The Last Temptation of Christ
Between the commercial successes of The Color of Money and Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese directed one of his most adventurous pictures. Based on Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel and adapted for the screen by Paul Schrader (a known adherent to Robert Bresson’s transcendent minimalism), The Last Temptation of Christ presents Jesus as a man torn between being both fully human and divine. Scorsese’s earthy film contrasts Michael Ballhaus’s expressive desert cinematography with Peter Gabriel’s moody, ethno-ambient score. In his pursuit “to do Jesus like Caravaggio,” Scorsese has summoned a fitting band of outsiders: alongside Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, and Barbara Hershey, Scorsese selected David Bowie, Harry Dean Stanton, and John Lurie to bring contemporary flavor to antiquity. Denounced by the religious right before it was ever released and met with picket lines on opening weekend, the film has long been misrepresented as sensationalist and rabble-rousing.
“Scorsese and Schrader have not made a film that panders to the audience—as almost all Hollywood religious epics traditionally have. They have paid Christ the compliment of taking him and his message seriously, and they have made a film that does not turn him into a garish, emasculated image from a religious postcard. Here he is flesh and blood, struggling, questioning, asking himself and his father which is the right way, and finally, after great suffering, earning the right to say, on the cross, ‘It is accomplished.’”—Roger Ebert.
Bing Theater | Free admission. | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or reserve online.