During this past movie night for Bible as literature, we watched Jesus Christ Superstar. This was my first time watching this movie, and I LOVED IT.
This movie was released in 1973, however it was previously seen as a rock opera on Broadway in 1970. In my opinion this movie is simply the 70’s interpretation of Jesus’ story and the producers of this movie did a phenomenal job.
While similar movies, such as The Passion of the Christ have taken viewers back to Jesus’ time and showed you how things may have happened realistically.
Jesus Christ Superstar presents viewers with the story of Jesus using societal norms of in the 70s.
How do they make it 70’s? Well I’m very glad you asked.
The clothing worn throughout the movie is the same clothing people wore during the time of the movie’s creation (with a little extra desert style.) Actors throughout the film can be seen wearing bell bottoms and flowers in their hair. If Jesus Christ was walking around the Earth in the 70s instead of hundreds of years ago, he too would have rocked those hip-huggers very nicely. I enjoy that the producers of the film use trends from the time the movie was created because it makes the movie more realistic. Even though it is a story in the bible, this movie illustrates how the people during this time were just like the people then and the people now. Although we don’t speak or dress the same — from Jesus’ time, to the 70’s, to now — this movie illustrates how the people in the bible don’t differ very much from regular people.
We’ve previously had a similar discussion while in class. At the beginning of October we discussed how the bible’s stories feature everyday people who are imperfect, to show that God will work through anyone; saints or sinners. We discussed how this makes readers of the bible easily identify to characters which allows them to believe that God is with them, just as he was with the other’s in the Bible.
Another way they integrated the 70’s into Jesus’ time is by including tanks and air planes to portray struggles of the current time the movie was produced. The jets and tanks were used throughout the movie to illustrate the Vietnam war which took place from 1954-1975. It was a little startling to watch Judas get chased by tanks, as I am positive those didn’t exist during his time, but realizing that this movie is a 70’s interpretation put their placement in the movie into perspective.
Can we stop and imagine how differently the Bible would read if there actually were jets and tanks roaming the desert along with the camels and gypsies.
Lastly, the 70s was integrated into the movie by changing the scene of the last supper. Making this last important meal a picnic, was very hippie-like, and fit appropriately into the interpretation of the story. I’d imagine if the last supper actually took place in the 70s, it would have been (without a doubt) an actual picnic.
The thing I enjoyed most about the movie was the took something that is supposed to be taken so seriously, and turned it into something relatable. I believe that when this movie was released, it was a major hit because they took away the big fancy words and the initial tier the Bible is placed on and turned it into something modern, easier to understand, and fun.
The story of Jesus as a musical.
Jesus Christ Superstar.
Blasphemy or entertainment?
Until next time,