Movie 44min

The Life And Passion of Jesus Christ (1902 - 1905)

Original title: La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ
Not rated.

+ 21 images
Directors Ferdinand Zecca , Lucien Nonguet
Country France
Language French
(Short) The Passion Play
(Original) La vie et la passion de Jésus Christ
(Alternative) The Passion Play: Life and Death of Christ
(Alternative) Historie de Christ
(Short) Passion Pathé
(Short) Passion Zacca
(Import) Pathé Frères
Based on the Bible Biblical Drama Birth of Jesus Black and White Boy Jesus in Temple Cleansing of the Temple Death of Jesus Drama Entry into Jerusalem Feeding Five Thousand Flight to Egypt Jesus Appears to the Women Jesus Christ Jesus in Gethsemane Jesus Life Jesus Miracles Jesus Mocked and Flogged Resurrection Samaritan Woman Shepherds in the Field Short Silent Film St. Joseph St. Mary St. Veronica The Adoration of Infant Jesus The Annunciation The Betrayal by Judas The Burial of Jesus The Crucifixion The Last Supper The Nativity The Passion The Raising of Lazarus The Road to Golgotha The Trial Before Pilate The Wise Men Walking on Water Wedding at Cana

A silent movie about the story of Jesus Christ from the Nativity to the crucifixion.

Started in 1902 with the bulk of tableaux(some sources say 18), it was extended with additional tableaux in 1904, and then a few more were added in 1905 to form the finished film of 27 tableaux, and then later supplemented with even more so that it was 32 in the end. It has some early special effects, full costumes, and uniquely staged scenes with painted backdrops. Many of these were inspired by the famous Biblical woodcuts of Gustave Dore. The whole film is in the end really a collection of 27 short films that were independently released making a reshoot of individual scenes possible. We do not have the one end result because of the multiple clips, versions, and mix-up with the later and previous films. Instead, there were many versions and some are preserved. This early version is often confused with the more complete 1907 version of the movie, which is the one that is widely available on DVD today. There was also an earlier version of this Passion Play created somewhere in the range of 1897-1899, and there were versions that mixed scenes from this old with the newer one as well, so distinguishing which scene belongs to which version on some scenes can be a problem.

In 1903 Pathé developed the coloring of film with the help of stencils and this may be one of the first films to ever be colorized.

Both pioneering films on this DVD depict well known incidents in the life of Jesus Christ. In quite different ways, both were also ambitious milestones of the young, relatively untried cinema; both won world fame, huge audiences and a screen life of decades when most secular films of the time measured their commercial life in weeks. La Vie et la passion de Jesus-Christ was begun in 1902 by Ferdinand Zecca (1864-1947) for Pathe Freres in Paris, then the most important film company in the world. Zecca made 18 carefully costumed and staged tableaux against painted backdrops which are clearly influenced by the famous Biblical woodcuts of Gustave Dore (1866). In 1903, Pathe Freres developed up to four colors to each film print by a stencil process; that year and in 1904, ten new tableaux were added to the film. Finally, in 1905, Zecca's collaborator, Lucien Nonguet, added three final scenes, and the resulting color film of 31 tableaux with a running time of 44 minutes became the most impressive of its kind and one of the first long films in the world. Presented by missionaries and itinerant showmen from Indiana to Indochina, it helped establish the popular iconography of the Divine story. This edition is restored from two excellent 35mm original prints and presents The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ as it looked a century ago.

Source: DVD Synposis

32 Tableaux
The 32 tableaux(some count 27) of the film that could be ordered separately or together. Some of them were refilmed and updated on a later date. All made between 1902 and 1905.

The Pathé Supplement of April 1905 give us this description under the heading "En Terre Sainte - Jérusalem"(In the Holy Land - Jerusalem) that seems to mix the film and documentary scenes(translated):

- The Mount and the Garden of Olives.
- Solomon's Well.
- The mosque of Omar containing the rock of Abraham
- The 1st station, the gate where Jesus was presented to the people.
- The 3rd station where Jesus falls for the first time.
- The Holy Sepulchre.
- The Wailing Wall.
The Annunciation (L'Annonciation)
The Angel of the Lord appears to Mary, announcing the birth of a child, which shall be called the "Son of God."
The Strange Star (L'Étoile mystérieuse)
Led by the light of the strange new star, the three wise men of the East journey to Bethlehem in search of the holy child, whose birth has been foretold to them. They are followed by a large retinue of servants and a train of camels, donkeys, sheep, etc., forming in all an impressive caravan.
The Adoration of the Wise Men (L'adoration des Mages)
The wise men and the shepherds enter the lowly stable and kneel at the feet of Mary, who holds in her arms the new-born babe. Joseph stands near and watches the touching scene.
Flight into Egypt (La Fuite en Égypte)
Through the lonely Egyptian desert Mary and Joseph flee to a place of safety to preserve the life of the infant Jesus. Arriving at the famous Sphinx, Mary finds shelter for the night, while Joseph collects wood for the fire.
Jesus and the Doctors (Jésus parmi les docteurs)
The doctors and sages are engaged in a learned discussion, when Jesus appears. They listen astounded at His words of wisdom. Mary and Joseph, who have been seeking their son, arrive and lead the child away.
The Holy Family (La Sainte Famille)
The holy family works at their daily occupations--Mary at the spinning wheel, Joseph and Jesus at the carpenter's bench. Joseph is teaching the boy his trade.
At the Wedding Feast (Les Noces de Cana)
The guests are seated at the table, enjoying the festival, when it is discovered that there is no more wine. Jesus commands the servants to bring jars of water, and performs His first miracle by turning the water into wine, after which all present do him homage.
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria (Jésus et la samaritaine)
A group of women is gathered around the well, filling their jars with water. The last arrival is a woman of Samaria, notorious for her wicked character. Christ appears to her and grants her forgiveness for her sins.
The miraculous catch (La Pêche miraculeuse)
Jesus had come one day to the shore of Lake Genezaret, in Galilee, got into Simon Peter's boat, and began to preach to the people who stood on the shore. Then he told Peter to go out on the lake and cast his nets. Pierre obeyed and he, who all night had not caught a single fish, soon saw his nets filled to bursting point.

Peter, James, and John, sons of Zebedee, were so taken by the miracle that Jesus said to them: “Do not be afraid, come with me, you will be fishers of men”. From that moment, they left everything to follow him.
Christ's Miracle with the Bread (La Multiplication des pains)
A multitude of people is gathered around Christ to hear him preach. At midday He takes five loaves of bread and two fishes and feeds the assembly.
Jesus walking on the water (Jésus marchant sur les eaux)
The Transfiguration of Christ (La Transfiguration du Christ)
One night Jesus took three of his apostles up the mountain: Peter, James and John. While he was praying, his confident disciples fell asleep. Now, when they awoke, they saw Jesus standing with his arms in the sky.

He appeared to them transfigured, his face resplendent like the sun, his clothes sparkling like snow. Moses and Elijah were kneeling before its splendour.

Now, at that moment, a luminous cloud having covered the mountain, God appeared and said to them: “This is my beloved son, in whom I have put all my affection; listen to him”.

The disciples, terrified, bowed their faces to the ground, but Jesus raised them up, making them promise not to tell anyone what they had seen.
The Raising of Lazarus (La Résurrection de Lazare)
Entrance into Jerusalem (L'Entrée à Jérusalem)
The people throng to the city gates and await the entry of their Saviour. When He appears riding on an ass, they greet Him with loud Hosannas and wave palm branches.
Jesus Driving the Sellers from the Temple (Jésus chassant les vendeurs du temple)
The merchants are assembled in the temple selling their wares, when Jesus enters and, overturning the tables of the money-lenders, drives them before Him. He shows them the error of their ways, and they are penitent.
The Lord's Supper (La Cène)
Seated at a long table, we see Christ and the twelve apostles, partaking of the Lord's supper. Blessing the wine, he gives it to them, and breaking a piece of bread, He presents it to Judas, saying that this man shall betray Him.
Jesus in the Garden of Olives (Jésus au jardin des oliviers)
Jesus is in the Garden of Olives, praying for strength to do the Father's will. He is almost overcome by the thought of the terrible suffering which He must endure, when an angel appears and He is comforted.
Judas Kissing Jesus (Le Baiser de Judas - L'Arrestation)
The disciples who have been told to keep watch are asleep on the ground, while Jesus prays. Christ awakens them with mild reproach for their negligence just as Judas arrives. The traitor kisses Jesus, at which signal the centurions arrest Him and His followers.
Jesus before Pilate (Jésus devant Pilate)
Christ and Barabbas, a thief, are brought before Pilate, who, after examining them, pronounces Christ innocent. But the people cry out: "Crucify Him and release unto us Barabbas!"
Scourging Jesus (La Flagellation)
Christ's raiment is torn from Him and He is bound to a stake; the multitude is allowed to scourge and mock Him, even spitting in His face.
Crowning Him with Thorns (Le Couronnement d'épines)
A crown of thorns is then pressed down upon his forehead; they drape Him in a royal purple robe, a palm is placed in His hand for a scepter, and they hail Him king with mocking shouts.
Presented to the People (Jésus est présenté au peuple)
Jesus being brought before him again, Pontius Pilate washes his hands to show that he has no part in this just man's death and delivers Him to the mob.
Jesus Sinking under the Cross (Jésus succombe sous sa croix)
Jesus is forced to bear the heavy cross along the toilsome path to Calvary. His feeble strength fails Him and He sinks under the weight. Here they meet Simon, a Cyrenian, who helps Him to carry the cross. The brutal soldiers hurry them on with blows and kicks.
Miracle of St. Veronica (Le Miracle de Sainte Véronique)
St. Veronica wipes the sweat from His brow with a white cloth, upon which a likeness of His face appears on its surface.
Crucifixion (Le Crucifiement)
Christ is stripped of His clothing, and nailed to the cross, which is to be erected on the hillside, between two crucified thieves.
Death of Christ (La Mort du Christ)
Jesus pardons one of the thieves who repents of his sins; He asks for water and is given gall on a sponge. A soldier then steps forward and thrusts his lance into the side of Jesus, from which wound flows water and blood.
Taking Christ down from the Cross (La Descente de la Croix)
The friends of Jesus, who had obtained permission, then take His body from the cross and, wrapping it in a white cloth, carry it away for burial.
Placing Him in the Tomb (La Mise au tombeau)
Mary and the Disciples place His body in the Tomb. A heavy stone is rolled before the door and sentinels group themselves around.
Resurrection (La Résurrection)
Suddenly the angel appears and rolls away the heavy stone, and Jesus comes forth before the eyes of the terrified centurions.
Angel and the Holy Women (L'Ange et les Saintes femmes)
Early in the morning, Mary Magdalene visits Her Lord's tomb and is astonished to find it empty. The angels explain and the women depart rejoicing.
The End (The Ascension) (L'Ascension)
Christ ascends to heaven and is received by the Father and all the multitudes of the heavenly host.
Apotheosis (Apothéose)
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