Paul Verhoeven Does Jesus at IFC Center on Thursday

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04/05/2010 11:38 AM |

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
  • “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”

Did you have a happy Easter? So happy that you’re eager to spend more time considering the life and death and life of Jesus Christ, of the Nazareth Christs? Well, lucky you: this Thursday, the IFC Center will present Monty Python’s Life of Brian, with special guest Paul Verhoeven, director of Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers, and noted Christ parable RoboCop, of which Verhoeven has said:

For me, RoboCop is a Christian fairytale. First, Murphy is gunned down in the most horrific way: that is the Crucifixion. Next, the film makes a steep descent into the finite, after which he experiences his Resurrection, in a modern way… RoboCop is a Jesus figure — an American Jesus. Entirely in tune with current ideas here, he says, “I don’t arrest you any more.” He has done with Clarence, the time of turning the other cheek is over. Americans want to be humane, but if they think it takes too long, Christian morality is pushed aside for the moment and they go for their weapons — just like RoboCop.

Verhoeven will be signing copies of his new book Jesus of Nazareth, a pragmatic consideration of the lessons of “the historical Jesus.” This would be the Jesus book that Verhoeven discussed with Dennis Lim, in the Times, around Black Book‘s release. In the piece, which dwells at length on Verhoeven’s sanguine interest in Christian mythology (“I’m a big fan of Jesus… I think Jesus was an extremely interesting, innovative, talented person, a theological genius, and as a poet, his parables are absolutely magnificent. He’s like Mozart.”), the director reveals his dream film project: a Jesus biopic, perhaps with a political spin.

The book, he said, would be his first step towards making the movie: “To do this movie in the U.S. might not be without personal danger… [the book] gives me time to think if I want to get into hotter water than that.” Go encourage him.