Jesus de Montreal

Also known as: Jesus of Montreal
French with English subtitles (1989)

"Looking for Jesus? It is he who will find you."

Very clever and moving. I really liked this one.

A young actor named Daniel is hired to play Jesus in a passion play at a Catholic shrine. Encouraged to update the excruciatingly dull forty-year-old script, he and four other actors create a thought-provoking piece of living theater that includes controversial information about Jesus as an historical figure.

As the actors become emotionally involved in the play, the action begins to parallel the life of Jesus. Daniel recruits the other actors in a way that mimicks Jesus' recruitment of his disciples. The actors are persecuted by the Catholic Church, whose officials are upset about what was done to the passion play. And there is a wonderful Jesus and the money-changers take-off where Daniel goes with one of his actress/disciples to an audition for a beer commercial, the actress is subjected to intense humiliation, and Daniel ends up destroying the place. I particularly liked the lyrics of the commercial jingle about beer being sacred.

Just like the wonderful Invasions Barbares, a film by the same director and including many of the same actors, this is not a movie to rent for Roy Dupuis content. He was in it for about two minutes as one of the cops that arrested Daniel right off the cross. Roy played a similar character in Invasions Barbares, too – both cops.

Despite the lack of Roy content, this is a clever, wonderful movie, well worth watching. And as an extra added bonus for Roy Dupuis fans, I noticed several members of the cast of Scoop were in it, as well.

Four out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

7 comments:

celticmarc said...

OMG Billie !!!

This is one of my top five movies, made in Quebec ("Canadian" movies made elsewhere is this country are (very) different) (yup, 2 cultures). (And I would have to make other lists for other countries, as well for different decades: can you really compare a French movie (La Beauté du Diable) from the 50's to a Wes Anderson one ? (let's say Moonrise Kingdom) Nope)

Having the "advantage" of speaking the same language of the original shooting, one of my fave scenes is of course the massive swearing during rehearsal (just before they order the pizza !! all right ! all right !! all right !!!) I can't see-hear that translated....

Being also a Montreal native, always fun to go where they shot some scenes (and this applies to other movies as well).

I'm Catholic, but only on paper (but this is a different story) and this movie made a powerful impression on me back then. And it still does....today. And it will continue for a long time.

And that speech in front of the big bang ? Wow. A classic (another wow for the similar scene in Fringe, but that's also another story).

And Daniel at the end,in the hospital, arms like on a cross...powerful (and a bit...obvious, but that's ok).

This movie, and also Les Invasions Barbares and Le Déclin de l'Empire Américain, all 3 movies made by the same director, Denys Arcand. Very cynical sometimes, yet a cold shower view of the World. Awesome.

Cool, cool, cool.

ChrisB said...

Until I saw Marc's comment, I did not realize this was a movie you had reviewed. One of my favorites of all time.

This is one of those movies that once you see it, you never forget it. For those of us who are lapsed Catholics, I think it is powerful. But even if you are just slightly interested in how the Christ story could be relevant today, this is worth a watch.

Four out of four just about anythings.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, guys. After my obsession with La Femme Nikita, I bought or rented and reviewed nearly every movie Roy Dupuis ever did. All of those movie reviews are in the Roy index here:

http://www.billiedoux.com/roydupuis.html

Marc, I also reviewed Les Invasions Barbares, because Roy Dupuis was in it.

Maybe the Roy movies should also be in the movie index. What do you think?

ChrisB said...

I vote yes. As someone who has yet to commit to LFN or Roy Dupuis, I missed this entirely. I would add it (and all the others) to the list. This is a movie people should be talking about.

sunbunny said...

This was the only film I enjoyed from my 'Jesus in Film' class senior year of college. (We had a religion requirement; I'm not the sort of person who would willingly take a 'Jesus in Film' class). It was so original and moving. Your review so makes me want to watch it again!

celticmarc said...

Wow

I was expecting ONE comment from Billie LOL

Expect to see me for the other movies that I've seen later on.

Have I said that I love this site ???? Never remember !

celticmarc said...

Billie

Don't be "mad" at me 'cause I prefer not only actors from L.A. and England and Down Under and most importantly, of the female gender than Roy. So therefore and for that reason, do NOT ask my advice\help on your question (LOL). Waste of time and a big dead-end. Or, as the French would say, a "cul-de-sac". (wow a paper bag's ass, really ? cute)

Personal anecdote : my mom, who's 87, massively loves the actors, artists, comedians, etc, of Quebec (he's probably on her list, I'll ask). And her 49 year old son, yes, yours truly, prefer the aforementioned geographical locations. Go figure.

Coming soon, my comments on the films listed here that I've seen (only).