The Blind Man of Jerusalem (1909)
Original title: L’aveugle De Jérusalem
(Original) L’aveugle De Jérusalem
(USA, 1909) Kleine Optical Company
CategoriesBased on the Bible Biblical Drama Black and White Blindness Drama Forgiveness Jesus Christ Jesus Healing Jesus Miracles Parable Short Silent Film The Road to Golgotha Theft DramaShortBased on the Bible, Biblical Drama, Black and White, Blindness, Forgiveness, Jesus Christ, Jesus Healing, Jesus Miracles, Parable, Silent Film, The Road to Golgotha, Theft
In "Aveugle de Jérusalem", directed by Louis Feuillade, a blind man gets his sight restored by Christ when hearing that he is doing miracles. It's a non-Biblical miracle story, although it could be seen as a further fiction based on a Biblical blind man story. The now seeing man, pretending still to be blind, discovers that his daughter has a secret lover and that his servants have been robbing him. He becomes angry and throws them out of his house, but then learns forgiveness when he again sees Christ on his way to Calvary. In this way, the fictional story touches two parts of the Jesus story and is thus a great show of imagination in early cinema as it creates an "imaginary parable". The film contains only two sets, the interior of the blind man’s house and the street outside, each featured twice in alternation. The BFI National Archive holds a copy of this film, but it is not yet to be found online.
A rich man, living in a splendid palace, in the city of Jerusalem, with his daughter and many servants, surrounded by every possible luxury, but blind, is healed of his affliction by Christ. Having regained his sight he does not make this known to his household, but quietly observes them for a time and sees how his servants rob him and even his daughter imposes upon him. Discouraged at his findings he goes out upon the highway where he again meets Christ, but this time He is carrying His cross and being led to Calvary. The sight of the suffering Savior teaches him to forgive his offenders.
Source: Moving Picture World
"The Blind Man of Jerusalem" is a great example of a silent movie that tells a story by connecting with a few stories in the Bible, adding context around - here a blind man that is fooled by his daughter and servants, only to be healed by Christ, and then pretend to be seeing. While seeing he discovers the deceit. That is not the whole story though, because he goes back out and witness Jesus carrying his cross on the street outside, and witness how Jesus forgives the people who did Him wrong. The formerly blind man gets a change of heart and the next time he sees his daughter and servants he forgives them.
It's a perfect story for the timeframe, it has great morals and it is connected to historical events recorded in the Bible, and that makes it utterly fascinating. Also, the expressions on the faces and general acting is great in this gem.