Question about "The Passion" movie
February 29, 2004 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I just watched "The Passion" . I have a question about something in the film which I didn't understand. Not really a spoiler (if thats possible here) but my question is within. [More]

Towards the end of the scourging, a woman walks by in low motion holding a baby-like thing that looked way too much like Darth Vader with his helmet off. Whats this supposed to be or signify, exactly?
posted by Fupped Duck to Religion & Philosophy (16 answers total)
As silly as it sounds, I'm pretty sure that thing was Satan, which we see ultimately defeated when Jesus dies.

I think. It was pretty stupid whatever it was.
posted by Doug at 10:43 AM on February 29, 2004

It was Lucifer.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:50 AM on February 29, 2004

Response by poster: why was he an infant? Is this symbolism Biblical or Mel's?
posted by Fupped Duck at 12:26 PM on February 29, 2004

reading a few sites (1, 2) it sounds like the person carrying the baby was the devil.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:33 PM on February 29, 2004

i'm pretty sure it's not biblical, maybe some catholic thing though.
posted by rhyax at 12:43 PM on February 29, 2004

maybe some catholic thing though.

no, not really "some catholic thing".
it is quite unfortunate that Gibson's own brand of Medieval Catholicism, thanks to this movie, gets promoted in the US as some kind of "some catholic thing". it isn't.

in the Gospels you don't see the devil appearing as much as he (or she, since at the beginning of the movie the devil is played by a woman, Rosalinda Celentano) does in Gibson's movie.

also, Catholic (as in Vatican-approved, non-fringe, non-cult, non-Lefevrian) theology does not make the sheer amount of physical suffering (the Gospels having not been written by the Marquis de Sade, by the way) endured by Jesus very relevant.
in other words, it is not necessary to believe that the Jesus physically suffered more than any other human being had ever done or will ever do -- unless of course one belongs to Gibson's brand of fringe Lefevrian Catholicism.

and maybe that's why the American Protestant Religious Right seems to like this movie much more than mainstream Catholics do, Gibson's "Catholicism" notwithstanding
posted by matteo at 1:42 PM on February 29, 2004

as a sidenote, how delicious the irony that the best (and most theologically correct) movies ever made about Jesus have both been made by openly gay filmakers, Marxist maverick Pierpaolo Pasolini and Tory churchgoer Franco Zeffirelli

posted by matteo at 1:49 PM on February 29, 2004

One explanation I read somewhere was that is Satan carrying the Antichrist. Sounds good to me.
posted by mischief at 1:57 PM on February 29, 2004

Here's the best interpretation that I have come to so far. I believe that Gibson is referring to Genesis 3 in this scene, just as he did in the opening scene when Jesus crushes the head of the serpent in the garden. Here's part of the passage:
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,

"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."
I think Gibson is trying to portray the enmity between the woman's offspring (which is Jesus -- typologically, Eve's offspring; literally, Mary's offspring) and Satan's offspring, which is symbolized through the demonic infant being carried by Satan in this scene. It's one of the Biblical themes Gibson is trying to emphasize throughout the film. I don't know that it's particularly Catholic, though.
posted by marcusb at 2:26 PM on February 29, 2004

"She is paralleled on screen by Satan, played by Rosalinda Celentano as a black-cowled, androgynous bystander. After the scourging, Satan holds a grotesque child in mockery of the old Adam, and also of Mary’s eventual pietà." from FirstThings.

I haven't seen the film and so I don't know if that makes any sense, but I thought I would post it as a possible answer to the question.
posted by suleikacasilda at 3:12 PM on February 29, 2004

Raised Catholic, I have never heard anything about this reference before now (haven't seen the movie either). That said, Gibson isn't actually Roman Catholic. He's an ultra-conservative who rejected most of Second Vatican II's changes, such as rejecting mass being said in the vernacular and the Priest being allowed to face the crowd and not having to be raised way above the congregation.
posted by jmd82 at 3:21 PM on February 29, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all for your answers.
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:28 PM on February 29, 2004

I thought it was supposed to be Sin, who, in Paradise Lost, is Satan's grotesque daughter.
posted by SimStupid at 8:12 PM on February 29, 2004

I haven't seen the film, but "a baby-like thing that looked way too much like Darth Vader with his helmet off"? I just assumed it was a walk-on part from Mel Gibson's father.
posted by Pericles at 5:04 AM on March 1, 2004

I don't think Paradise Lost has been accepted as canonical by any mainstream denomination yet, SimStupid.
posted by signal at 5:25 AM on March 1, 2004

remember, it's a movie, not theology, huge difference. and the theological lucifer, unlike the theological christ never inahbited the earth as a man.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:59 AM on March 1, 2004

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