Christus (1916)

Article 4773 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-4-2015
Directed by Giulio Antamoro
Featuring Alberto Pasquali, Amleto Novelli, Leda Gys
Country: Italy
What it is: Telling of the Christ story

The story of Jesus Christ is told from his birth to his ascension into heaven.

I was able to find this movie on YouTube, and though the title cards were in Italian, I didn’t foresee any problems with following it because of the familiarity of the story. And, for the most part, I was correct. As might be expected from a silent movie, it concentrates on the events that can be told visually rather than on Jesus’s preaching, and since the emphasis is on spectacle, we get lots of crowd scenes and plenty of special effects. Many of the latter are the expected ones (we get a scene of Jesus walking on the water) while others are not expected, as they seem to be elaborations of story elements that do not appear to be in the Bible; for example, there’s a scene where a large group of angels magically appear to set the table for the last supper and then disappear again. Some of the scenes are very well done, but others are a bit dull, though my inability to read the Italian titles may play into this. The movie also recreates some famous paintings, such as da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.

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