush.

But today of all days is Jesus's day, son of man, son of God. No matter whether you are a believer or no, you have to wonder about what goes on in the mind, heart and soul of one who knows he is condemned, the mental suffering, the moments of doubts, and it is no surprise that visual arts can really help us to grasp this amazing phenomenon which is the passion of Christ.

My purpose today is to mention a French documentary called First Passion, by Philippe Baron.

This documentary talks about the first feature length feature made about the passion of Christ, From the Manger to the Cross, a movie by Sidney Olcott shot in 1912 on location in Palestine. The documentary covers a lot of ground going from the extraordinary ambition of this project which aesthetically wanted to replicate the imagery of French painter James Tissot, to the fact that the nuns of a nearby convent treated the actress playing Mary just as if she was Mary, to the issues that actors who play Jesus face in general after playing such a role on the big screen, the fact that it was the first time that an audience was required not to eat, not talk to one another and generally behave themselves for the duration of the movie, because of the subject matter.

To give you an idea of the aesthetic aspect of the movie, here are a few of Tissot's religious paintings.
 Jesus is betrayed
Jesus bearing his cross
Scene from the movie
And this extraordinary scene entitled What Jesus saw from the cross, where Jesus doesn't feature physically on this painting, but his presence can not but weigh heavily on the viewer's conscience. This painting in my mind gives the adjective "awesome" its true meaning. If your curiosity is piqued you see From the Manger to the Cross on line here.

And before I disappear for a few more days, I want to wish you all a very Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, I hope that the Easter Bunny or Les Cloches de Pâques (depending on which country you live in), don't forget you, and I leave you in the good company of the holiest sinner of rock and roll... Johnny Cash in and his famous rendition of Dépêche Mode's Personal Jesus.

Chocolate and/or pious thoughts to all.


The Vintage Knitter said...

Joyeuses Pâques to you too Danièle x

Anonymous said...

Ohlala (comme dit la hype anglaise. Ou New-Yorkaise). Je me souviens des dimanches de rameaux...

On allait à la messe, mes frères, mes parents et moi. Pas de Golden encore, à l'époque. Et on se faisait asperger les rameaux d'eau bénie. Et par la même, ça lavait nos vêtements mieux que de la lessive, tellement on était nous aussi, aspergés.

Et sinon, un petit Lady Gaga (mal venu, je le confesse) pour finir?

Bon app' chocolaté! (Le nôtre sera chocolaté ET fondu parce qu'il fait une chaleur pas possible!)

Justine/Sewcountrychick said...

I so love to read about your childhood in France. I have never seen age thing in a crèche before. I wish you had a share button. I'd love to share this post on my facebook. Happy Easter!

Danièle said...

Thanks you girls.
@ Paulinette, I do trust Lady Gaga as far as religion is concerned her heart is in r=the right place, she is giving Judas some lurve!
@ Justine I dunno how to add a share thing for FB, I'll check it out at some stage, thanks for the encouragement.

Tanya WALL officiel said...

Pour la circonstance, ma petite sélection plus baroque :

Dans l'espoir de retrouver la version électronique "sacrilège"...

Danièle said...

Merci :-)

Pinupmania said...

Je n'ai pas connu tout cela. Mes parents étaient athées. Comme moi d'ailleurs. J'habite à côté d'une église. J'ai un buis dans mon jardin que les gamins peuvent piller pour pour les Rameaux. N'étaint-ce point de l'olivier à l'origine ?
Olivier le mécréant

Danièle said...

Olivier, je suis athée aussi, mais élevée dans la foi catholique, donc je n'ai pas échappé à toutes les traditions, communion, etc. J'ai toujours eu un faible pour tout ce qui est regligieux, en particulier musique, belles églises et tous les rituels. Je fais ême le chemin de Compostelle par petits bouts avec l'une de mes soeurs chaque année, ça nou spoermet de nous retrouver pour une petite semaine de rando. Je devrais faire un petit blog là dessus.

Annushka said...

Nice post, your blog is great!!!