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?"
I would not be surprised if he had met the family given that Mel worked for him but he may not really know them well either. Does anyone here know them personally who is able to discuss it without betraying personal confidences ?
I would not label it a good longterm marriage. I would label it a marriage that survived his sins. We don't need to go further than he did in the interview.
The point is he repented. He obtained help. That counts for something.
I want Mel to do well. I want him to be a good man, a good husband, a good father. "I just didn't want to go on," he told Sawyer.
"Everyone's got something," he added. "I would get addicted to anything, anything at all. Okay? Doesn't matter what it is drugs, booze, anything. You name it coffee, cigarettes, anything. Alright? I'm just one of these guys who is like that. That's my flaw.
"I checked into a few places, and sorted myself out," Gibson said. "I didn't make a big noise about it. There's no point in doing that. You know? I mean, the real medal goes to my wife, who's a wonderful woman."
At his lowest, Gibson said he considered jumping out a window.
"I was looking down thinking, 'Man, this is just easier this way,' " he said. "You have to be mad, you have to be insane, to despair in that way. But that is the height of spiritual bankruptcy. There's nothing left."
The "spiritual bankruptcy" led him to reexamine Christianity, and ultimately to create The Passion of the Christ "my vision with God's help" of the final hours in the life of Jesus.
"I just didn't want to go on," he told Sawyer.