Palestine: Programme Biblique (1904)
|Countries||France Israel Palestine|
(Country Spesific) Palestine – Scenes From the Bible
(Short) In Nazareth
(Alternative) Passion 'Bonne presse'
CategoriesBased on the Bible Biblical Drama Black and White Drama Flight to Egypt Jesus Christ Jesus Life Jesus Miracles Lecture Short Silent Film St. Anne St. Joseph St. Mary The Adoration of Infant Jesus The Annunciation DramaShortBased on the Bible, Biblical Drama, Black and White, Flight to Egypt, Jesus Christ, Jesus Life, Jesus Miracles, Lecture, Silent Film, St. Anne, St. Joseph, St. Mary, The Adoration of Infant Jesus, The Annunciation
In 1904 two abbots(Abbot Mulsant and Abbot Chevalier) made a journey to the Holy Land to get some footage for their lectures. They reconstructed at the same time some scenes from the bible and tradition of Jesus as a child. The whole project resulted in five documentary or artistic lectures. The "Programme Biblique" consisted of two of them, "In the Christ Child's country"(inspired by Tissot) and "The Virgin and her Son" - about 11 minutes of footage. In eighteen months, they gave over 250 lectures using this material. In 1907, their "Annunciation to the Virgin Mary" was even shown to Pope Pie X at the Vatican by Chevalier together with a short explanation and stills. It was not until much later when Gaumont made a deal and included the films into their catalog for distribution sale, where the title was "In Nazareth". They divided the film under the following titles: "The workshop", "Fountain of Nazareth", "Return of the Fountain", "The well", and "Evening closing in".
It was in March 2007 that these films were discovered by Lobster Films who restored them. They were found 93 camera negatives in great condition in an antique shop that they believed was from about 1897 - all shot in the Middle East.
This film was an unexpected find and a recent discovery in the world of silent films. It portrays a few scenes from the bible(the Annunciation, the rejection of the innkeeper, the birth and adoration of the shepherds, and the flight to Egypt), but many scenes that are not to be found in the story of Jesus(His first steps, the Holy Family on a boat on Jordan, the urn braking and Jesus fixing it, Jesus carrying a cross as a child and lying down on it). Not only are the scenes chosen unusual and creative, but its also unusual on-location scenes bringing us close to the everyday life of the time, as the creators probably wanted. There are everyday moments of Jesus Childhood, but also miraculous ones. The pace is slow and it is almost meditative to watch.