10 April 2009

Essential Easter Viewing

Essential Easter Viewing (And a touch of Passover, too!)
By Kristin Battestella

I’m later than I’d like in this informative list of films, TV shows, and documentaries for the Easter Holidays, but I thought what the heck, it’s never too late for some quality, wholesome, inspiration, family viewing-am I right? Naturally, I hope to write in more detail on some of these greats.

Here’s some Passion centric viewing for Christians and even non-believers.

Ben-Hur - Who can forget Charlton Heston’s Judah as he rows his way from a path of revenge towards redemption with Christ? The chariots, the lepers-even if you don’t like some of the over-the-top styles of fifties films, you must see this film once in your lifetime.

The Passion of The Christ- Mel Gibson’s controversial Passion Play tour de force is not for the squeamish or folks under 15, and its not the best film to introduce newcomers to Christ’s ministry. Nevertheless, this bloody film can inspire the faithful by lavishly detailing the brutality of the Crucifixion.

Jesus: The Complete Story- This Discovery channel series devotes almost three hours to exploring Jesus. From his birth to his ascension, it’s refreshing to see a program tackle as many of Jesus’ aspects from as many angles as possible. Narrated by Avery Books, young and old can be inspired here. In the Footsteps of Jesus is another fine series that also can’t be found on television anymore.

The Robe- Yes, Richard Burton tends to over act just a tad, but this lovely story about the centurion who crucified Christ and takes his cloak leads us on a haunting road to salvation. Though tame to most, the execution montage may be upsetting to kids. It’s beautiful, yet tragic imagery makes this one staple holiday viewing. Victor Mature also stars in the sub par, but still wholesome Demetrius and the Gladiators.

Elmer Gantry- Burt Lancaster gives an Oscar winning performance here as the titular con man who starts out as a fake and pays the ultimate price before learning the error of his ways. Not necessarily an Easter film, Elmer Gantry nonetheless shows us how sin and salvation are never apart in our lives-in fact; they are closer than we think.

King of Kings/ The Greatest Story Ever Told- I don’t mean it in a mean way, but if you must have the television on while the family’s about for the holidays, these two lengthy epics are the perfect way to keep the true meaning of Easter about the house.

I haven’t forgotten about our Friends celebrating Passover, but there’s really only one big one:

The Ten Commandments- You can’t go wrong with this 1956 classic anytime of year. Teen audiences may prefer the 2006 miniseries of the same name, and for the kids there’s the charming Prince of Egypt; but there’s nothing like a Cecil B. DeMille epic to get you into the spirit of things. This is one of my favorite movies ever. Growing up, I used to watch it daily-I kid you not. I learned how to make sheets into togas and pin towels to my head, but strangely, I always preferred Yul Brynner’s ruthless Rameses to Charlton Heston’s booming Moses. The music, the exceptional cast, the dialogue-there’s so many iconic and dare I say divine moments here for any person of faith, young or old.

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