Monday, August 11, 2003
Klaatu (Michael Rennie) in The Day the Earth Stood Still

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Recognizing Christ-Figures in the Movies

Jesus is alive and well and living in popular film. Here are a few pointers to help you recognize his cinematic incarnations.

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ::: pheatures ::: ::: Read the whole thing



As a writer of fiction, I am constantly drawn to biblical allegory, specifically, Jesus in today’s society. While it’s interesting to note all these obvious or subtle references to the Big Kahuna’s Little Kahuna, I should take this opportunity to add a couple of my own.

“Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk.
“South Park” and its depiction of Christ as a phone-in psychologist.

While the aforementioned Christ figures are amusing, they should be pondered over, just like all satire, religion-themed or not.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12 Aug 03 at 06:58 PM

I’d like to add TRON to the list. :)

My user…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 13 Aug 03 at 04:08 AM

Good article.  I wish you’d push it more, though, and of course this is an interesting study in relationship to literature as well.  Christ figures are commonly associated the death and resurrection (Neo and ET), usually for redemptive or savific purposes.  I don’t know that this means much, usually, except that Christ is still a viable cultural icon for self sacrifice.  I think _how_ the Christ image is appropriated is more important to the individual work than _that_ the Christ image is appropriated—what work is this image doing?


Posted by Jim Rovira on 13 Aug 03 at 04:35 PM

The film “About A Boy” also deserves mention. Will, who is the definition of self-centeredness, makes the ultimate sacrifice for Marcus by helping him perform “Killing Me Softly” at Marcus’ school talent show. Wills refers to this as “social suicide,” and afterwards narrates that he was killed by the audience, thus taking upon himself what was destined for Marcus.

What is interesting about Will’s role as the Christ figure is that his behavior is decidedly un-Christlike during most of the film. Prior to this event, it could be said that Marcus was a Christ figure for Will.

There are no clues, however, to Will as a Christ figure anywhere else in the film’s narrative (at least none that I could find). So I am undecided on whether the symbolic nature of Will’s sacrifice is intentional or simply an implication on my part.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 22 Oct 03 at 03:52 PM
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