Skip to comments.Zeffirelli Brands Mel Gibson's Passion Anti-Semitic; Calls Director “Bloodthirsty”
Posted on 02/26/2004 2:26:41 PM PST by mgist
Zeffirelli Brands Mel Gibson's Passion Anti-Semitic; Calls Director Bloodthirsty
Thu Feb 26,12:12 PM ET
Fashion Wire Daily February 26, 2004 - New York - Franco Zeffirelli, the last person before Mel Gibson (news) to direct a major feature film on the life of Christ and someone who has himself directed the actor as Hamlet, has lambasted Gibson's controversial film The Passion as anti-Semitic.
"They tell me that in America, despite the ban on minors, that mothers absolutely want their children to see the film, in order to understand the suffering Jesus underwent to save us, Zeffirelli wrote in Thursdays edition of Corriere della Sera, Milans leading daily newspaper, continuing, I am of a completely different opinion: what conclusion can one reach (from the film), in particular young people, other than that his blood was shed because of the Jews?"
Zeffirelli, who directed Gibson in his 1991 version of Hamlet, adds that "once I knew that Gibson had decided to make a film on the Passion of Christ I began to get worried. I knew well that the family culture in which he was raised, dominated by a father who considers the Vatican (news - web sites) councils the tomb of Christianity, and suspected already that rather than the divine message of Christ, what pushed Mel into this difficult project was (an obsession) with strips of flesh, his own torments and blood."
The veteran Italian director also recounts his own curious experiences of working with Gibson, recalling one scene in Hamlet where Gibson intervened on the set when British actor Ian Holm (news), playing Polonius, acted out his character's death with his eyes closed.
Zeffirelli recalls Gibson saying: "A wounded animal about to die does not stay with a fixed look, but rolls its eyes in the final spasms, first together, then in the opposite direction, like a cross eyed person. It's almost funny."
"And how would you know?" responded Holm, according to Zeffirelli.
"I've seen plenty die, replied Gibson, Zeffirelli claims. When I can, to relax, I go to my farm and kill a lot of calves on the days when they are slaughtered."
The Italian director further stresses that, unlike Gibson's life of Christ, his own 1977 film "Jesus of Nazareth" was written by the famed English author Anthony Burgess with Suso Cecchi D'Amico taking into account the principles laid down by the Second Vatican Council, "To render justice to Jews and unburden them of the accusation of Diocide. Zeffirelli finished his article with a question: And now where have we gone back to?"
Hmmm, I am not sure what you mean. From the watching I have done, there are TONS of stories about this movie. Its a phenomenon.
Check that out. I have been reading stories on there all day. Its about 7000 strong.
There were lots of villianous Jewish characters in JESUS OF NAZARETH, including Ian Holm's Zerah, a Temple scribe that isn't even mentioned in Scripture.
I think Zefirelli is jealous that another cinematic version of the story will eclipse his as the most popular.
Actually, Zefirelli is Catholic. His autobiography was interesting reading; he returned to the Church after having a dream about St. Francis(which prompted him to make BROTHER SUN,SISTER MOON). Maybe he's going senile.
Given that this director made Jesus of Nazareth and knows Mel Gibson professionally (and something about the family and how Mel was raised), his opinion is worth considering.
BTW, that was a book I was required to read in public high school English classs in the 70's. (I still haven't forgiven that ugly, dope-smoking, long-haired hippy of a teacher for assigning that worthless book.) You see, this culture war has been going on for quite some time.
Since he's had a long and productive and successful career, and a good longterm marriage and what seem to be a lot of good kids, I have to think that he may just have some very bizarre affects, but is not actually bizarre.
It wasn't required reading for me - I bought it after seeing the movie. I really fell in love with Rossini because of that film (all of the fight scenes were to the overture from La Gaza Ladra)
The last thing Burgess ever did was the screen play for a bizarre paleolithic film called In Search Of Fire. Featuring filfthy Neanderthals, canibalism, cave bear attacks, lots of sex with fat painted chicks, and four or so different invented prehistoric languages that made Aramaic and Latin sound downright friendly. It was a mess...
No wonder Zeffirelli is proud to have had him as the writer of the screen play...
On the other hand, I did rather like Jesus of Nazerath, as well as Romeo and Juliet - all of which reminds me how far we have slid in the last 30 years of this culture war.
I know what you mean. I actually think that he is nervous talking in front of a "live" audience
But you can't argue with a successful life. He's just not cut out to hold a conversation with earthlings.
I'm just commenting on the fact that Zeferelli claims to want to "unburden the Jews of Deicide", yet depicts some Jews negatively in his own film.