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The Passion of Christ
The colossal is directed in 2004 by Mel Gibson. Income boom, but great controversy over excessive violence and accusations of anti-Semitism
Tonight airs (9.25 pm, Channel 9) “The Passion of Christ”, Mel Gibson’s film starring Jim Caviezel. The film, shot in Italy and mainly in Matera and Craco, a ghost town in the Lucanian province, narrates the last days of Jesus, from his arrest in the Garden of Olives to his death on the cross and resurrection. To obtain greater realism, the characters speak in the languages of the time (Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic, the latter was the language of Jesus) which are subtitled in modern idioms. Costing $ 30 million, the film had an extraordinary box office success, grossing over $ 611 million internationally. “The Passion of Christ” sparked great controversy for both extreme violence and accusations of anti-Semitism. Criticism divided between those who consider the work a masterpiece of images and “realism” and those who reject the many bloody scenes, the style falls and the unsolicited horror moments. In November 2016 Mel Gibson announced the start of filming for the sequel, which will be titled “Resurrection” and is expected to be released in late 2020. Pending the airing of the original, here are 12 things you may not know.
The vicissitudes of the protagonist
The protagonist of the film Jim Caviezel experienced many vicissitudes during the shooting. In fact, the actor dislocated his shoulder in a scene in which the 70 kg wooden cross falls on him. But it didn’t end there. In an interview with Newsweek, the star said he was really hit by two lashes (one caused him a scar of more than 30 cm on his back). Caviezel also admitted that he was struck by lightning both during the filming of the Sermon on the Mount and in the crucifixion scene. Finally he suffered from hypodermia and pneumonia as he shot numerous semi-naked scenes during the winter in Matera.
In bed with makeup
For the scourging scenes, Jim Caviezel had to undergo a 10-hour make-up. However, in order not to waste the make-up work when the weather conditions were unsuitable for filming, the actor went to sleep with his make-up.
“The Passion of Christ” is the religious film that has achieved the highest grossing of all time. It is also the foreign language film with subtitles that has grossed the most in the history of the American box office (370 million dollars).
In most scenes where Caviezel plays dying Jesus on the cross, the actor has been replaced with a robotic impersonator, made of faux leather, capable of moving his head and limbs. Robotic reconstruction, worth $ 350,000, was also used for the time of nailing to the cross.
The first choice
Before choosing Jim Caviezel for the part of Jesus, the American director had thought of Macaulay Culkin. However, he soon realized that the actor from “Mama I Missed the Plane” was still too young (at the time 24 years old) to play Jesus. In filming year 2003, Caviezel was 35 years old.
Rosalinda Celentano’s diet
In the film there are many Italian actors. Among these the most famous are: Monica Bellucci, Sergio Rubini, Claudia Gerini, Sabrina Impacciatore, Luca Lionello and Rosalinda Celentano. The latter plays Satan: to have a malnourished and emaciated appearance, Rosalinda followed a diet based on beans and rice only.
The conversion of the crew
After the experience on the set, many cast and crew members converted to Catholicism. Among these also Luca Lionello who played Giuda Iscariota and who until then had defined himself an atheist.
The film was banned in some Islamic countries such as Bahrain and Kuwait where Jesus is considered a prophet and religion forbids showing the faces of the prophets. In Malaysia, however, where there is a Christian minority, tickets to see the film were sold in the churches of the country.
On April 7, 2004, the day the film was released and Ash Wednesday, Peggy Scott, a 56-year-old advertiser from Wichita, Kansas, suffered a heart attack while watching the crucifixion scene at the cinema. Later she died in the hospital.
The body of Jesus
“The Passion of Christ” is the only film showing the naked Jesus in the resurrection scene: it is the last image of the film, before the closing credits.