How To Make a Movie About Paul

Peter Chattaway is, as always, right on top of the announcement that there is a film about Paul in the works, with Hugh Jackman in the lead. Given the famous anecdote in the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla which describes him as short, bald, bow-legged, and unibrowed, I have always pictured Paul more as Wallace Shawn than the strapping Jackman. Even though Thecla was not well accepted as a legitimate description of Paul, one can still see its effect on representations of the apostle in early Christian art.

It is true that Paul is fairly self-deprecating in his letters, as when he reminds the church in Corinth that he did not initially come across as a very charismatic or eloquent man (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). But they were persuaded nonetheless, and a small community of Christians grew amidst the bustle of this thriving crossroads of Greece and Rome. They were compelled. There was something about Paul they found wise and true, and even a little bit revolutionary.

This personality of Paul lies between the lines of much of the New Testament, and is an important part of understanding how the church bloomed so quickly north and west across the Roman empire. His rhetoric was often antagonistic. He read the Hebrew scriptures in odd ways. His work among... Read More

The Americans, Religion, and TV

In a recent review of the excellent FX cold war era spy thriller, The Americans, an Atlantic writer asked: “Do any Christians watch this show? I’d be curious to learn whether they think the show has become too offensive toward religion for its own good.” Yes, Christians do watch this show. I haven’t written much about it here at Filmwell, but have tweeted a few times about how well the show has depicted Christian youth culture... Read More

Filmwell Recommends – Streaming in March

Here are some things to keep in mind after you finish up Season 3 of House of Cards… All of these are available for streaming in March.   Movies: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (iTunes – March 20) Angriest Man in Brooklyn (Netflix) Chef (Netflix) Song of the Sea (iTunes) Paisan (Fandor, March 10) La commare secca (Fandor, March 10) Tokyo Drifter (Fandor, March 24) Life Itself (Netflix) A Summer’s Tale (Netflix) “Listen... Read More

Hard To Be A God (German, 2014)

I have only had the opportunity to see a few of Aleksei German’s films. But watching either Khrustalyov, My Car! or Hard to Be a God is like seeing 8 1/2 or 2001 or The Mirror for the first time. You know that what you are seeing is going to change the way you watch anything from here on out and there is nothing you can do about it. Critics and film theorists talk about the thing that makes something a truly great film. This quality can be described... Read More