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Biblical big-screens past and yet to come

Here is some info out there about some films whose stories come straight from the Bible:

Bible Films Blog gives some notes and a review on Jezile (Son of Man), a South African film that puts “the Jesus story in the context of a modern, anonymous African township,” and “is the most recent addition to this rich history, and the first time such a re-contextualisation has been attempted in a film made outside North America.” Check out Rotton Tomatoes for secular reviews. I can’t find it on Netflix, but I’m hoping it shows up later.

According to a Christianity Today link, it looks like Abel Ferrara’s film Mary will play in the U.S. I don’t know much about the film other than what I’ve sparsely read at Bible Films Blog, Film Critic and Rotten Tomatoes. It stars Juliette Binoche as an actress playing Mary Magdalene in a film who becomes obsessed with the biblical figure. Matthew Modine and Forest Whitaker also star. (I know, this isn't a film straight from the Bible, but it's got that connection.)

And it looks like Esther-epic One Night with the King will finally be released on October 13. Bible Films Blog says the Gener8xion Entertainment film is appearing two years after its original planned release. The film boasts the likes of Peter O'Toole (Samuel), John Rhys-Davies (Mordecai) and Omar Sharif (Prince Memucan) and John Noble (Prince Admantha) as well as Bedford Diaries’ Tiffany Dupont (Esther), Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis (Hamann), Luke Gross (Xerxes), and Tommy Lister (Hegai). Here’s the film’s synopsis as presented on the website (where you can also see the trailer):
An epic motion picture set in an imaginative world of adventure, intrigue and romance, One Night With the King follows a young girl who rises from peasant to princess by going against the culture and seeking the King's heart rather than the riches of the kingdom.

By 'chance' she is born with exceeding beauty to a people who have been carried away as slaves to the most powerful kingdom in the world. By 'chance' her parents are killed while she is young leaving her to be taken in by her uncle, a man who has found favor as a royal scribe. By 'chance' the Queen is executed by the unknowing King, spurned on by the ruthless plotting of palace princes hungry for power. By 'chance' the King is left feeling alone, pushed and prodded, desperate to live up to and avenge the battles of his father. By 'chance' Esther is carted off to the palace to become part of the Kingís harem at the same time a vengeful young prime minister with the Kingís ear is rising to prominence with a plan for orchestrating the genocide of her people.

So begins the story of Esther, One Night With the King, a story that reveals that all of life is under God's command. Power, position and prominence are one thing, but when Esther must choose between all she's ever dreamed of and the fate of her people, will she be able to find the courage to step forward and embrace her destiny?
And that’s it for now.

(Image: Gener8xion)

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