Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The Greatest Film of All Time
Jewish Screenwriter, Alan Sereboff, Praises Mel Gibson
Thursday, October 9, 2003

A Letter to Mel Gibson
Alan Sereboff

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2003

Dear Mel,

It???s now been a month since I viewed ???The Passion,??? and I write this letter hoping enough time has passed so that I can speak with some semblance of objectivity.

Quite simply, I believe you have made one of the most breathtaking, poignant movies of our time. I cannot recall a film that has had such a profound effect on my understanding of history, religion and, perhaps most importantly, what we as human beings are capable of in relation to our treatment of one another.

The film???s theme and central lesson is clear and timeless: In the depths of our humanity lies the capacity for great evil and utter ignorance, as well as an equal capacity for love, forgiveness and compassion. It is in this furnace of duality that the arrows of love and compassion are cast alongside the swords of war and hatred. Therein rages the battle that will seethe as long as human beings walk the earth.

Your position as a filmmaker and as a Catholic is obvious from the beginning of the first act. Jesus died for the sins of all humanity. This simple yet powerful idea runs in direct conflict to the notion that Jesus died simply at the behest of the Jews, or for that matter, the Romans. Further, Mary, Jesus, and all of the Apostles are clearly depicted as Jews. Clearly Jewish is the angry throng protesting the crucifixion. Simon, who helps Jesus carry the cross to the final station, is clearly a compassionate Jew.

The film simply depicts the last twelve hours of Jesus??? life and the ordeal he endured as the sufferer of mankind???s sins for all eternity. To say this film is in any way about ???finger pointing??? or ???assigning blame??? is akin to saying that ???Gladiator??? is a film about lion fighting and the Romans??? and Gladiators??? penchant for animal cruelty. It would take an animal rights activist yelling from the world???s highest soapbox to simplify ???Gladiator??? that way.

That being said, I am deeply saddened and pained by the assault on the film and your character being perpetrated by those whose ignorance is, I???m afraid, helping to fulfill the very prophecy they so deeply fear. The irony here, relative to the movie???s story, is too great to go unmentioned.

My feelings on the film, as a filmmaker, are clear. As a Jew, I left the movie feeling a greater sense of kinship and closeness to my Christian brothers and sisters than I ever thought imaginable. I see ???The Passion??? as one of the most powerful uniting tools to ever take advantage of the single medium capable of such a task, namely, film.

Whether one believes that Jesus was in fact the Son of God is essentially unimportant in appreciating the beauty and message of the film. The story of the simple relationship between a mother and her son alone is enough to soften even the most hardened of souls.

There are a myriad ways to view the film based on the beliefs the viewer brings with him; if you do believe Jesus was the savior, then this film may be about his having to die for our transgressions. If you do not believe Jesus was the Son of God, then maybe at the least, you leave the film with a great disdain of the laws of the time. Crucifixion was a barbaric and cruel act; it is possible that in a thousand years civilization will look back on our current death penalty in the same way.

I wonder how they will choose to characterize our society. Will it be as murderous Christians or Jews? Murderous Republicans or Democrats? Murderous people who wore blue uniforms, versus those who did not? Alternatively, perhaps they will look back at our society as one whose laws were simply ??? barbaric.

In the past, my father has related to me stories of his youth as a Jew growing up in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood. Hardly a day went by when he did not have to defend himself as a ???Christ killer.??? Based on your and my discussions, I know how sensitive you are to this reality, as well as the reality that for centuries Jews were persecuted in this very ignorant manner, unfortunately thereby detracting from the Testaments??? actual meaning.

I suppose it is for this reason that the ADL and others believe they are doing the right thing by attacking the film and your character, led by the vicious surgical strike leveled at you in the New York Times. In my opinion, they are guided by a misguided fear that unfortunately belies their very concerns. That is the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that the mudslingers in this case may be creating controversy in an attempt to justify their jobs. I find this ???Wag the Dog??? scenario disturbing and dangerous.

Simply put, at the end of the day it is only their message that asks the potential viewer to see the film as anti-Semitic.

Bottom line: ???The Passion??? will not create a single bigot or anti-Semite. It may, however, reveal them. So much the better.

Finally, as we???ve discussed, the centuries of persecution that I spoke of earlier went beyond racial slurs and corporal punishment. Jews were told what they could and could not think, what they could and could not believe, and what they could and could not say.

If for no other reason, I would hope that fellow Jews and Christians alike would see the importance in respecting your rights to create and share whatever vision you choose, and the hypocrisy in the attempts to censure of said rights. I would hope we have moved past the age of ignorance that saw the near genocide of a people, book burnings, men like McCarthy and Stalin flourish, and the raising of a wall in Germany. I would hope that we would not let ignorance guide us back to what we fear so deeply.

Now, this goes without saying, but based on our relationship alone, I know you???re in no way, shape, or form anti-Semitic. I wish with a passion that everyone could know as I do the innate kindness and goodness in your heart. I believe that when they view this movie unencumbered, they will. The film, like any other, deserves that chance.

Thank you for allowing me to view a film that has restored my faith in the power of our medium to move, educate, and uplift the spirit.


Alan Sereboff

Alan Sereboff is a screenwriter who has viewed Mel Gibson's film ???The Passion.??? Sereboff is Jewish and has worked for Mel's company, Icon Productions, and says, ???I will continue to work for him proudly.???

To watch a most amazing preview of this upcoming film, where almost all the dialogue is in Aramaic, see: (for high-speed connections)

or (for 56K connections)
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
[Image: sig.jpg]

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)