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.
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 bearing his cross
Scene from the moviehere.
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.