Hollywood Blockbusters and the Holy Season of Lent

Blurays arrived today: “The Robe” (1953), “The Passion of the Christ” (2004), “Quo Vadis” (1951), and “Ben-Hur” (1925 & 1959). I already own the DVDs, but find that older titles — especially filmed in Technicolor — look magnificent on Bluray. “The Robe” (the first feature filmed in widescreen  Cinemascope) should look amazing.  (The DVDs are donated to my church library.)

It might seem shallow watching Hollywood blockbusters during the holy season of Lent, especially fictional ones (all but “The Passion” are fictions set against religious and secular history), but isn’t it the themes that matter?

Jesus Christ frequently used parables, which is what these magnificent films are. They’re not only spectacular Hollywood productions, but also moving explorations of faith, self-sacrifice, and what it means be Christian — the gifts and sacrifices.

The foo foo write-off Hollywood’s older Biblical epics as stilted and leaden — which is nothing more than shallow hipster-speak for “sincere” (my thanks to Ezra Dulis for translating). Man alive, if there’s anything our culture could use a little more of, it’s sincerity. Also, from an artistic point of view, sincerity is much harder to execute than snark and ironic distance.

Regardless, I do love these films. They move me, make me love my faith all the more; and in a good way, shame me a little.

Whether it’s Christ or Richard Burton; watching someone die willingly in service to God does put my little problems into proper perspective.  

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