Ferrara's provocative answer to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is - how very apt - a film within a film. Juliette Binoche plays Marie Palesi, who plays Mary Magdalene in the film 'This Is My Blood' by the brilliant but presumptuous director Tony Childress (Matthew Modine), who himself also plays the role of Jesus. After the shooting, Maria get stuck in her role: she doesn't play Mary, she becomes Mary and instead of returning to New York, leaves for Jerusalem for a life of pious dedication to God. In the meantime, in New York, the première of the film is greeted by fierce protests from Orthodox Jews, who also get incited by the director himself. When the famous talk-show host Ted Younger (a virtuoso role by Forest Whitaker) spends a week on prime time looking for the historic truth about Jesus, he also invites Tony and Mary on his show. The underlying question of Mary in the end is: does deeper faith lead to an ultimate form of love or to religious mania? A nice detail is that the experts invited on the talk-show really are eminent scientists. The film is in a certain sense subversive in the way that it questions the role of women in Christianity, with different perspectives on the role of Mary Magdalene: was she a whore, the wife of Jesus or a disciple? Contemporary maestro Ferrara used this angry but sensational film (in the good sense of the word) to demolish the myth of spirituality. (SdH)

Filmmaker
Abel Ferrara
Country
Italy, France, USA
Year
2005
Medium
35mm
Length
83’
Language
English
Producer
De Nigris Productions, Central Films, Associated Filmmakers Inc., Roberto De Nigris
Sales
Wild Bunch
Writer
Abel Ferrara, Simone Lageoles, Mario Isabella
Cinematography
Abel Ferrara, Stefano Falivene
Editor
Langdon F. Page, Fabio Nunziata
Production Design
Frank DeCurtis
Sound Design
Claudio Marani
Music
Francis Kuipers
Cast
Juliette Binoche, Forest Whitaker, Stefania Rocca
Website
https://wildbunch.biz/movie/mary