A podcast devoted to the wild and weird and wonderful world of the Jesus Film, from the arthouse to the grindhouse and beyond. Hosted by Dr Aaron McMullan.
5: The Gospel Road, The Hollywood Jesus, and The Troubadour of the Anawim
For this fifth episode, we have followed the star of the East all the way back to 1973, where, fittingly, we find five very different Jesus films and at least five very different Jesuses vying for our attention. For the most part, however, our focus will be trained on just one of those five pictures: Robert Elfstrom’s The Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Told & Sung By Johnny Cash. Approached from a variety of angles, the film is framed against the backdrop of the faltering revival of the Hollywood Jesus Film inaugurated by the release of Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings in 1961; situated within the context of Johnny Cash’s burgeoning mythos and especially in light of the spiritual re-awakening that presaged his recovery from years of steady substance abuse in the late 1960s; and read with and against the other Jesus Films released that year, Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell principal among them. The episode also explores the film’s innovative use of sound and song, its complex marriage of competing Christologies, its many formal eccentricities, and its navigation of the various inconsistencies on evidence across the four gospels. In addition, a bit of genre theory, some chat about the book of Isaiah, some stuff on those monumental prison albums… so on and so forth.
4: Revelation, Rapture, Reds, and Revival
In this episode, we're wading into the weird old waters of Christploitation and Evangelical Prophecy Horror, exploring the ways in which certain tenets of fundamentalist Christian doctrine pertaining to the Second Coming and the End of Days found expression in two low budget, high stakes independent features produced in the early 1970s: Ron Ormond’s deliriously gruesome If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971), and Donald W. Thompson’s widely circulated rapture thriller A Thief In The Night (1972). The episode situates readings of both films within the wider context of a discussion touching upon rapture anxiety, premillennial dispensationalism, revivalism, and the evangelical thriller’s utilisation and weaponization of elements more readily associated with exploitation cinema. Follow on Twitter @MondoChrist. Bibliographies, web links and all the rest at www.mondochristalmighty.com.
3: Visions of Ecstasy
This episode takes as its subject Nigel Wingrove’s notorious short feature Visions of Ecstasy (1989), exploring its interpretation of the autobiographical writings of Teresa of Ávila, its merging of mysticism and sexuality, and its eroticisation of the figure of Jesus in the context of a wider discussion touching upon negative theology, censorship, sacrilege, and the great blasphemy boom of the mid-to-late 1980s. Follow on Twitter @MondoChrist
2: "It is accomplished!"
This episode looks at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ as depicted in two very different, very controversial films produced in two very different cultural contexts: Julien Duvivier's "Golgotha" (1935) and Nader Talebzadeh's "Jesus, The Spirit Of God" (2007). The episode also explores how the death and resurrection is covered in the New Testament and in certain of the non-canonical and non-Christian gospels that both films draw from in different ways. Fascism, the sublime, Sam Cooke... It's all go. Tweet @MondoChrist
In this first episode, we provide an overview of the aims of the podcast, a brief introduction to the Jesus Film, some discussion of the kinds of films likely to be covered, and an indication of the kinds of approaches likely to be taken. Follow the podcast on twitter at @MondoChrist. Bibliographies and filmographies and contact details and all the rest at www.mondochristalmighty.com