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Jesus Of Montreal Review

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A Canadian theatre troupe are asked to put on a Passion Play, but when they modernise it and begin taking cast emembers from the very same low places that Christ would have chosen - porn industry workers and the like, the church withdraws its support, persecuiting them, and their lives begin to mirror those of the characters they are portraying.

★★★★

The modern-day relevance of the New Testament becomes abundantly clear when a young Canadian actor is persecuted by the same conservative clergy who asked him to update their Passion Play. Lothaire Bluteau makes for a soft-spoken but strong-willed Christ figure who recruits his disciple-like actors from low places (porn voiceovers, exploitative commercials), only to face intolerance and moral hypocrisy at every turn.

Denys Arcand's film now looks and sounds very '80s, but it's an intriguing examination of the problems facing anyone who tries to give Jesus a human, psychological reality. Martin Scorsese is no doubt nodding in agreement, and Mel Gibson's ultra-traditional telling of the tale (that Arameic thing was never the radical step everyone thought it was) proves the rule.

Despite a little bit of unfavourable ageing, Arcand's effort successfully depicts the evergreen hypocrasy that exists in some modern Catholics.