La naissance, la vie et la mort du Christ
R; Alice Guy / Victorin Jasset. K: Anatole Thiberville. Ba: Henri Ménessier / Robert-Jules Garnier. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1906
“The film, which was directed by Alice Guy Blaché for Gaumont in 1906, is in many ways quite a different film from Pathé’s various cuts, though interestingly it also uses intertitle cards to literally give the title of the scene we are about to witness, which makes compiling a scene guide relatively easy. (…)
In nearly all cases the scene announced by the preceding title card consists of only one shot. There are two exceptions. The first is ‘Saint Veronica’ where the first shot captures the moment Veronica captures Jesus’ image on her cloth, and then cuts to a slightly later mid-shot of her alone holding the cloth. The second is ‘The Resurrection’ where the scene starts inside the cave where the tomb is while we see Jesus be resurrected and the guards react in fear. Then we move outside the cave to see the arrival of the woman, and then we are taken back inside the cave where the women witness the empty tomb.
Interestingly, if you were solely looking at the images in the resurrection scene, one might assume that the soldiers’ fear is because they see the resurrected Jesus, but given how the angels work in this film, not least the way they appear and re-appear, it does leave open the interpretation that the soldiers cannot actually see the angels or the resurrected Jesus, they just see the empty tomb. It is only the audience who sees the full picture. (…)
Of the 25 scenes, only three (‘The Samaritan’, ‘The Miracle of Jairus’ Daughter’ and ‘Mary Magdalene Washes the Feet of Jesus’) are connected with neither Jesus’ birth or passion. The first of these scenes was popular in the early silent era, but for many years was ignored, at least until more recent times.
What is noticeable about these three scenes is that they are three, relatively rare, episodes of the gospels where the main character, apart from Jesus, is a woman. That, combined with the way that the film includes Veronica and ends on the women finding the empty tomb without the male disciples are among the factors that have led to some to see this as a feminist picture.”
>>> Feuillade’s La nativité on this site: A Biblical Thriller
>>> Nonguet’s La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ: Lucien Nonguet