The passion of Christ

The Passion of Christ ( The Passion of the Christ ) is an American film written, produced and directed by Mel Gibson , released in 2004 . This film about the last hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth , shot entirely in the languages supposedly spoken in Judea in i st century ( Aramaic , Hebrew and Latin ), enjoyed a worldwide success. However,historians emphasize the fact that at the time, the language of communication with the Romans was not Latin , but theGreek . He was the object of a sharp criticism 1 , both on the question of antisemitism , on respect for historical realities, and the violence of the spectacle.

In 2016 , Braveheart scriptwriter Randall Wallace announces that Mel Gibson is directing a sequel to the resurrection of Christ 2 .


The last twelve hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth , the Passion : Jesus prays at the Mount of Olives and resists the temptation of Satan . Captured by the Jewish authorities, Jesus is flogged after his denunciation by Judas to the High Priest Caiaphas and his court. We then see his judgment by the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate and his passage before Herod resulting in his death sentence. The film is interspersed with flashbacks on key moments in the public life of Christ, such as the Sermon of the Beatitudes . The film ends with the rise of Jesus on Calvary, hiscrucifixionwith Mary and Mary Magdalene as witnesses, then her resurrection.

The question of anti-Semitism

According to historian Geza Vermes , this Mel Gibson film would stir up anti-Semitic hatred . This historian criticizes the director for having ignored the historical context in which the gospels were written without, however, questioning the veracity of the elements portrayed in it; this context sheds light on some New Testament statements that may be considered antisemitic today, and that responded to other intentions. Thus, the Gospels mitigate Pontius Pilate’s responsibility in the killing of Jesus, and place this almost entire responsibility on the Jews., which is stricto facto true. But, says the historian, the writers of the Gospels were extremely suspect in the eyes of the Roman authorities, they should therefore spare 3 . Moreover, according to the historian, Jesus, judged according to the Jewish laws, was in no way liable to the death penalty; he was not guilty, in particular, of blasphemy. On the other hand, Jesus did worry about the Roman colonial power. Thus, according to G. Vermes, Mel Gibson’s film does not take into account the achievements of historical research and merely reproduce anti-Jewish Christian discourse two thousand four .

Jewish organizations have accused Mel Gibson of evoking old anti-Semitic stereotypes in his film The Passion of the Christ , which is part of a long list of accusations against Mr. Gibson for the same reason, which he defended and explained, according to Reuters 5 .

The question of the historicity of the facts mentioned in the film

According to the historian Geza Vermes , the film The Passion of Christ is “historically wrong” ( ” Historically wrong ” ) 6 .

The historian Antoine de Baecque titles an article devoted to The Passion of Christ : “an absolute stupidity from the historical point of view” 7 “.


Paul Verhoeven , filmmaker and member of the Jesus Seminar , says the film lacks historical realism in The Passion of Christ : “we do not learn to know Jesus, we do not know what he was defending” . According to Paul Verhoeven, Mel Gibson bases his film on “a dogmatic religious thought : non-Christians will end up in hell ” . Verhoeven also considers Mel Gibson’s Christianity to be ” psychotic Catholicism ” in the sense that “in the Passion of Christwe do not meet a benevolent God or mercy. His God is not very far from the cruel Mexican deity Quetzalcoatl , who constantly demanded human sacrifices ” ; Dutch filmmaker highlights the extremely bloody character of the scene of the crucifixion 8 .


Mel Gibson’s film is a worldwide success. In July 2010, it is ranked fourteenth most profitable film in the history of American cinema with more than 370 million dollars in revenue 9 and 51 th in the world with nearly 612 million 10 . He is nominated for three Oscars, Oscar for Best Photography , Oscar for Best Film Music , Oscar for Best Makeup , but receives no awards.

The film was released on DVD , VHS , and D-VHS in the United States on August 31, 2004 and more than 2.4 million items are sold in one day.

Technical sheet

  • French title: La Passion du Christ
  • Original title: The Passion of the Christ
  • Director : Mel Gibson
  • Screenplay : Mel Gibson, Davey Bruce , Stephen McEveety , after the work of St. Matthew , St. Mark , St. Luke and St. John
  • Photography: Caleb Deschanel
  • Music: John Debney and Gingger Shankar
  • Editing: John Wright
  • Sets: Francesco Frigeri and Carlo Gervasi
  • Production: Bruce Davey , Mel Gibson and Stephen McEveety
  • Production Company: Icon Productions
  • Distribution Company: Newmarket Films (United States), Quinta Communications (France)
  • Budget: 30 million $
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Shooting languages: Aramaic , Latin
  • Genre: historical drama
  • Duration: 127 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  United States , Canada : 
    •  France :
    •  Belgium :.
  • Public: Not allowed under 12 years old.


  • Jim Caviezel : Jesus
  • Maia Morgenstern : Mary
  • Christo Zhivkov : John
  • Francesco de Vito : Stone
  • Monica Bellucci : Mary Magdalene
  • Luca Lionello : Judas
  • Hristo Chopov : Pontius Pilate
  • Rosalinda Celentano : Satan
  • Claudia Gerini : Claudia Procula
  • Fabio Sartor : Abenader
  • Sergio Rubini : Dismas
  • Toni Bertorelli : Annas
  • Roberto Bestazzoni : Malchus
  • Francesco Cabras : Gesmas
  • Giovanni Capalbo : Cassius
  • Mattia Sbragia : Caiphas , the high priest
  • Olek Mincer : Nicodemus
  • Jarreth J. Merz : Simon
  • Matt Patresi : Janus
  • Giacinto Ferro : Joseph of Arimathea
  • Pedro Sarubbi : Barabbas
  • Luca of Dominicis : Herod


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Filming locations

The film was shot in Italy at Cinecittà Studios ( Rome ) (where Jerusalem was restored) in Craco ( Basilicata ) and in the Matera region (for crucifixion scenes), a 2,000-year-old city that was shot St. Matthew’s Gospel of Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1965.


seesections “Trivia”, “Other Details”, “Did you know? “,” Quotations “,” Around … “,  etc. , may be inappropriate in articles  (July 2016) .
  • The film The Passion of the Christ came out on Ash Wednesday of 2004, the day of the beginning of Lent among Catholics.
  • Mel Gibson claims to have been an actor in the film, so we see his hand in the film, tending a nail to crucify Jesus.
  • According to Mel Gibson , “The shooting was quite painful. Everyone got sick, Jim Caviezel took off his shoulder on the cross and even received whipping during the flogging scene. Everyone more or less suffered while shooting 11 “.
  • The reverend father Jean-Marie Charles-Roux was chaplain of the film crews of the movie 12 .
  • Pedro Sarubbi , who plays the role of Barabbas , finds faith during filming. He recounts his conversion in a book entitled Da Barabba in Gesù – Convertito da un sguardo ( From Barabbas to Jesus, converted by a look ), published in 2012.
  • Jesus’ interpreter, Jim Caviezel had to submit to makeup sessions exceeding seven hours for the last scenes of the film, recounting the crucifixion of Christ.

Notes and references

  1. ↑  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ Jesus returns: Mel Gibson is preparing a sequel to The Passion of the Christ [ archive ]
  3. ↑ Geza Vermes , “Celluloid brutality”, The Guardian , February 27 2004, “To admit that Rome was fully blamed for the death of the crucified Jewish Christ would have made the fresh converts politically suspect.” Christians were an unpopular section.
  4. ↑ Geza Vermes , [ archive ]
  5. ↑ “Mel Gibson fires back at anti-Semitism claim”, April 12, 2012,  [ archive ] ; about “The Passion of the Christ” specifically: “In the past, Jewish groups accused Gibson of evoking age-old stereotypes about Jews in 2004’s” Passion of the Christ, “
  6. ↑ G. Vermes,  [ archive ]
  7. ↑ By Anthony BAECQUE and Annette Levy-Willard, Gerard Mordillat and Jerome Prieur, documentary, flush out against the truths of the film “An absolute stupidity of historical perspective”, Libération, 31 March 2004, http: // www.  [ archive ]
  8. ↑ P. Verhoeven , Jesus of Nazareth , trans. by AL Vignaux, 2015, p.  44 .
  9. ↑ (en) The most profitable films  [ archive ] , on the Box Office Mojo website, accessed July 22, 2010
  10. ↑ (en) Ranking  [ archive ] on Box Office Mojo website, accessed July 22, 2010
  11. ↑ The Nave o 146 February 2004.
  12. ↑ Christ in all Passions  [ archive ]

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