Twenty years after the first and controversial chapter dedicated to the crucifixion of the Christian Messiah, the director of Apocalypto returns to biblical cinema to create a film described as “colossal”. We talk about it in our in-depth analysis.
During the promotion of The Battle of Hawksaw Ridgehis latest film as a director in 2016, Mel Gibson announced seven years ago its intention to develop a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, to date one of the most controversial commercial titles in the history of cinema. Not the first biblical project marked by blasphemy and masochism, thinking for example of The last temptation of Christ by Martin Scorsese, but certainly the most audacious and brutal ever packaged in the authorial or mainstream sphere, with his own precise cinematographic idea and the director’s desire to convey on screen all the physical and psychological pain experienced by the Son of God in the moment of maximum sacrifice Christian.
Furthermore, filmed in Latin, ancient Aramaic and Hebrew for reasons of greater historical realism, the title was received by critics and the general public with extremely divisive opinions, even though at the end of the run in 2004 it grossed the beauty of 612 million dollars against a budget of just 30 million. The intention to proceed with a second chapter has always been cherished, in some measure and manner, but the negotiations never came to fruition and Gibson’s commitments took him towards other shores, especially interpretative ones. In the end, however, the miracle happened The Passion of Christ: Resurrection it’s now a reality, even if the film will probably be very different from the previous one and a cinematic experience waiting to be discovered. Let’s see together why.
A Dante trip
What identifies The Passion of Christ with extreme precision is precisely its realism, a ferocious and slavish attachment to the words of the Gospels in their complementarity. The figure of Christ reflects in its magnificence the human and religious aspect of the same, barely mentioning the most imaginative and otherworldly elements of the sacred writings. Gibson’s Christ is compassion, sweat, anger, sacrifice and blood; that Passion which represents both torment and suffering but also carnal emotion and self-sacrifice, a firm faith in its own foundation and in those ideals which are then the cornerstone of Christian virtues. However tortured and massacred, the body of Christ yields only in human remains but never in those of the soul, which even if wounded heals every injury with love and altruism, defeating death in the firm belief in God. The 2004 film shows the long carnal suffering of Christ until arriving at the moment of liberation from the body in one of the most beautiful endings of Gibson’s cinema. It goes without saying that the sequel will physiologically overcome the human aspect of the Messiah to dedicate itself entirely to the spiritual one, probably reflecting on the consequences and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and trying to go even further, perhaps even into the Kingdom of Heaven, perhaps even showing the face of God. In fact, unfortunately we know very little about the actual plot of the sequel, but those small details leaked by the director and the main actor – still Jim Caviezel – give rise to hope for something new and different, equally ambitious and apparently even more daring.
The Passion of the Christ 2, the start of filming of the sequel announced
In July, Mel Gibson spoke of the film as “of an LSD trip“, noting the existence of two complete screenplays “very different from each other“: “A solid and structured one, close to expectations. The other is a lysergic journey into other worlds, between Heaven and Hell“. The possibility of witnessing a sort of inter-dimensional journey with a biblical background almost as if it were a Dantesque adventure is practically very strong, yet it is likely that Gibson and screenwriter Randall Wallace could dilute these supernatural narrative elements in a feature film for more structured and on topic, telling the three days that passed between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection in this bubble on acid and then return anchored to a more concrete narrative afterwards, during the return among men and the preaching of the Old Testament.
The greatest film ever?
There is definitely anticipation for The Passion of Christ: Resurrection, although we will have to wait a few more months for filming to begin. According to Gibson, in fact, the shooting phase should begin next January 2024, with the director himself confident in a release “very close“. The production roadmap is not clear, but looking at the actual average timing it is impossible to hope for the sequel’s release before winter 2024 or the first months of 2025. Both the author and Caviezel can’t wait to start, however, in the hope that at least this time the controversial interpreter of Christ will not end up in hospital for pneumonia and hypothermia as happened twenty years ago. Indeed, listening to the words of the actor, The Passion of Christ 2 will be “the greatest film ever“, anticipating the possible realization of “a true masterpiece“. Now, however intense and cinematically successful, yes Christ’s passion it wasn’t – and isn’t – exactly a masterpiece of the seventh art, so it’s difficult to imagine that a sequel could be one that could also be set between Heaven and Hell. However, it is right to believe it and wish it to be so, even if Caviezel comes from an almost fundamentalist Catholic-Christian background which makes him one of the most fervent religious interpreters currently around.
The Passion of the Christ 2, Jim Caviezel: “There could be two films”
Just look at his recent participation in the polemical event, for example Sound of Freedom, one of the surprises at the American box office this year. In any case, the star confirmed that he has received the third draft of the project’s screenplay, which means that the work on perfecting it is still in progress but almost complete. It is also worth seeing which names from the old cast will return for this second chapter and which ones will be the new entries in the feature film. At the moment some information is still missing, unfortunately, and the only thing we can do is believe in the success of a film that promises to be one of the most important and talked about of the next film seasons.