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CT gets a look at 'Nativity'

Christianity Today posted an article today about film-this-blog’s-been-following Nativity, New Line’s big screen version on Mary and Joseph and the time surrounding the birth of Jesus. (See here for more about the film.) CT’s Mike Moring was one of several Christian journalists invited to visit the set in Matera, Italy (where Mel Gibson’s Passion was filmed) and his report carries a fun sense of the set as well as some interesting tidbits, including this bit from on-set screenwriter Mike Rich (Radio, The Rookie, Finding Forrester):
"My father had passed away recently," says Rich, "and I was looking for something deeper to write—something that would take me into a new area other than sports."

He'd found it. Rich, a devout Christian, spent the next 11 months researching the story, studying not only the Gospel accounts, but reading books and consulting with scholars. He sat down on December 1, 2005, to start writing, and less than a month later, he had a finished screenplay—practically record time for a film script.
Moring read the script, and found it a story that is:
. . . faithful and reverent to the Gospel accounts, but also brings Joseph and Mary's characters alive in a very human way. They wrestle with fears and doubts and anxieties, all within the framework of unshakeable faith.

We meet their parents and families, even before they're betrothed to one another. We're there for the awkward moment when Mary's father tells his daughter that she will be Joseph's wife. We're there for Gabriel's visit, for Joseph's dream, for the journey to Bethlehem—and the gamut of emotions that each experiences, every step of the way.

We get to know Elizabeth and Zechariah. We hit the road with the three wise men—Balthasar, Gaspar, and Melchior. We meet shepherds, tending their flocks by night. We go into Herod's palace and see what a despicable, paranoid man he really is.

There are playful, humorous moments. There are tension-filled scenes. And there is love, especially as shown on the arduous trek to Bethlehem, in which Joseph's tender care for his betrothed begins to shine as brightly as a certain star that has appeared on the horizon. It's a Bible story. But it's a human story too.

When you grow up in church, it becomes an objectified story," says [Wyck] Godfrey, the co-producer [and Rich’s friend and also Christian]. "It's never told from Joseph and Mary's perspective; it's a story told without much conflict.

"But what would it be like to be 14 years old and go through what she went through? What would it be like to be a man and have your betrothed come to you and say she's pregnant—not by another man, but as an act of God?"
For the rest of the article, go here. Enjoy!

(Image: Adoration of the Wise Men by Murillo)