Unknown actor Daniel (Bluteau) is asked by the Church to revive and revitalise a version of the Passion Play. Although the result is a critical and commercial success, his employers take exception to his radical account of Christ's life - was the Messiah the bastard son of a Roman soldier? - and Daniel's reluctance to compromise sees him heading towards modern martyrdom. Thematically or tonally, few recent films have been as rich as Arcand's delicious satire on contemporary mores. If it is fundementally a witty, free-wheeling variation on the Gospel of St Mark, it is never constrained by allegorical schematism, and manages to make deft, original swipes at a plethora of modern 'evils': media hype, advertising, hospital bureaucracy, and of course the hypocrisy of the religious establishment. But what really makes the film so enjoyable is its capacity to surprise, not least in the way that a wide variety of potentially academic issues are introduced into a classy, clever, thoroughly entertaining format. Even if you're normally scared off by things theological, this visually elegant, uncluttered movie is serious fun.
Jesus of Montreal
Cast and crew