Here is a movie that I am thinking of seeing at the Philadelphia Film Festival. It looks like quite a cross-cultural cross-religious experience. I do think that Islam is essentially a spiritual plot to make it difficult for millions to understand who Jesus *really* is, so I am praying about it.
Jesus, the Spirit of God
aka: Issa, Rouhollah
Iran 2007, 100 min
The Islamic view of the life and preaching of Jesus Christ as told in the scriptures of the Koran is depicted in this serious and controversial Iranian drama.
One of the more unusual entries in this year’s Festival, Jesus, the Spirit of God is an Iranian drama on the life and works of Jesus Christ as recounted in the scriptures of the Koran. The result is a serious, non-polemical and thought-provoking look at the man who Christians revere as the Son of God, and Muslims see as a holy man sent to Earth to announce the coming of Mohammed prophet. It is worth noting that the director is a follower of hard-line Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the film is far from anti-Western as it seeks to find the common ground among Christians and Muslims (his views on what Jews believe may not, however, be so inclusive). Director Nader Talebzadeh sees his movie as an Islamic answer to Western productions like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, a film he has publicly praised but sees as quite simply “wrong.” This is especially evident in the film as it depicts the Muslim belief that Jesus was not crucified, but rather it was Judas who was hung on the cross. The film presents Jesus with a fair complexion and dark blond hair, and his preaching is recounted in a serious fashion. With the screenings bracketed by Easter just before and Passover just after, this Islamic view of Jesus won’t result in mass anti-Muslim demonstrations but will make for intense post-screening religious and cross-cultural discussions. (Persian with English subtitles) — Raymond Murray